Understanding The Risks And Benefits Of Facelift Surgery

Also known as a facelift, a rhytidectomy is a cosmetic surgical procedure designed to give the face a more youthful appearance.

A facelift aims to reshape the lower half of the face by removing excess facial skin. It often involves tightening loose or hanging skin around the jawline, removing deep creases around the mouth and nose, as well as removing excess or hanging skin under the chin. It is often combined with a neck lift and/or blepharoplasty in Melbourne.

Although complications are rare, it is important to understand the risks of a facelift procedure (and the risks of any surgery in general). If you are interested in a rhytidectomy, make an appointment with Associate Professor Dean White, plastic surgeon in Melbourne, today to discuss the procedure in full.

What are the Risks of a Facelift Procedure?

As with any surgery, there are some complications that may arise when getting a facelift. Some of these may include:

  • Hematoma This is the most common complication of a facelift and is when blood collects under the skin. It usually forms within 24 hours of the procedure and causes swelling and pressure. Treatment generally involves another surgery to prevent damage to the skin and surrounding tissues.
  • Scarring – It should be noted that the incision scars from a facelift will be permanent, but they’re typically hidden by the hairline and natural contours around the face and ear. In very rare cases, raised scars may form. Corticosteroid injections and other treatments may be used to improve the appearance of scarring.
  • Nerve Injury – Although rare, the nerves that control sensations or your muscles may be affected. This may be temporary – lasting a few months to a year – or permanent and may result in an uneven facial appearance or expression. In permanent cases, surgery may offer some improvement.
  • Hair Loss – It is possible to experience temporary or even permanent hair loss near the incision sites. Temporary hair loss will likely resolve itself in a few months, whereas permanent loss may be treated with surgery (hair follicles will be transplanted to encourage hair regrowth in the area, similar to the procedure for balding).
  • Skin Loss – In rare occurrences, a facelift may actually interrupt the blood supply to the facial tissues, which may result in skin loss. This is generally treated using appropriate wound care and medications. A procedure may also be performed to help reduce scarring if your surgeon thinks it is necessary.

Other facelift risks to be aware of include bleeding, bruising, infection, persistent pain, skin irregularities and discolouration, prolonged swelling, fluid accumulation, deep vein thrombosis (along with cardiac and pulmonary complications), and risks associated with the anaesthesia.

All potential risks will be discussed with you by the best facelift surgeon Melbourne prior to giving your consent for the procedure.

What are the Benefits of a Facelift Procedure?

As we’ve already touched on, the main benefit of a facelift is giving the face a more youthful (or younger) appearance. It is used by people who want to fight the effects of ageing or who may not have previously looked after their facial skin and now appear much older than they actually are.

Rhytidectomies are also used by people who have lost a significant amount of weight, as this may lead to excess skin around the jawline and neck (in particular).

It is important to note that, while long-lasting, a facelift is not permanent – as you age, the skin on your face and neck may begin to sag again. How long your results last will depend on how well you care for your skin after your procedure, along with your genetics.

What is Recovery Like?

Recovery usually takes around two weeks, with some patients able to resume vigorous activity after four weeks.

The bruising and swelling will typically be at their worst two days after the procedure and may persist for a few days. The sutures will be removed sometime between five and 10 days after surgery; the incisions and bandages must be kept dry during the healing process. Numbness and muscle stiffness are normal and may persist for some time. Scars may take nearly a year to fade.

Avoid wearing clothes that are pulled over the head, using makeup, vigorous activity or sport, direct sun exposure (and after three weeks, apply SPF30 sunscreen or higher), and colouring or bleaching your hair for at least six weeks.

Book a Consultation With A/Prof Dean White 

If you are interested in the possibility of gaining a more youthful appearance via a rhytidectomy, Associate Professor Dean White will discuss what’s involved before, during and after the procedure – as well as any risks that you need to be aware of. 

Your safety is our priority, along with addressing your symptoms and improving your appearance in line with your own surgical goals. Organise a consultation today.



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