Facelift

A facelift is a surgical procedure to lift the mid- to lower face to restore a youthful appearance. There is a range of procedures that are often called a facelift. Honolulu plastic surgeon Dr. Shim Ching carefully assesses each patient’s face and the way it has aged to determine the treatment plan that will best provide the desired cosmetic improvements.

To find out how facial cosmetic surgery can help you look younger and more attractive, request a consultation with Dr. Ching or call our office at (808) 585-8855 to schedule an appointment.

What are the benefits of a facelift?

A facelift is a cosmetic surgery procedure that helps patients look younger by rejuvenating the face from the cheekbones to the jawline. Facelifts can be performed on both men and women as soon as there are signs of aging. Ideally, this procedure is performed earlier in life, in the mid-40s to 50s. Benefits of this procedure include:

  • Raising sagging cheeks
  • Smoothing out wrinkled skin on the cheeks
  • Reducing jowls and defining the jawline

Dr. Ching often combines facelift surgery with a neck lift for more complete improvement.

Which procedures are often combined with a facelift?

In addition to a neck lift, Dr. Ching may perform one or more additional procedures along with a facelift:

  • Brow lift to raise sagging eyebrows and heavy upper eyelids
  • Eyelid surgery to refresh the appearance of the upper and lower eye area
  • Fat grafting to restore fullness to the cheeks and hollows under the eyes
  • Dermabrasion to smooth out fine wrinkles
  • Liposuction of the neck and under the chin
  • Lifting of the lips or earlobes

How is facelift surgery performed?

A facelift alone takes a minimum of 4 hours to perform. In this procedure, incisions are made in front of the ear, behind the ear, across the skin behind the ear to reach the hairline, and along the hairline behind the ear. This long continuous incision allows Dr. Ching to lift the skin off the face and neck and access the SMAS, which is the deeper foundation layer of the facial structures.

In our practice, lifting the SMAS is a key method for ensuring patients attain natural-looking, long-lasting results. By lifting this layer into a position that is close to where it was when the patient was younger, Dr. Ching can restore a youthful appearance to the face that looks natural. After the SMAS layer is lifted, excess skin is removed, and the incisions are closed.

Is fat grafting an essential part of a facelift?

Dr. Ching performs fat grafting routinely with facelifts. This is essential to restore the fullness to the face that is lost with aging. Volume restoration with fat is important in the temples, cheeks, and lips. The lift of the marionette lines and nasolabial folds is reinforced and improved with fat grafting to these areas. Concurrent fat grafting is considered a major advance in facelift techniques, and it ensures patients obtain the best possible results.

Why is the SMAS facelift better than other techniques?

In our practice, we believe the SMAS facelift to be the best facelift technique. Other lifts, which include the Lifestyle Lift, mini facelift, and skin-only facelifts, cannot fully address changes related to aging of the face and offer inferior results. Traditional facelift methods often address only excess skin, providing results that look pulled, tight, and unnatural. Ideally a facelift is performed with other procedures, such as fat grafting, a brow lift, an eyelid lift, and a neck lift to rejuvenate the entire face.

What can I expect during recovery after a facelift?

Most of Dr. Ching’s facelift patients return home the day of surgery. You will need to arrange for an adult to drive you home. You may have one or more surgical drains placed near the incisions to prevent the buildup of blood and fluid under the skin and reduce swelling. Although your recovery will depend on many factors, you can generally expect the following:

First Week

Discomfort after facelift surgery usually lasts only a few days and can be relieved with prescription medication. You can expect mild swelling and bruising on areas of the face and neck, peaking after the first few days and then rapidly subsiding. It may be helpful to sleep in a recliner or with your head propped up on pillows. Most of the stitches will be removed after about a week. Any stitches or staples in the scalp will stay in place a bit longer, as this thicker skin takes longer to heal.

Back to Work

Most patients are ready to return to non-strenuous jobs after swelling has subsided, which is usually within 2 to 3 weeks. At this point, any bruising or discoloration can be covered with makeup.

Exercise

After the first day or 2, you will be encouraged to get up and walk around carefully several times a day. This gentle exercise will speed up the healing process by increasing your circulation and reducing swelling. After about 3 weeks, you should be ready to resume your regular exercise routine.

How It Feels

It’s normal for the area around the incisions to feel numb and itchy during the recovery process. These sensations are caused by impact to the nerves in and under the skin during surgery. Although it may take several months for the area to feel completely normal again, patients regain normal sensation of the face with time.

What can I expect for my facelift results?

The scars from the incisions are well hidden in the contours of the ear, behind the ear, and along the hairline behind the ear. Dr. Ching’s facelift patients generally attain a more youthful, rejuvenated appearance. The results will last throughout the patient’s lifetime, although patients do continue to age.

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