Aging is a natural process. Today, the prolongation of human life brings the desire to age healthily and beautifully with it. Socially active individuals who enjoy life and love themselves dislike noticing the signs of aging, as the soul does not age. A loose, wrinkled dress; loosened, sagging skin does not fit a young soul, we become estranged to ourselves.
This is where plastic surgery comes into play. The procedures intended to correct the lines on the face, deterioration of skin quality, excess skin and loss of volume can result in happier, pleasant appearances. However, keeping in mind that it is not possible to turn back time completely, it is possible to obtain satisfactory results with modern techniques and correctly chosen procedures to be done on the required areas.
Rhytidectomy, also called a “face lift”, is a surgical procedure aiming to correct the wrinkles and sagging of the facial skin as results of aging, by lifting and thread lifting. As people age, the facial skin wrinkles and loses its elasticity, various blemishes and irregularities can be observed due to sun exposure, daily stress and external factors (cigarettes, alcohol, bad eating habits). On an aged face, the forehead lines are prominent, the eyebrows are droopy, the eyelids sag, bags and wrinkles are formed under the eyes, deep lines are formed in the mouth-nose area, the cheeks are sagging, the contours of the chin are lost, the neck is thicker and its skin has a curtain-like appearance. With the facelift procedure, the sagging and irregularities of the face and neck skin are eliminated, excess fat tissue is removed, facial fasciae and fat tissues are pulled back to their anatomical locations with suspension, facial tissues are reinforced. This procedure, effective down from the temporal region, mostly functional in the lower face and the neck. When necessary, mid-facial area can also be intervened in during the facelift operation, with suspension of the migrated soft tissues that have migrated down from the cheekbones. The loss of volume due to aging can be replaced with fat injections. The ideal candidates for the facelift procedure are patients whose neck skin are moderately sagging without losing its elasticity, who do not have any other health issue. This operation is generally done on men and women over 40. However for structural and genetic reasons, these types of surgeries can also be performed (as limited facelift or full facelift) on younger patients. The facelift procedure can be combined with nose and eyelid surgeries, forehead lift or brow lift surgeries for a more beautiful and younger facial appearance. Dermal fillers (fat, hyaluronic acid, etc.) can be injected to treat thin wrinkles as well as peeling (mechanical, chemical, laser) and botox can be used for treatment of wrinkles.
BEFORE THE OPERATION When you decide to have an operation to treat facial aging – sagging, you should first think of the kind of operation you desire, why you desire it and then consult a plastic surgeon. Discuss with and explain to your doctor your desires and expectations one by one. Cigarettes, aspirin or vitamin E must be stopped 10 days before the operation. Discuss your sunbathing and skin care habits and do not forget to ask about post-operative care for long lasting results. If necessary, discuss the subject several times with your doctor.
OPERATION The operation is performed in hospital environment, under the supervision of an anesthesiologist, in an operating room. It can be done under general anesthesia as well as with intravenous sedation (tranquilizers) accompanied by local anesthesia. The rhytidectomy surgery takes approximately 1.5 – 2 hours, the duration will be longer if additional surgeries are planned. It is possible to leave the hospital the same day, however a 1 night stay at the hospital is usually suggested. Additional procedures (nose, eyelids etc.) can be performed during the same session. The facelift surgery is not without scar. Nevertheless, the scars are barely noticeable as they will be concealed in the temporal region of the scalp, behind the eminence of the external ear and behind the ear.
POST-OPERATIVE PERIOD Early post-operative stages are usually comfortable. General swelling of the face, minimal contusions (bruises), numbness and tightness sensation may occur. As facial nerves may be mildly affected by the anesthesia, moderate facial asymmetries may occur. They disappear within 3 to 5 days. A special facial compression garment leaving the eyes, nose and mouth uncovered is placed following the operation, cold compress is applied on the cheeks. Silicone tubes called drains may be placed to avoid blood accumulation in the tissue. They are taken out the next day. The dressing is removed 4 – 5 days later. General examination and dressing change is done. Hair can be washed during this period. The sutures are dissolvable, they will not be taken out. In the event metal staples are used in the scalp, they are taken out 7 – 8 days later. The operation yields satisfactory results when performed in line with its technique. Secondary correction surgeries may rarely be necessary. The patient can get up after the second day following the operation and can engage in daily activities. A week later, the patient can return to work and wear make-up when the contusions disappear. Heavy exercise and excessive sunlight should be avoided for 2 months, protecting the face from impacts is necessary. The newly-sculpted shape of the face and the neck will sometimes last 5 to 10 years, and sometimes for life, depending on the person’s body structure and external conditions.