A facelift is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in the world; it involves removing excess skin from the face in order to make it look younger, tighter and more attractive. Usually, the face sags as people age and the excess skin can make people look older than they are; this can make them lose confidence and affect the way they feel about the way they look. Facelifts are most common amongst women aged between 50 and 70 years old.

Why do people have facelifts?

The most common reason for a facelift is to combat ageing; as the skin gets older it loses tone and elasticity which can contribute to bags, wrinkles and fine lines. Facelifts can help to tighten the skin, which makes people look much younger. The condition of the skin can also be altered by smoking and exposure to sun and chemicals.

What does the facelift procedure involve?

The procedure involves making a series of tiny incisions along the hairline and around the ear; once this has been done the surgeon will trim excess fat and tighten the skin by lifting it and pulling it upwards. Fat may also be removed from around the chin to enhance the appearance of the jaw line. New techniques using an endoscope have also recently been introduced; this involves using a tiny camera to reshape the facial tissue. Once the procedure is complete, the surgeon will close the incisions with sutures and bandage the head.

Is a facelift painful?

Facelifts are carried out under general anaesthetic so the patient should feel no pain. After the procedure, the patient may feel drowsy and slightly nauseous as the anaesthetic wears off and the face may feel sore; the face may also be bruised and swollen for some time after.

How long does recovery from a facelift take?

Every patient is different so healing time varies between individuals; initially, the face may feel very sore but over the counter pain relief and plenty of rest will help to ease pain. For the first 48 hours after the procedure patients should try to do as little as possible; it is advisable to make sure you have somebody around to help you out at home once you�ve been discharged from the clinic. The stitches usually dissolve over a two week period; after this time patients should be able to return to normal life.

Are there any side-effects with a facelift?

Many people do not suffer any side-effects but it is possible that some people may experience them; common side-effects include bruising, swelling and pain. Rarer side-effects include an altered hairline (in men, this may cause problems with shaving). Patients will suffer from scarring, which may be covered up by hair in many patients; scarring fades over time but will never disappear completely.

Are there alternatives to facelift surgery?

There are many alternatives on offer that range from expensive cosmetic treatments to shop-bought creams and lotions; it is best to discuss your situation with a surgeon, who will be able to recommend the best treatment for you. In some cases, less complex procedures may produce the results you want and a full facelift may not be required. Brow lifts, mini facelifts and eyelid surgery are popular alternatives to the traditional facelift.

Are facelifts expensive?

The cost of this treatment varies considerably according to the clinic or surgeon you choose. On average, a facelift will cost between $4000 and £6000 but it is best to check with your surgeon before you agree to go ahead with the surgery.

How long will the results last?

Everyone is different so the duration of the results of the facelift will vary according to the individual. As a general guide, results usually last around 10 years; it is impossible to achieve a lifelong solution as the skin continues to age. Many patients will undergo further surgery once the skin starts to sag again.

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