Author: Dr. Richard Chaffoo

Your whole outlook can be influenced by your reflection in the mirror. A refreshed, sculpted, youthful-looking face can increase your confidence and make life more rewarding. Unfortunately, stress, gravity, heredity, and exposure to the elements can take their toll on your face, making you look perpetually tired and aged. Facelift surgery at our San Diego area practice can help turn back the years from your appearance, so you look like you, only better.

Am I a Candidate for a Facelift?

Many people who visit us because they’re interested in facial rejuvenation make good candidates for Dr. Chaffoo’s customized facelift approach. There is no optimal age for a facelift. Instead, it’s the skin’s condition and tone that determine whether an individual would benefit from a surgical facelift, a short scar or “mini” facelift, or even a nonsurgical facelift. The best candidates for a full facelift have loose, sagging skin and underlying muscles on the lower two-thirds of their faces, as well as:

  • Some skin elasticity: In addition to repositioning the underlying tissue and muscle, a face lift still stretches the skin somewhat, and successful results and recovery require the skin to still be fairly supple.
  • Strong bone structure: Well-defined facial features provide support for good facelift results.
  • Realistic expectations: The goal of facelift surgery is to refresh your appearance so that you look like a younger version of yourself, not like someone else.

Younger patients whose skin retains much of its elasticity and shows only limited sagging may get excellent results from an endoscopic short-scar or mini facelift. At your complimentary consultation, Dr. Chaffoo will discuss, based on the laxity of your skin and your underlying bone structure, whether you would benefit most from the traditional facelift or the short- scar mini version (as well as explain the differences between the procedures).

Dr. Chaffoo

Dr. Richard Chaffoo

Triple board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Richard Chaffoo provides exceptional care and results. He has been recognized time and again as a Top Doc by patients and peers.

Meet Dr. Chaffoo

A Unique Combination

A facelift restores a youthful facial appearance, but you might want to combine it with other facial rejuvenation procedures to achieve all the improvements you desire. Dr. Chaffoo asks about overall cosmetic goals during your complimentary consultation and may recommend a customized treatment plan to meet those goals. He can use liposuction to remove unwanted fat from the cheeks, under the chin, and the neck for firmer, more sculpted facial contours. Other procedures that may be appropriate include:

Dr. Chaffoo will consider your cosmetic goals and design a combination of procedures customized to you.

About the Surgery

Dr. Chaffoo performs facelift surgery as an outpatient procedure that takes several hours to complete. While each procedure is unique, a traditional facelift generally proceeds as follows:

  • Incisions are made at the sides of the face concealed within natural folds and creases.
  • Skin of the face is separated from the fat and muscle underneath without changing your existing hairline.
  • Extra fat from the neck and chin is removed (in some cases fat is suctioned away with liposuction).
  • The muscles of the neck and cheeks are tightened.
  • Excess skin is trimmed away.
  • Remaining skin is draped over the face in its normal position.
  • Thin tubes called drains are inserted (if necessary) just below the skin to prevent fluid from building up.
  • Incisions are closed with stitches.
  • Your head is bandaged.

If Dr. Chaffoo has determined that you are a good candidate for a mini facelift, he will explain in detail the steps of that procedure, which differ slightly from a full facelift. This technique is quicker and less invasive, requiring a shorter recovery than the traditional facelift.

What to Expect During Recovery

You will return home the day of surgery, so arrange for a friend or family member to drive you home from the cosmetic surgery center and then to remain with you, helping you out around the house for the first few days. You will be supplied with detailed post-operative care instructions to take with you.

Patient experiences vary after facelift surgery. To minimize swelling and bruising, keep your head elevated at all times for the first few days.

After about 5 to 7 days—around the same time that the swelling typically subsides—your stitches will be removed. You might experience some temporary numbness and facial movements might feel stiff; this is to be expected following surgery and should diminish within a few weeks.

For the first few weeks, you are advised to abstain from alcohol and any physical activity that might place strain upon your body, including sexual intimacy. Additionally, it is recommended that you avoid steam baths and saunas, and limit your exposure to ultraviolet light. And, be sure to get your beauty rest!

Throughout your recovery, you will periodically meet with Dr. Chaffoo so that he can assess your progress. Of course, in-between appointments, should you have any questions or concerns, you can contact your Patient Coordinator.

The fact is that the majority of men and women experience minimal discomfort following facelift surgery. Most of Dr. Chaffoo’s patients return to work after just 10 to 14 days; however, recovery rates vary.

Potential Complications

When an experienced, triple board-certified plastic surgeon such as Dr. Chaffoo performs your facelift, complications are rare. Those that do occur are usually temporary, can be treated with antibiotics, or can be corrected by Dr. Chaffoo. Possibilities include:

  • Build up of blood under the skin (hematoma)
  • Injury to nerves that control the facial muscles
  • Numbness
  • Infection at the incision site
  • Reaction to anesthesia such as nausea
  • Skin discoloration
  • Incision fails to heal properly
  • Unsatisfactory results

You can have an in-depth discussion with Dr. Chaffoo about the risks, complications and rewards of a facelift, including how a patient’s anatomy and healing abilities play an important role, during your complimentary consultation.

Facelift FAQ

Will a facelift raise my sagging forehead?

No, this is a common misconception. A facelift is designed to improve the appearance of the lower two-thirds of the face. If you have concerns about your brow or eyes, Dr. Chaffoo may recommend combining your facelift with a brow lift or eyelid surgery to complete your rejuvenation.

Can I go out in the sun after a facelift?

You should pamper your skin following any facial rejuvenation procedure, especially after a face lift. Avoid the direct sunlight until your incisions are completely healed, and then be extra vigilant about sun protection. The sun’s rays on fresh scars can cause permanent discoloration. This sun protection habit is a good one to get into for the long term, as well, because sun exposure causes a lot of the damage and discoloration to our skin that spurs us to seek out cosmetic treatments. The better you protect your skin, the better it will look for many years to come.

Can you make my scars from a facelift I had years ago less noticeable?

Patients who have had facelift surgery elsewhere or at a time when less-advanced techniques were being used may be left with visible scars or an elevated hairline. Today, Dr. Chaffoo can use NeoGraft® hair restoration to cover scars at the edge of the hairline or even have their hairlines restored to their pre-surgery locations.

How long do facelift results last?

This is a question most patients ask, and for good reason. It’s important to remember that a face lift results in a younger, refreshed appearance, but it doesn’t stop the aging process. The same factors that influence the way we age — genetics, lifestyle, and the natural passage of time — continue to play a role. That said, a facelift performed by an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon such as Dr. Chaffoo typically results in changes that last for at least 10 years.

Next Steps

When you decide to undergo cosmetic surgery, it’s important to feel comfortable and confident about the plastic surgeon you choose. Patients appreciate triple board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Richard Chaffoo because he makes their goals a priority and strives to exceed their expectations with natural-looking improvements. To learn more, request your complimentary cosmetic consultation online or call (858) 623-6333 for an appointment.

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