What is a face lift?
If you have been looking in the mirror, putting your fingers on your mid-cheeks and lifted towards the top of your ears then you are thinking of a face lift.
Dr Oates has probably performed more face lift surgeries in Perth than any other doctor. Returning from training in the USA in 1999, Dr Oates’ first operation was a face lift. He introduced and popularised short incision lifts (known as the S-Lift) and MACS lift to Western Australia. He has a huge experience with SMAS lifting; pulling on the deeper layer of muscle and fibrous tissue that gives strength to the face lift. After a series of conferences and workshops, Academy has changed to using the Deep Plane Face Lift.
“My mentors in the USA had tried all forms of face lift and thought SMAS lifting was as good as Deep Plane and for over 15 years I had been happy too. Eventually I was convinced that Deep Plane face lifts offers advantages in strength of elevation, more rapid healing and longer lasting results.”
“Results have been very satisfying. The Deep Plane is a slightly slower, more technical face lift but the step up in result from what previously made me happy is totally worth it.”
Dr Oates will spend time with you and discuss your concerns and desires around undergoing a face lift. Academy Face and Body offers the full range of facial rejuvenation treatments. For some people, in their 40’s or with more minor jowling, for example, thread lifting is more suitable than a face lift. For some, fillers and the “liquid face lift” will make significant changes and delay the need for any surgery. Maybe it is really laser resurfacing and improving the skin quality, removing creases and pigmentation is what you really need. Sometimes a combination such as adding laser or fillers to the face lift will give you the best possible result. Dr Oates has a wealth of experience in combining cosmetic procedures.
Deep Plane face lift in Perth can usually be performed under twilight sedation in our fully accredited Academy Day Hospital.
How long does a face lift last?
A common question around face lifts is “how long do they last?” The answer often surprises people. The effect of a face lift is permanent but does not stop ongoing aging. The best way to understand the long-term impact of a face lift is to think of a face where only one side has been lifted; the treated side will always look better.
Natural aging may bring your face back to where you started after 8-12 years depending on your personal aging.
Who is a good candidate for a face lift?
A face lift is ideal for someone concerned about:
- Loss of definition in the jawline
- Aging / heavy neck
Who is not a good candidate for a face lift?
Someone concerned with the upper face, regular smokers or someone with impaired healing abilities may consider a brow lift or eyelid reshaping over face lift.
Dr Jayson Oates performs face lifts at the government-licensed Academy Day Hospital on-site at Academy Face and Body in Subiaco, Perth under twilight sedation. Incisions from the face lift are hidden strategically within the hairline and the ear’s natural curve. The deep plane is accessed via these small incisions, the SMAS elevated and skin redraped and lifted into position.
Bandages are applied immediately after the procedure to the face’s peripheral areas. If performed under general anaesthetic patients stay in the hospital for one night. Face lifts done under sedation will go home the same day.
How long will I need off work?
Two to three weeks are generally taken off work by face lift patients depending on the level of physicality in their industry.
After 2-3 hours you will be able to go home accompanied by a family member or friend. The next day you will come into the clinic for bandage removal, and be able to shower and gently wash your hair. 1 week following the face lift our team will remove your stitches located around the ear. Dissolving sutures are used for hairline incisions and after a week you can begin wearing makeup again if desired.
Is there discomfort?
Mild to moderate discomfort from the swelling is felt by Academy’s face lift patients that can be eased with Panadol or Panadeine.
Pre and Post-Operative Care
A pre-operative skin care program is included in the overall cost of a face-lift with Academy Face and Body, and will be administered by one of the fully qualified Dermal Therapists in our team. A course of three weekly glycolic peels and home care products are recommended to treat and prepare your skin for surgery. Following the face lift your Dermal Therapist will recommend a maintenance program tailored to your skin.
Post Face Lift Information
Face lift surgery is a major surgery that must be tailored for each individual patient. Understanding how you will feel and look post-surgery, as well as being aware of any possible risks / complications associated with face lift surgeries is important when deciding to undergo the procedure.
A large turban-like bandage will be on your head to under your chin when you wake up following the face lift which will be removed a day after the procedure when the drain is removed. Hair is to be washed before the bandage is put on but you can expect some matting and hair to be stuck down when the bandage is removed.
Swelling and bruising
Some swelling and bruising is to be expected depending on the extent of the face lift, often extending down the neck. Bruising goes through a range of colours including purple, green and yellow. After a week you may be reasonably presentable, however most of our patients don’t feel ready to go back to work for two weeks as a minimum. For 6-8 weeks some swelling may be persistent but will go down.
The incision line
Keep incision lines clean is integral so wash them gently 3-4 times a day using cotton wall balls and salt water. Oozing and crusting around the incision lines are to be expected within the first 48 hours after a face lift. Until there is no crusting around incision lines, a thin layer of vaseline is good to keep the site moist.
Wearing shirts that button up from the front will be easier to wear and will avoid catching when pulling shirts over your head.
We recommend dedicating some face washers and towels to cleaning the incisions as these will likely become soiled.
Non-dissolving sutures are removed at around 7 days and if you have been keeping up with the recommended cleaning steps, dissolving stitches will drop off at roughly the same time.
Pain is not a significant feature of face lift surgery for most patients. While there is some discomfort from ‘tightness’ most noticeable under the chin, rarely is the experience described as painful.
It is sometimes reported that cheeks and ears become numb which is a regular part of face lift healing which will return to normal after some weeks. As healing progresses you may experience a feeling similar to insects crawling on the skin which is nothing to be concerned about.
Pain management using Panadol or Panadeine is adequate.
Blood collection under the skin
Haematoma, a collection of blood below the skin, is a potential face lift complication as a large amount of skin may have been elevated off of the deeper facial structures. It is rare and occurs in around 1% of surgeries 1-2 days after surgery.
Mild haematoma can be aspirated in theatre with a needle. Larger haematomas may need to be removed in theatre.
Later fluid accumulation is a seroma and is a collection of tissue fluid treated simply with aspiration via a needle. Multiple aspirations may be needed for it to settle completely.
Whenever skin is cut there is the possibility of infection, however this is unusual during a face lift and antibiotics are given pre-emptively to minimise the risk.
Smokers, diabetics and people that have had facial radiations are at an increased risk of superficial or full thickness skin loss, most frequently found in the hairless spot behind the ear. This can leave a more noticeable, pale scar so please inform Dr Oates if you are a smoker or diabetic.
A scar will always left with any skin incision but face lift surgery should have the scar hidden where they are less noticeable and finer.
Scars in front of the ears are often hidden in the natural crease of this spot. Behind the ears scars are hidden deep in the ear crease and into the hairline to hide them.
Some people do have an increased risk of abnormal scarring so if you have any history of hypertrophic or keloid scarring you should lie Dr oates know before the procedure.
People with darker skin are at greater risk of keloid scarring
Rarely, abnormal scarring occurs without a predisposition for this. Scars can be treated with an injection into the scar.
Scar maturation takes place over 6-12 months but in the first 6-12 weeks scars are pinker and may feel thick. This is regular and a gentle massage will see them settle down quickly. By 6 months post-surgery you should expect flat and fine lines from any scars.
Alteration of the hairline
Keeping a normal hairline is vital to the success of a more subtle face lift. With Deep Plane face lifts a lot of skin can be elevated and it is necessary to have an incision inside the hairline running to the temple region. You can expect this to fade so only you will notice when looking for it and others won’t notice.
Numb skin is a common outcome from making incisions and elevating skin. In face lift this includes the ears and the skin in front which will resolve itself over a period of weeks.
Because one side of the face is completed before the second side is started the face can appear asymmetrical shortly after surgery is carried out due to the delay in swelling in one side.
Another aspect of a face lift which can be expected is uneven swelling from one side to the other based on sleeping habits and has no impact on the resulting outcome.
Some lumpiness of the skin may be noticed after the face lift due to little pockets of increased swelling under the skin and is expected in the first 6-8 weeks. To settle this you can gently massage the skin.
Occasionally long-term asymmetry can result from pre-existing asymmmetry and the facial bone structure. When noticed in pre-operative consultations improvements and corrections can be made but asymmetry shouldn’t be expected when it did not exist previously.
Modern facial techniques address the deeper tissue layers, not just the skin, meaning a more natural and longer-lasting result is achieved from the face lift.
Deeper tissue adjustment brings surgeons closer to the facial nerves that control movement of the face. Very, very rarely this nerve can be damaged but it has been recorded. Nerves are known to spontaneously recover but it is possible for facial nerve damage to be permanent.
If I am interested, what now?
Your first step is an initial consultation with Dr Oates. This consultation does not require a GP’s referral.
If you are a suitable candidate for a face lift and you want to go ahead with the procedure, surgery and pre-operative care is scheduled. Academy Face and Body have a waiting period of three to four weeks.
A free consultation with a Dermal Therapist or Registered Nurse can be arranged to discuss the surgical and non-surgical options available to treat your cosmetic concern.