A facelift is a very generic term used to describe a highly variable procedure in plastic surgery. There are multiple methods used to reverse the effects of aging on the face. These techniques depend on the areas of facial aging, skin condition, and the extent of descent (sag) in the facial soft tissues and fat. Premature facial aging is commonly caused by excess sun exposure, smoking, and genetics.
Facelift surgery in Austin TX can tighten sagging skin, lift the cheek area and refine the jawline. Combining a facelift with other components of facial rejuvenation such as eyelid surgery and a brow lift can harmonize the effects of each procedure delivering a natural result that can help you look 10 to 15 years younger.
If you are interested in facelift surgery in Austin TX and surrounding areas, contact our office today to schedule a consultation.
What Are My Facelift Options?
Dr. Trussler offers many facelift procedures for both men and women of all ages. A consultation in his Austin, Texas office will enable patient’s to discuss their goals and learn what their options for facial rejuvenation are. Facelifts are most effective for patients who want to correct:
- Facial sagging along the jawline
- Sagging excess neck skin and neck fat deposits
- Midface (cheek) sagging with deep creases and bags under the eyes
- Deep creases between the nose and mouth (nasolabial folds)
- Skin creases and wrinkling
Facelifts techniques can be varied depending on the extent of aging in the cheek and lower eyelid area. In Dr. Trussler’s composite approach to the face, a full facelift may be combined with a lower eyelid blepharoplasty and brow lift to allow for smooth elevation in all of these areas to help deliver a natural result.
Facelifts are ideal for improving the contour of the jawline and cheeks and correcting sagging skin in the neck. The degree of facial aging including skin quality, the patient’s areas of concern, and the extent of cheek descent all factor into the choice of a facelift procedure. Facelifts are often carried out on in conjunction with lower eyelid blepharoplasty and brow lifts to rejuvenate the area around the eyes and lift the cheeks and brow. Non-invasive facial procedures such as chemical or laser peels, fat grafting, and volumetric fillers can all be performed at the time of a facelift to help harmonize the result and limit the number of recoveries. Facelift procedures are ideally carried out on healthy, non-smoking patients with defined and realistic goals that can be met with the recommended technique.
Dr. Trussler does perform secondary facelift procedures which are appropriate for patients seeking refinements of their face, years after they have had their first facelift. A facelift does not stop the aging process, and some facelift methods only last about two years. Dr. Trussler typically performs a High SMAS facelift which will provide a long-lasting and natural result.
A facelift restores a youthful shape to the neck and jawline region by elevating the facial areas that have sagged with age and smoothing deep skin lines and wrinkles. Each facial procedure performed by Dr. Trussler can achieve a natural rejuvenated look with a lasting result.
The facelift procedure takes about 3 hours and is usually carried out under general anesthesia or deep sedation in the operating room. Additional procedures, such as eyelid surgery and a brow lift will add to that total time, but a complete facial rejuvenation can be completed in one operation with only one recovery.
The facelift that Dr. Trussler performs primarily is a High SMAS facelift which elevates the sagging facial tissues rather than just stretching the skin. The facelift begins with an incision in the chin crease which allows for the neck contour to be defined and any fatty deposits removed. Typically a midline platysmaplasty is the first step in this type of facelift. Separate incisions are made around and behind the ears to release and elevate the face and cheek as one unit on the deeper stronger layer of the face called the SMAS layer. Excess skin is then removed, and the skin tightened in a natural direction with the skin incisions closed with absorbable and long-lasting sutures. Dr. Trussler does place two small drain tubes to help collect fluid under the face and neck which are removed the day after the procedure.
Ancillary procedures like brow lifts, eyelid surgery and skin resurfacing are performed after the facelift is completed.
After Care & Recovery
Dr. Trussler typically recommends at least a one night stay in the aftercare unit to help make your recovery safe and easy. Gauze dressings and drain tubes will be removed the day after the operation. The hair is washed in the operating room after the procedure and gentle washing of the hair is appropriate daily after a facelift. Any stitches will be removed in the first week.
After a facelift, patients will usually need about a week to two weeks off from work and other regular activities. There will likely be mild bruising and swelling for the first few days, which can be relieved with cold compresses to the face as well as an elevation of the head. Any operation around the eye can lead to swelling and irritation. The swelling and irritation are alleviated with gel ice masks and hydrating eye drops for the first week after the operation.
Dr. Trussler will provide you with his full post-operative instructions for a facelift during the initial consultation.
Results from a facelift are immediate though fully appreciated after about three weeks once swelling and bruising have subsided. Skin care and hair coloring can resume after one month. Men can resume shaving after three weeks though they should be cautious as the skin in the neck may have temporary numbness. Scars from a facelift are hidden in skin creases and do fade over the first month of the procedure.
*Disclaimer: Results and individual patient experience may vary.
Frequently Asked Facelift Questions
Who is an ideal candidate for a facelift?
There is no specific “right” time for a facelift, and the decision is very individual. Patients in their 40s typically complain of signs of early facial aging in the neck and jawline and sometimes see the onset of their parents’ neck. Minimally invasive options for this area are limited and often not effective therefore a very effective time for facial rejuvenation is in the 40s prior to the accelerated aging effects of menopause.
Facial aging occurs in a predictable fashion and is related to genetics, environmental damage (sun and smoking), and general health including weight fluctuation. Good candidates for facelifts are healthy patients with realistic expectations that have correctable signs of facial aging.
These are characteristics Dr. Trussler takes into account when planning facial rejuvenation surgery:
- Mid-face sagging
- Deep nasolabial folds
- Deep creases under the eyes
- Fatty, loose areas below the cheekbones
- Banding, fatty tissue, and loose skin on the neck
What is the facelift procedure like?
A facelift with Dr. Trussler tare typically done under general anesthesia and take 4 hours. With these procedures, Dr. Trussler repositions the face to a more youthful position. He uses the deeper layer of the face (deep plane or SMAS layer) to reposition and rejuvenate the face. This avoids abnormal skin pulling and avoids over-stretching the skin delivering a more effective and longer lasting result.
Incisions are usually made in the chin crease to repair the platysma muscle in a corsette fashion, treat muscle banding and remove fat. This is combined with incisions around the ear and along the hairline to elevate the skin and SMAS (Superficial Musculo-Aponeurotic System) layers. The SMAS flap lift the cheek, refine the jawline and complete the neck rejuvenation. The excess skin is carried on the SMAS and removed in its natural direction, again to keep from stretching it. Incisions are closed in layers over one drain and a compression dressing is applied.
Dr. Trussler can correct the neck and jawline with a lower facelift and address the face as whole including the cheeks with a High SMAS facelift technique. These facial rejuvenation procedures can be hybridized to address problem areas and applied in secondary type facelift procedure.
What will my recovery be like after a facelift?
Facelift recovery can be between one to two weeks. The first 24 hours are by far the most difficult with the recovery from anesthesia coupled with the initial discomfort of surgery. The discomfort is limited and the most common complaints include a headache and tightness in the neck. The first night after a facelift is spent with a dressing around the face and neck with one drain tube. This is all removed the next day. After the dressing is removed, the hair can be washed and the incisions cared for gently. You’ll need to sleep with your head elevated for one full week. Your skin will feel tight, as you would expect. With most facelifts, due to the tissue repositioning, there are usually some areas of numbness, swelling and bruising which will resolve in the first 8 weeks. Most patients can return to work and public in 10-14 days after their facelift surgery, but some may need more time if other procedures are performed.
How soon after my facelift can resume exercise?
Recovery after a facelift depends on the type of procedure and if any additional procedures were performed such as eyelid surgery, fat grafting, and/or skin resurfacing. These all can contribute to increased swelling and care. The first night of a facelift is the worst night with a typical complaints of tightness and a headache. Pain and discomfort is limited and the dressing and drain are removed the next day. After the first day a patient can shower and wash there hair. After one week patient feel pretty well but persistent bruising and stigmata of healing can still be present. For the first few days of your recovery, Dr. Trussler encourages short, light walks to encourage blood circulation. But you don’t want to increase your heart rate or blood pressure, as this can cause the tiny blood vessels beneath your facial skin to bleed. Cardio can be resumed at 2 weeks and full activity at 4 weeks. It is advised that limited neck movement for the first week to 10 days to help with initial healing. Downward facing exercises such as yoga may be delayed for 4 weeks to decrease the potential for recurrent or prolonged swelling.
What are the risks with a facelift?
A facelift with Dr. Trussler is real surgery that is performed under general anesthesia. Though it is major surgery the physiologic impact is less than other types of general, cardiac or neurosurgical procedures. Safety is of utmost concern and proper planning, screening and perioperative care is handled with an attention to detail. The most common risk is a hematoma which is bleeding under the skin which can be limited by taking it easy after a facelift procedure and not increasing the blood pressure. Other common risks include scarring, sensation changes and prolonged swelling which can all be limited to the first month.
How long will my facelift results last?
Most people feel that facelifts make them look from 10-15 years younger. The changes made by Dr. Trussler are permanent, but your face will continue aging, as you would expect. It will age from a younger starting point, however, as the elevated facial structure created with the High SMAS lift will endure and you will never return to the same degree of sagging you had previously. Your facial aging is also predicated on the amount of sun exposure you receive, along with personal habits such as smoking. To keep pace with the aging process, many of our patients return for a more limited procedure in 8-10 years or so.
How do my results compare with using dermal fillers?
In Dr. Trusslers opinion there is no comparison of dermal filler with a well done facelift. Effective volumizing with fat grafting or fillers can accompany a facelift but are done very selectively. Midface rejuvenation can be achieved in mild to moderate cases with correctly placed fillers but no lift is provided. There is no replacement for surgical correction in the lower face and neck. This is the most common area addressed at an early age.
What will my scarring be like after my facelift?
Dr. Trussler uses his expertise to effectively hide your incisions. He uses the natural chin crease and hides the ear incisions in skin creases and the hairline as much as possible. These scars will heal well naturally and will be quite inconspicuous in a matter of months. The post-auricular scars can be prone to redness and thickening, but can be easily encouraged to heal well.
Whether you have a question or would like to set up a facelift consultation in Austin, Texas, Dr. Trussler and his staff are here to help. Please fill out our contact form, or call our office at (512) 450-1077 to schedule an appointment. Start your journey to not only looking better, but feeling better today!
- Trussler, AP, Stephen, P, Hatef, DA, Schaverian, M, Meade, R, Barton, FE. The Frontal Branch of the Facial Nerve across the Zygomatic Arch: Anatomical Relevance of the High SMAS Technique. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2010 Apr; 125(4): 1221-1229.
- Trussler AP, Hatef D, Broussard GB, Brown S, Barton FE. The Viscoelastic Properties of the SMAS and Its Clinical Translation: Firm Support for the High-SMAS Rhytidectomy. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2011; 128:757-764.