Facelift Surgery

Chicago facelift surgeon Gregory Dumanian, M.D., treats patients who are unhappy with the visible signs of aging or environmental damage that can appear on the face. For instance, gravity, sun exposure, pollution or smoking can all cause unsightly wrinkles, deep creases that seem to create a set of parentheses around the mouth, slack skin around the jaw line, jowls, and other noticeable signs of aging or skin damage. However, facelift (technically known as rhytidectomy) can help counteract these unattractive symptoms.

According to a patient’s aesthetic goals, Dr. Dumanian performs traditional facelift, limited incision facelift or neck lift surgery, which will be discussed in subsequent sections. Dr. Dumanian may recommend facelift surgery in conjunction with forehead lift or eyelid surgery for optimum aesthetic results.

Suitable Candidates for Facelift Surgery

Patients with bothersome signs of facial aging may be suitable candidates for facelift. Some pesky signs of facial aging that can be treated with facelift include deep creases in the under-eye area, deep creases — referred to as smile lines or parenthetical wrinkles — that extend from nose to mouth, displaced fat, saggy skin, loss of muscle tone, jowls, and loose skin and excess fat under the chin or jaw.

Suitable candidates should also be in good overall physical and mental health. They should not smoke, and they should have realistic expectations. Facelift will not stop the aging process, but it may hold it off for a while.

Facelift Preparation

Dr. Dumanian will do a medical evaluation of patients and may have them get certain laboratory tests prior to surgery to ensure sufficient health and help avoid any complications. He may also prescribe certain medications for patients or have them adjust their current medications. For instance, patients should also stop taking anti-inflammatory medications, such as Advil, Motrin or aspirin, prior to surgery, as these may increase bleeding.

Facelift patients who smoke should quit well in advance of the procedure, as smoking impedes the healing process.

Patients may also want to stock up on ice packs approved pain relievers and other supplies prior to surgery, so they are easily accessible after the procedure.

Dr. Dumanian can usually perform facelift surgery on an outpatient basis. If this is the case, facelift patients should arrange to have someone drive them to and from surgery. They also need someone to stay with them on the first night following surgery.

What to Expect During the Procedure

As mentioned above, Dr. Dumanian can usually perform facelift surgery on an outpatient basis (Certain patients may have to stay overnight at a hospital for monitoring purposes.) He will administer general anesthesia or intravenous (IV) sedation as discussed during the patient’s consultation. On occasion, facelifts are performed in the office with local anesthetics and pill sedation.

With traditional facelift, Dr. Dumanian creates an incision that starts in the hairline near the temple and proceeds around the ear, concluding in the lower scalp. Dr. Dumanian then repositions the underlying tissue, and may lift deeper layers of tissue and muscle as needed. He re-drapes skin over the rejuvenated facial contours, trimming away any excess skin, and closes the incisions with sutures or skin adhesive.

Dr. Dumanian will close any incisions with sutures, skin adhesive or surgical tape as needed. Staples are used in the hairline, as the staples injure the hair follicles less than standard sutures. He may also place a bandage around the patient’s face, as well as insert small tubes underneath the skin to lessen fluid accumulation. The patient is then moved to a recovery area for a few hours following the procedure.

Facelift Post-Operative Care and Recovery

Recovery time varies by patient. Dr. Dumanian and his knowledgeable staff advise patients about how to care for the treated area following surgery, as well as let them know what to expect during the recovery period. However, here is some general information regarding the recovery process following facelift surgery.

As noted above, immediately following surgery, Dr. Dumanian will place a bandage around the face to lessen bruising or swelling. He will also prescribe pain medication and/or antibiotics as needed.

Patients may feel groggy, cold or nauseated as any anesthesia wears off. They may also feel emotional. All of these post-operative symptoms are normal and will go away.

Once at home, patients may feel mild to moderate pain, but they can take the pain relievers that Dr. Dumanian advised or prescribed to reduce any discomfort. Patients should expect to see swelling and bruising of the treated area. Swelling usually occurs in the first few days following surgery and will lessen with time.

It is important for patients to get up and walk around three or four times daily following the procedure; they may need help to do this. Walking helps enhance circulation and helps prevent blood clots from developing in the legs, which can be a potentially fatal condition called deep venous thrombosis (DVT).

Facelift patients must also sleep with their head elevated for approximately two weeks to lessen any swelling. Patients can sleep with two pillows or on a recliner, but they should try to keep their head as still as possible.

Patients should be able to get around within a day or two following the procedure. They can wash their hair after a couple of days. They should take it easy in the first week following surgery and should ease back into normal activities as directed by Dr. Dumanian. Patients should also avoid saunas, steam rooms or anything that delivers a substantial amount of steam to the face, as these can lead to flushing of the face. For the same reason, they should avoid any supplements that contain niacin or related products. They should also avoid anti-inflammatory drugs, alcohol — and of course, smoking — until Dr. Dumanian says otherwise. Typically, patients return to work about 10 days to two weeks following facelift surgery.

Final facelift results may take several months to be actualized, as swelling decreases and incision lines fade.

Are Facelift Results Permanent?

Facelift surgery results are generally long-lasting; though they are not permanent. The face will continue to age. No surgery can completely stop the aging process. However, avoiding excessive amounts of sun and being diligent about sun protection will help extend a patient’s youthful, refreshed appearance. Not smoking, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, will also help a patient maintain the aesthetic results of facelift surgery.

Facelift Risks

Facelift surgery is a significant undertaking. Patients should not hesitate to ask Dr. Dumanian any questions that they may have or address any concerns with him. As with any surgery, there are certain risks involved, such as a bad reaction to anesthesia, scarring, hematoma (i.e., bleeding), infection, asymmetry of facial features, numbness, tingling, accumulation of fluid, persistent pain and others. However, Dr. Dumanian performs thorough consultations with patients to minimize any risk.

Is Facelift Covered by Insurance?

Facelift is considered an elective cosmetic procedure. As a result, it is not typically covered by medical insurance.

For more information regarding facelift surgery or to schedule a personal plastic surgery consultation, please contact Dr. Dumanian at Northwestern Plastic Surgery by calling (312) 695-5660.

More about Dr. Dumanian

Dr. Gregory Dumanian has more than 20 years of experience and has helped many facial plastic surgery patients look and feel their best. To learn more, schedule a consultation by calling 312-695-1999.