One-tenth of a second – not long is it? It may surprise you to know that studies have shown this infinitesimal amount of time is all it takes for a person to make indelible judgements of you. This split second is crucial in creating a positive lasting impression; whether you are searching for a job, a mate or a sale.
It is no wonder then, with so much riding on our appearance, many people are turning to plastic surgery to restore what time insists on taking away.
The way our face ages and how fast it ages depends on a number of elements including genetics, lifestyle choices such as diet, smoking habits, and sun exposure as well as your overall health. These contributing factors mean every individual face is unique but eventually, most often from somewhere between your early forties to fifties, a number of common aging processes begin to occur.
- Crows feet and fine lines appear
- Muscle and fat diminish causing the overlying skin to sag resulting in jowls, turkey neck and a ‘squaring’ of the lower face.
- The face begins to lose its uniform appearance resulting in more shadows such as dark hollows under the eyes.
- The brow lowers and loses its fullness resulting in a more stern expression.
- As the underlying connective tissue degrades, the upper cheeks deflate causing nasolabial folds to become more pronounced.
Is surgery the answer?
In an effort to cater to individuals seeking a solution to their facial aging without surgery, many cosmetic clinics recommend plumping agents such as fat or synthetic fillers to bolster the areas which have been left diminished due to muscle and fat loss. The unfortunate results of this so-called liquid facelift can be seen in many Hollywood stars sporting the instantly recognisable ‘pillow face’.
Once a face ages and the underlying basis has lost its integrity, there are no fillers, lasers or creams which will put that tissue back in its place. The only substantial, lasting solution for facial aging, where skin, muscle and fat have been compromised, is through the skills of a qualified Plastic Surgeon.
What to expect
The ‘lunchtime lift’ is a fallacy. A facelift is a major surgery involving considerable manipulation of the face’s underlying structure. The procedure can take around three to four hours to perform.
The first week after surgery is likely to be the most uncomfortable but you will have painkillers to ease any discomfort. Swelling and bruising should be expected. At the end of this week, stitches will be removed. By the second week, tightness and numbness may persist but you should be feeling a lot better and can resume light activity.
It may be three to four weeks before you feel comfortable enough with your appearance to go out socially. Residual swelling may persist for some time and final results may take up to a year after surgery to be appreciated.
Complications and risks
Every surgery comes with risks and a facelift is no different. The most serious complications, though rare, include:
- nerve damage (often temporary)
- skin necrosis
- noticeable scarring
Your surgeon will run through the risks with you and provide you with aftercare instructions. By following these to the letter, you can lessen the risk of major complications.
Selecting a surgeon
Ultimately the quality of the result of your facial surgery will lie directly in the hands of your Plastic Surgeon. There is a vast divide between Cosmetic Surgeons, who may be little more than GPs, and Board Certified Plastic Surgeons who have many years of extensive training.
Once you have shortlisted surgeons, the next most valuable allies are photos of the surgeon’s actual patients. When considering a facelift, pay close attention to side view images. The tragus (the small nodule where the face meets the ear canal) and the area directly in front of the ear, should be carefully inspected. This is where the tell-tale signs of a facelift will be most prominent and this is where the expertise of the surgeon and his technique, play a major role. The before and after images should show little change in this area.
A facelift won’t make you look like a teenager again but expertly performed, it will make you look younger, more vibrant and just may win you that job, that promotion, or that heart. Best of luck!