Brittany, a 36-year-old mother of two and a resident of Charleston, underwent a Mommy Makeover at Crantford | Costa Plastic Surgery to regain her confidence and physical appearance. This is her story.

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What Is a Facelift?

A facelift, often referred to as a rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure designed to improve visible signs of aging around the lower half of a patient’s face. As a surgical procedure, it is able to address the most severe cases of facial aging that are not correctable through minimally invasive or nonsurgical procedures alone. 

The term facelift can be slightly misleading to the average person since it only addresses the mid to lower areas of the facial structure. Other procedures, like a brow lift and eyelid surgery, are designed to address the upper portions of the facial structure. 

Why Do We Need Facelifts?

Aging is a complex process. Not only because of the medical issues it can present, but also because of the changes to our appearance that it causes. For many people, developing sagging skin in just one area of their face can present unique challenges, but the aging process comes for all of our skin indiscriminately. 

In fact, by the age of 20, the average person will begin to lose 1% of their collagen production every year. Collagen is an essential protein that is responsible for keeping our skin taut and youthful. So it comes as no surprise that significant changes are occurring to our skin by the age of 25 or 30. 

There are some minimally invasive procedures on the market that are really good at treating mild to moderate skin laxity or volume loss, but at some point, the amount of collagen loss and skin degradation will become too significant for those treatments to work effectively.

In those cases, a facelift is the only option we have if we want to restore our confidence and once again feel good about our appearance. In short, we need facelifts because there are no alternatives to reserving the aging process. 

What Does a Facelift Treat?

Facelifts aim to correct an array of aesthetic concerns on the face that develop as we go through the aging process. Unfortunately, these concerns often have a significant negative impact on our facial contours, making us appear much older than we mentally feel.

Here are some of the conditions that a facelift looks to correct in the mid to lower portions of the face: Jowls, Double chins, Turkey necks, Deep folds and wrinkles, Volume loss, & Other skin sagging.

What Is the Right Age to Get a Facelift?

There is no such thing as the right age to get a facelift. We determine whether someone will benefit from a facelift based on their physical appearance and symptoms, not their age. Some people develop wrinkles and sagging skin much more quickly than others, so it does not make sense to create barriers when everyone ages differently. 

If you are on the younger side, you can still have the procedure performed if your symptoms cannot be treated by nonsurgical or minimally invasive options. Even if you are only in the moderate stage of these symptoms, it might make more sense for your lifestyle or situation to have surgery performed. 

It also doesn’t matter how old you are — if you are strong and healthy enough to undergo anesthesia and surgery, it is never too late to decide you want to improve your appearance. Aesthetic medicine is all about making you feel good in your skin, regardless of whether you are 20 or 120. 

Am I a Candidate for a Facelift?

While there are no limits placed on age, a facelift is a surgical procedure at the end of the day, which means some people may not be able to undergo this treatment safely. Luckily, these situations are rare, but you should know that the best candidates for this procedure are those who: Do not smoke, Do not excessively consume alcohol, Do not use drugs, Are free from problematic underlying conditions, Are in a healthy weight range, Are in good general health, & Live an active lifestyle.

Additionally, we also make sure to tell every potential candidate that they should have a realistic idea of what facelift surgery can achieve. Look at before and after photos and read up on what you can expect. This prevents you from being disappointed in an otherwise successful facelift procedure.

How Should I Prepare for a Facelift?

Prior to your surgery day, you will likely be given a list of preoperative instructions to follow. These details will help ensure that you take the proper steps toward a safe facelift in the days and weeks leading up to your procedure. 

You should immediately stop smoking — any amount of tobacco use increases the likelihood of developing a surgical complication and will damage your ability to attain an easy recovery and ideal results.

Recovery Station

One of the best ways to set yourself up for success during your recovery is to prepare a recovery station before your surgery. Wherever you will be resting, make sure all of the essentials are within arms reach: chargers, devices, remotes, snacks, drinks, medications, books, etc. The success of your early recovery will depend entirely on getting quality rest and only moving when necessary. Have a friend or loved one nearby to help out with any responsibilities as well. 

What Are My Facelift Options?

There are three main facelift options available to patients: the mini-facelift, standard facelift and neck lift.

Mini-lift

A mini-facelift is a technique that uses smaller incisions that go only around the ear. While it provides less access for your surgeon to remove and adjust tissue, it is an ideal solution for patients who only need small amounts of correction. The scarring is much more minimal, and the recovery is often much easier on the patient as well. 

Standard Facelift

This is the traditional facelift approach which includes incisions that go around the bottom of the ear and up through the hairline toward the top of the scalp. This provides your surgeon with the most access to the skin tissue and, consequently, the most amount of correction. This is the ideal option for people looking to treat moderate to severe cases of skin laxity.

Neck Lift

If a patient is experiencing severe skin laxity in the area beneath the neck, an additional set of incisions that extend to the back of the hairline might also be performed. This additional access will allow your surgeon to pull and tighten the skin in the neck along with the facial skin. 

What Should I Expect from a Facelift Procedure?

A facelift procedure can be broken into four major steps: anesthesia, incisions, skin tightening and wound closure.

What Should I Expect from a Facelift Procedure?

A facelift procedure can be broken into four major steps: anesthesia, incisions, skin tightening and wound closure.

Anesthesia

After you are brought back to the surgical room, the first step is the administration of anesthesia. This can either be IV sedation or general anesthesia, depending on what you and your surgeon decide is the best route for you. This will be discussed well before the procedure occurs so that you know exactly what to expect on the day of your surgery.

Incisions

Once the anesthesia has taken effect, your surgeon will make the incisions based on the technique that is best suited for your condition. This will also be discussed early on in the consultation process to best inform you of what your surgery will entail. 
Generally, you can expect your incisions to follow this guide:
Mild to moderate — mini-facelift, incisions around ears only
Moderate to severe - traditional facelift, incisions around ears and up to the scalp
Neck sagging — neck lift, additional incisions along the backside of the hairline

Skin Tightening

Once the incisions have been made, your surgeon will pull the skin taut and remove any excess. Additional fat deposits will also be removed to ensure a smooth appearance. We are careful to ensure that we do not over- or under-tighten the skin to achieve a balanced appearance. The ultimate goal is to provide natural results that will make you look younger without signaling that any work has been done.

Wound Closure

Once the skin is tightened in all the necessary areas, your wounds will be closed with sutures or glue, depending on your specific needs. 

What Should I Expect During Facelift Recovery?

Your recovery will be the most intense during the first two weeks. You will experience some minor pain, discomfort, swelling, redness and bruising at the surgical sites. This is completely normal and can usually be managed by over-the-counter or prescription medications. 

After the two-week mark, many patients feel good about returning to work and resuming light activities like walking. You can generally expect to return to more strenuous activities like working out at the end of the fourth week. 

You should always listen to your body and the surgeon’s recommendations. We will let you know when it is safe to return to each of these benchmarks. Doing so early could put your health, results and recovery at risk of complications.  

What Kind of Results Can I Expect from a Facelift?

You can expect to notice a drastic improvement in the appearance of your face. Wrinkles, fine lines, sagging skin and volume loss are often erased after this procedure, and a more defined, youthful facial contour is regularly achieved. 

The results of this procedure are permanent. While no surgery can completely stop the aging process from happening, your appearance will always be better than it would have been if you had never had the procedure performed. 

Expert Facelift Results in Charleston, South Carolina

If you are ready to see how a facelift can improve your appearance and confidence, give Crantford | Costa Plastic Surgery a call at (843) 722-5904 to schedule a consultation. You can also fill out our online contact form if you prefer to get a call back at a more convenient time. We know you need someone you can trust in your corner, and we are happy to be that person for you. 

Schedule A Consultation

If you have questions, comments or would like to schedule a consultation, please fill out a form on our contact page. If needed, an office representative will contact you as soon as possible. We are looking forward to hearing from you.

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