FACELIFT FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How long does the operation take?

The operation takes 3-5 hours depending on the extent in each case and is done under general anaesthesia. One nights hospitalization is generally required. Following the operation your face will be covered by a well padded dressing for 24 hours. Your face may feel strange and a little tight and pain along the incision lines is minor. Simple pain relief prescribed should adequately deal with this.

How long do I have to stay in hospital?

Generally you will require 1 nights in hospital. In some cases surgery can be performed on a day stay basis. The first night is usually spent with the face bandaged but a day or so later the bandages are removed and the operation inspected and redressed.

When can I return to activities?

Considerable bruising and swelling over the first week or so may be encountered. This can be expected to settle rapidly at least by the second week. You will have stitches along the incisions which will be removed at about 7 days. Generally speaking you will be confident and happy to engage in social contact 3 weeks post-operatively.

How long does it last?

About 10 years. After the surgery the ageing process continues at its natural rate. Some patients do request a repeat operation some 10 years later – it is usually no more difficult than before.

Are there any risks?

As with any surgical procedure, there is a small risk of complications. Surgery and anaesthesia is very safe and it is most unlikely you will experience any difficulty. However, there is a small chance that a minor complication such as bleeding or infection may occur.

Scarring: Scarring following surgery may take up to two years to mature and can be expected to be minimal and unnoticeable

It is possible for scarring around the earlobe to result in tightness and tethering. Scarring behind the ear can become lumpy and uncomfortable. Scarring in front of the ear may cause tightness and winging of the tragus (cartilage in front of the ear opening). These are all uncommon.

Blood supply: It is possible to lose small areas of skin, particularly in front of the ear wound line. It is important not to smoke during the early post-operative period. If you are a heavy smoker, facelift may be ill advised and this should be carefully discussed with your surgeon before proceeding.

Swelling and bruising: Bruising and swelling is usual and varies with each patient from being virtually invisible to extensive. Most bruising and swelling settles over 1 to 2 weeks, although some take longer.

As the final swelling settles, some relaxation in the tightness of the face may be noticed. This is an inevitable minor consequence of the fact that the skin is stretched by post-operative swelling and is usually complete within about three months. Fine wrinkles may return during this time.

Nerve injury: Facelift involves facial dissection very close to the course of the facial nerve. This major nerve of the face is responsible for movement of the face, particularly around the mouth, nose and eyes. It is possible that some temporary or sometimes permanent weakness of a part of the face may result following facelift. It is usual to have some temporary numbness of the cheeks and sometimes of the ears. The risk of such an injury is 1%.

Anaesthetic: You will be receiving a general anaesthetic and your anaesthetist will be discussing with you possible discomforts following anaesthesia. Again, anaesthesia today is very safe and no major problems should be concerning you. Any questions you have regarding your anaesthetic would be best answered by your anaesthetist at the time of surgery.

What about costs

Costs of surgery will always differ from surgeon to surgeon.  There is a range from “cheap and nasty” to ridiculously overpriced in the market place.  Do your homework and be happy with the quality of service and experience you are being offered.   Beware of the pitfalls of shopping around for the cheapest costs for this operation as this is the wrong way to choose your surgeon and may leads to disappointment with results.  Remember surgery is not like purchasing a TV or a computer.  The product is not a commodity and what you get will differ depending on who you choose to perform your surgery.  Dr Drielsma offers a good value price structure for breast lifting but his patients choose him on reputation and results, not the cheapest price.

General Information

Should there be any questions regarding facelift, be sure they are answered in advance by Dr Drielsma. Well meaning friends are not a good source of information. Find out everything before proceeding with the operation – a well informed patient is a happy one.

Finally, there can be no absolute guarantee with any surgery. Remember the realistic aim of this operation is improvement, not perfection.

Please note: The above information mentions only some of the benefits and complications of a facelift. This information should not be regarded as a substitute for information and advice provided by Dr Drielsma during consultation.

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