Initially, you'll talk to a plastic surgeon about a face-lift. During your first visit, your plastic surgeon will likely:
- Review your medical history. Be prepared to answer questions about current and past medical conditions, such as high blood pressure. Talk about any medications you're taking or have taken recently — especially those that might affect your blood's ability to clot — as well as any surgeries you've had.
- Do a physical exam. To determine your treatment options, the doctor will examine your facial skin, facial bone structure and neck. Patients who have thin, angular faces are likely to achieve better results from a face-lift than are patients who have round faces, low cheekbones or short jawbones. The doctor will also note any scars, skin irregularities or asymmetry in your face before recommending a specific technique. He or she might also take pictures of your face for your medical record.
- Discuss your expectations. Explain why you want a face-lift and what you're hoping for in terms of appearance after the procedure. Make sure you understand the benefits and risks, including scarring and hair loss.
Before a face-lift you might also need to:
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- Follow medication directions. You'll likely need to avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements, which can increase bleeding. You might need to start taking antibiotics before a face-lift to prevent an infection after the procedure. Also, if you're prone to high blood pressure, you might need to take blood pressure medication before a face-lift.
- Wash your face and hair. You'll likely need to bathe and wash your hair the night before and the morning of your face-lift.
- Avoid eating. You'll be asked to avoid eating anything after midnight the night before your face-lift.
- Arrange for help during recovery. If your face-lift is done as an outpatient procedure, make plans for someone to drive you home after surgery and stay with you for at least one to two days.
- Thorne CH, et al. Grabb and Smith's Plastic Surgery. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Wolters Kluwer Health Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2007:1.
- Bailey BJ, et al. Head & Neck Surgery — Otylaryngology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2006:1.
- Face lift. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/Cosmetic-Procedures/Facelift.html. Accessed May 29, 2012.
- Facelift surgery. The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. http://www.aafprs.org/patient/procedures/rhytidectomy.html. Accessed May 29, 2012.
- Arroyave E. Understanding Cosmetic Procedures: Surgical and Nonsurgical. Clifton Park, N.Y.: Milady; 2006:99.
- Bite U (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 3, 2012.