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Dr. Patrick Dedoncker

Treatments / Face lift

Face lift

There are different names for the face lift such as the “mini face lift”, the “MACS lift”, the “S-lift”, the “soft lift”, the “SMAS lift”, the “sub-SMAS lift “ and the  “quick lift”.

Your plastic surgeon will determine with you which technique suits you best.

Life begins at 40! It emanates from the fact that we live longer but alas this does not always show through on the outside. With the passing time your skin may look like has seen better days, in fact it has lost its elasticity and its glow gradually decreases. You will notice the appearance of creases between the corner of the mouth and the cheek (this is known as ‘marionette's grooves'), between the nose and the corner of the mouth (the nasolabial crease) and the expression lines.

Ageing of the skin is caused by two principle factors. On the one hand the force of gravity on the skin and on the other hand the skin loses its elasticity because there is less connective tissue in the skin. On top of this fat and muscle melt away between the skin and the underlying skeleton, stress, heredity and sunlight do the rest.

The following exercise is very simple and can show you how your new face will be. Look at yourself in the mirror. Next, lie down and look in a hand mirror you are able to see how it makes the creases disappear from  
the skin between the nose, the mouth and the cheeks.

Would you like to radiate eternal youth?

Which wrinkles can the face lift eliminate?

A face lift allows us to turn back the clock. Thanks to this operation you will look 10 years younger. The outline of the face is reshaped and your skin will be firmer with a youthful sparkle. You are younger and it shows!

A face lift allows a light correction of deeper wrinkles. The nasolabial crease and the marionette's groove are from then on less obvious. For those deeper grooves lipofilling (lipostructure) may be a perfect complementary treatment.

To correct more superficial wrinkles, a peeling, laser treatment or fillers are more tailor-made (see wrinkle treatment).

What happens?

A face lift is not limited to the face only according to us. The neck and the chin are also treated.

Firstly subcutaneous fat of the chin is sucked away by means of liposculpture. By doing this the skin of the neck is detached so that it can be firmly pulled in an upwards direction.

An incision is made in the natural crease just in front of the ear. This incision follows up to the side burn. The skin is detached up to the middle of the cheek. Next the muscles of the face and neck are tightened thanks to suspension loops . The correction of these muscles refers to the term SMAS lift (superficial myoaponeurotic system). The plastic surgeon places these loops vertically against the force of gravity. This technique guarantees a beautiful natural result thus avoiding a frozen look, without expression otherwise known as “poker face”. Finally the skin is tightened and excess skin has been removed. In view of the fact that the loops are placed deeply in the muscles of the face, they are not at all visible.

We talk about a simple lift when two loops are put in place at each side. The synonym for this is the S-MACS lift, in which the S means simple.
If you also suffer from tired eyes an extended lift may be the right procedure for you. This X-MACS lift, in which the X means extended, provides an extra lifting loop and this helps rejuvenate the lower eyelid.

Lipofilling can make all the difference between a successful face lift and an extraordinarily successful face lift. A persons own fat tissue is then injected in places where it has disappeared from, like deep nasolabial folds, the cheeks, lips or in a deep frontal wrinkle between the two brows.

Scar

These days we carry out the face lift by resorting to the “short scar lift” technique or the “MACS lift” (minimal access cranial suspension lift). This method allows for a smaller scar than with older techniques and the scar is practically invisible. We speak also of the mini-lift, where the length of the scar is much shorter. The effect of this lift is nevertheless not less effective.

There are no classical sutures visible in the case of a face lift. It is about sub-cutaneous sutures that dissolve spontaneously. The skin itself is glued. Nobody will be able to tell that your face has undergone a surgical operation.

Anaesthetic

Thanks to the refinement of operation techniques and the constant progress in the anaesthetic field a face lift is generally carried out under local anaesthetic. We administer to more nervous patients medication with a view to calming them in the short term. This sedation can be performed on several levels until the patient is asleep. In any case the classical narcosis is not obligatory for this type of operation. After the operation you will feel in good form because you will not feel the undesired after effects of a general anaesthetic. A nights stay in hospital is not necessary.

Recovery

You can leave the clinic on the day of the operation. You will receive classic pain killers like ibuprofen and paracetamol, to help you cope with any unpleasantness in the first 24 hours following surgery. Thereafter pain disappears very quickly.

You will need to return one day later in order for the plastic surgeon to check the results of the operation. The bandage will be taken off, the wound will be disinfected and the drain removed.

After this check up you will no longer need a bandage. You can from that moment wash your hair again, this will give you back a pleasant sensation of wellbeing. From then on you will need to disinfect the wound every morning and every night (isobetadine). Given that there are no visible stitches, there is no need to remove stitches.

The first week following surgery your face will be swollen going out might be a problem during the day, working from home may be possibility.
Normally by second week, the swelling is reduced but the skin may still be a little yellow. Make up will allow you to continue your social life without too many problems.

As of the third week your face will regain a normal appearance and consequently you will be able to go back to work again. Two months later you can evaluate the obtained results thanks to ‘before and after’ photos. We advise you to massage the scar in the first weeks following surgery with a greasy cream (hand cream, day cream, bio oil, sweet almond oil, scar ointment, silicon gel, for ex.)

The scar will soon be invisible to the naked eye thanks to the type of sewing (subcutaneous stitch and skin glue) and to the location of the incision (in front of the ear and between the hairs). Obviously every patient heals at a different rate.

Risks and eventual complications

Following this operation it is possible that the skin is less sensitive, more precisely in front of the ears. This is a temporary sensation. After some weeks or in some cases months, the sensitivity will return. The skin will restore itself and go back to its normal texture.

Among smokers healing can take a little longer, with the forming of scabs on the wound. So it is therefore strongly recommended that smoking be stopped before the operation, at least tempory.

Care and safety

The plastic surgeon proceeds with these operations in conditions of optimal security, surrounded by a professional team.

Even though the facelift is generally done under local anaesthetic with sedation, you are constantly monitored by the anaesthetist (automatic and repetitive measure of the blood pressure, constant measuring of the oxygen saturation, electrocardiogram) one or two highly qualified nurses will equally supervise. This environment will guarantee that you have faultless safety.

The local anaesthetic allows not only an operation without pain but also a minimal risk of blood loss and bruising.

Your operation is carried out exclusively in a sterile environment. This is why we ask that you wash your hair thoroughly before your operation and this to reduce the risk of bacteria. During the operation, you will receive a mild antibiotic.

If you are taking anti-coagulant drugs, please inform your plastic surgeon of this first (for ex. acetylsalicylic acid, aspirine, asaflow, cardioaspirine, dipiridamole, plavix, sintrom, marevan and others).

After the operation, you are able to contact your plastic surgeon at all times on his personal mobile number, if you have the slightest question.

Related subjects

neck lift
correction of eyelid
lipofilling
peeling

Contact

Surgery and consultations (after appointment)

A.Z. Jan Portaels
Gendarmeriestraat 65
B-1800 Vilvoorde
Belgium
T: +32 (0)2 257 59 74

A.Z. Lokeren
Lepelstraat 2
9160 Lokeren
Belgium
T: +32 (0)9 340 85 30

We consult in the UK and in Ireland
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