Facing the Risks: Should You Reconsider That Face-Lift?

If your facial skin has started to become loose and saggy, you might start thinking about ways to improve your anti-ageing wellness. A lot of women turn to face lifts to reduce excess skin in the cheeks, jaw and neck, or to decrease the lines around the eyes, lip and chin, but before you undergo a similar procedure, there are things to consider. First and foremost, a face-lift isn’t a treatment for superficial wrinkles, sun damage, creases around your nose and upper lip, or irregularities in skin colour. Plus, a face-lift poses various risks to your wellbeing, and so you have to weigh these up before you make your final decision. The side effects of face lifts include:


1. Scarring: Although the incision scars from your face-lift will be permanent, your surgeon will typically try to conceal this as much as possible by making the incision near your hairline and the natural contours of your face and ears. Therefore, if you have short hair it might be a good idea to let it grow out before the face-lift, as this will enable you to cover the incisions more easily, especially in the initial stages when they’re healing. On rare occasions, incisions can become raised, red scars, which may require injections of a corticosteroid medication (Kenalog-10) or other treatments to improve their appearance.


2. Swelling and bruising: You should expect swelling and bruising for several weeks after the procedure, and it’s common to experience swelling to such an extent that it distorts your facial features and even stiffens the movement in your face. However, this is a normal part of the recovery process, and should go away in a few weeks. If you want to speed the healing along, it may help to keep your head elevated as much as possible, and to apply cold compresses.


3. Changes in skin sensation: As a face-lift involves repositioning your facial and neck tissues, this can influence superficial sensory nerves. It’s normal to feel a certain degree of numbness in your cheeks, scalp and neck, and this can last for anything from a few months up to two years.


4. Hair loss: Near the incision site, it’s not unheard of to experience temporary or permanent hair loss. More often than not, the affected areas will begin to grow hair again after three months or so. If the hair loss is permanent, your surgeon may be able to fix the problem by transplanting skin with hair follicles from your scalp to the area, or by removing the bare area of skin. If the area in which your hair has been lost is large, your surgeon may need to move a portion of your scalp with hair to the bare area.


5. Facial nerve injury: Although this only happens on rare occasions, it is possible for a face-lift to damage the nerves in your face. This can cause facial nerve paralysis which, in turn, can lead to temporary or permanent weakness in your facial muscles.


6. Skin loss: Again, this is rare but a face-lift can interrupt the supply of blood to your facial tissues, which can lead to skin sloughing. Your risk of skin loss after a face-lift increases if you smoke, so there’s another wellness reason to quit.


7. General surgery risks: It’s marketed as a cosmetic procedure, but let’s not forget that a face-lift is actually a major surgery, and poses the same risks as any other major operation. This means that you could have an adverse reaction to anaesthesia, as well as being at risk to bleeding and infection.

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