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All About Face Lift and Neck Lift

Introduction to Face Lift and Neck Lift


The Face Lift is usually performed in conjunction with a Neck Lift.  The Face Lift and Neck Lift procedures are designed to rejuvenate the aging face and neck.  This is accomplished by tightening the underlying muscles of the face, elevating the facial skin to a more youthful position, and removing the excess skin.  It is effective in smoothening deep creases of the face while eradicating some shallow wrinkles.  If you or your friend are considering Face Lift or if you are only interested in more information about the procedure, please call us at (714) 500-0050 for a consultation with Dr. Luu Doan.  You can also email us by clicking here to schedule a consultation or to get answers to any of your questions regarding the procedure.


As people age, the effects of gravity, sun exposure, and cigarette smoking take a toll on the facial skin.  The skin loses its tone and elasticity. The cheek skin sags.  Deep creases form between the nose and corners of the mouth called nasolabial creases.  Creases can also form between the corners of the mouth and the chin called marionette lines.  As the cheek skin sags, it forms bags of skin on each side of the chin called jowls which give the jaw a square shape.  The skin and muscles of the neck can also sag and cause vertical bands on the frontal view and the turkey wattle appearance on the side view.

A Face Lift, also called rhytidectomy, can rejuvenate the face by improving the most visible signs of aging.  The procedure removes excess skin and fat, tightens underlying muscles of the face and neck, and redrapes the facial and neck skin to a more youthful position. 


Face Lift and Neck Lift Surgery


The Face Lift surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia in our medicare-accredited, state-of-the-art Newport Coast Surgical Center.  The operation takes approximately three to four hours to perform.  The patient is monitored by an anesthesiologist throughout the procedure.


The Face Lift procedure begins with an incision inside the hairline at the temple, extends downward in a natural crease in front of the ear and continuing behind the earlobe to the lower scalp along the hairline of the neck. 

 The skin is carefully separated from the underlying muscles of the face.  The membrane overlying the muscles of the face, also called the SMAS, is tightened with sutures.  This provides a more durable facial tightening effect. The skin is redraped upwards and outwards with moderate tension and the excess skin is removed.  The incision is then closed with sutures. 


 The Neck Lift begins with liposuction of the midline neck and jaw line. The remaining excess fat in the midline must be directly removed through a small incision under the chin. The muscle is then tightened in the midline and suspended in a lifted position. This will create the desired, defined neck angle that did not exist preoperatively.  The excess skin of the neck is then pulled upwards and outwards with moderate tension and the excess skin is removed.  The incision is then closed with sutures. 


Only a thorough and candid discussion between you and Dr. Doan can determine the best surgical options for you.  Doctor Doan will discuss with you in detail every step of the procedure and he will review with you the possible complications of the operation. 


Recovery From Face Lift and Neck Lift Surgery


Recovery from a Face Lift is remarkably less painful than one might expect.  You will be prescribed medication for pain and nausea.  You will also be given antibiotics to prevent infection.  The head should be kept elevated for the first several days to lessen the swelling.  It is normal to have swelling of the face, bruising along the jaw line, and numbness of the face.  You should be up and about the next day to prevent blood clots from developing in the veins of the legs.  The sutures will be removed at 5 days after surgery.  Swelling takes up to three months to completely resolve and bruising should resolve in two weeks.  Most patients can return to work by two to three weeks after surgery but may require make-up to camouflage residual bruising.  Scars may take up to a year to fade, soften, and flatten. The ear and hairline can very effectively cover the scars.  It is not unusual for patients to feel rather strange about their appearance for the first several months.  Facial features may be distorted from the swelling and facial movements may be slightly weaker than normal before full recovery is achieved at 2 to 3 months.  By 3 months after surgery, most patients are highly satisfied with their results.  Doctor Doan and his staff will guide you through the entire recovery period to make sure that it is as smooth as possible.


Complications of Face Lift and Neck Lift Surgery


If you are a healthy candidate with no pre-existing disorders or diseases which may inhibit healing, the general risks of Face Lift and Neck Lift surgery are very low.  However, since it is indeed surgery, there are inherent risks you must consider before choosing to undergo a procedure such as this.  Potential complications associated with Face Lift and Neck Lift surgery may include the following:


  • Hematoma:  Abnormal bleeding underneath the skin can cause a significant collection of blood that swells the skin tensely and causes extreme pain.  A reoperation is required to remove the blood and cauterize the bleeding vessel.

  • Facial Nerve Injury:  The face and neck have many nerves that control muscle movements.  If any of these nerves are cut, it can lead to paralysis of a facial muscle and will be noticed as weakness or paralysis of that particular facial movement.  This is very rare.  Usually, the nerve is only stretched and bruised and will recover function in 3 to 6 months.

  • Hypertrophic Scarring:  Thick scarring can developing, particularly behind the ear.  This can be treated with steroid injection to help soften, flatten, and lighten the scar.

  • Alopecia:  Hair loss in the area of the incisions.

  • Skin Necrosis:  Dead skin around the incision can result from cigarette smoking which compromises skin circulation, too much tension on the skin because too much skin was resected, or dissection that leaves the skin too thin.

  • Numbness of the Skin:  The sensation usually returns by one year, if not sooner. However, there can be areas of facial skin with permanent numbness or decreased sensation.

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