When a facelift is performed by a qualified aesthetic plastic surgeon, complications are infrequent and usually minor. Still, individuals vary greatly in their anatomy, their physical reactions, and their healing abilities, and the outcome is never completely predictable.
The most common complications following a facelift include the following:
Abnormal collection of blood under the facial skin (comprises 70% of all facelift complications): You should expect a small amount of bleeding from your incision line during the first 24 to 36 hours after your surgery. Any type of surgery may result in excessive bleeding in the operated area. This may be due to a temporary increase in blood pressure, for example due to coughing. It can also occur from the effects of medication like aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs. Bleeding is usually manifested by acute swelling of the area, discolouration of the skin, pain and a feeling of tension. External compression of the wound usually stops it. If the accumulation of blood is small, it may be allowed to absorb by itself or aspiration may be indicated. However, if it is large, formal drainage in an operating room may be necessary.
• Post operative swelling:
Some swelling after the operation is normal. Time and elevation of the head are the two most important factors in reducing swelling. Ice may also be carefully used to decrease swelling.
If you bruise easily, discolouration may remain for several weeks after surgery. You should advise us of any past history of bleeding disorder. In rare cases, discolouration may be permanent.
• Nerve injury:
In general, nerve injuries following facelift are rare. All patients have a temporary loss or alteration of sensation in the area of the facelift, as well as the earlobes and ear margins. Sensation spontaneously returns within a relatively short period of time and is usually complete in 3-4 months. Only in rare instances will sensation fail to return. The reported incidence of nerve injury is less than 1%.
• Unsightly scarring:
The normal healing of wounds is a physiological process which continues to take place in the depths of the tissues for many months before final resolution. At first, the surgical scar is almost invisible. Then it becomes red and somewhat elevated for about 3 months. Factors that can influence the quality of healing include smoking, obesity, infection and nutrition. Sun exposure of a new scar should be avoided for the first year following your operation. An immature scar exposed to sun may become more visible and pigmented.
• Skin slough:
Death (necrosis) of tissue (skin)resulting in delayed healing. When blood circulation is inadequate to bring sufficient oxygen to the tissues, some of the tissue furthest away from the blood supply may be lost. The skin will become discoloured and form a dark dry crust which will eventually separate off. The underlying normal tissues heal by themselves. This may leave a wide scar.
• Fluid collection (seroma):
This is a collection of serum in small pockets beneath the skin, in most cases in the cheeks. Generally, the seroma will spontaneously reabsorb. Occasionally, needle aspiration is necessary.
Infection following a facelift is rare. The incidence is less than 1% and severe infections are extremely uncommon. However, any surgical wound can become infected. An infection usually will become apparent a few days after the surgery. The signs are: pain, redness, heat and swelling. Antibiotics and dressing changes will often control it.
You may not be aware of the 21st Century option – the Suture Face Lift.
This is absolutely NOT to be confused with the ineffective ‘thread lifting’ that was popular a few years ago.
The amazing thing about the Suture Lift is it takes only minutes to perform for each area. The best part is, because your facial skin is gently lifted, your face as a fresher, younger look to it. The result is subtle, there’s virtually no scarring, you go home the same day, and there’s far less down-time than with a traditional face lift.
What Happens During the Suture Lift Procedure?
After making you comfortable with a light sedative, the area is made numb where the sutures are placed. Tiny punctures are made where each suture will be placed, and a special patented antimicrobial suture is passed under the skin tightening the SMAS layer in face and platysma muscle in the neck.
The lifted facial tissues are secured to stable structures to make the lift permanent.
Will I Feel Different Afterwards?
The Suture Lift last for almost the same time as surgical face lift approximately five to 10 years depending upon th age at the time of lift.
As this elegant procedure is virtually scar-less, no-one will ever know you’ve had it done. Your appearance is much more youthful and refreshed. The reason this procedure has become popular is that overall result is much more subtle and natural. No more ‘wind tunnel’ faces!
The individual areas that are suitable for suture lifting are:
• Lower Face
• Neck Lift
• Eye Brow Lift
• Chin Augmentation
• Cheek Augmentation
• On the body:
Can the Suture Brow Lift be done at the same time as another procedure?
• Thigh Lift
• Breast Lift
• Buttock Lift
• Inverted breast nipple correction
Quite often, patients will ask to have this procedure done in combination with another procedure such as eye brow lifting or blepharoplasty (eye bag removal) or VASER Liposelection. The combined aesthetic procedures can be performed in certain cases.
Your particular needs are assessed by the Aesthetic plastic surgeon before-hand, and will advise you on what results you can realistically expect, and whether this procedure is appropriate for you or not.