What Will the Plastic Surgeon Do When I Get a Facelift?

Many people think about getting plastic surgery done, but most chicken out because they’re scared of “going under the knife.” While we’ll readily admit we’d prefer not to bear live witness to a cosmetic face lift procedure, there are many of us who would actually feel at ease and prefer to know exactly what will happen if they have cosmetic plastic surgery performed. A typical cosmetic facelift seems as simple as cut, pull, and sew, but this is not the case. There is a specific routine involved. This step-by-step list provides a semi-specific understanding of what the cosmetic surgeon will do during your cosmetic face lift surgery, but these actions may well be modified at your facelift surgeon’s discretion for optimal results. For a more specific idea of how your cosmetic face lift will go, contact your board certified plastic surgeon for a consultation.

1. Anesthesia and Making the Cut

Your (hopefully) board certified plastic surgeon will place you under general anesthesia, which should put you to sleep for the entire cosmetic surgery operation. Your plastic surgeon will then clean the areas of operation and then place a dotted line behind the natural hairline. The line will be one to two inches behind your hairline, and from the temple region down to the front of your ear, and will then curve to the bottom of the ear, move behind it and flow back along the hair line. After the lines are checked for accuracy, the cosmetic surgeon will follow the lines again, this time with a scalpel.

2. Skin Separation

Joan Rivers likens this part of the operation to peeling the skin of an orange in order to get to the pulp in Men Are Stupid and They Like Big Boobs. “Think of your face as an orange, with the skin as the peel and the muscle/fat/fascia as the pulp. To get to the pulp, you have to separate it from the peel.” plastic surgeon in Newport Beach, CA

Just like it sounds, the plastic surgeon will separate your top layer of skin from the face, from the temple to your hairline behind the ears with scissors, forceps or whatever incision tool he’ll choose. All of this skin will be pulled forward over the nose, and held with a retractor. Your SMAS will be exposed, especially the area of the jaw and cheeks, and ready for the next step.

3. Hoisted In Place

During the part of your cosmetic face lift, the cosmetic surgeon will lift the SMAS (muscles and connective facial tissue) higher and tighter with a surgical needle and surgical thread. If your facial structure requires it, the plastic surgeon will cut away underlying tissue as necessary. At this point, you’ll be fully grateful for anesthesia.

4. And All the Trimmings Too

Your board certified plastic surgeon will pull the skin back over your face periodically to check the tension of the skin and to make sure the results are nice and smooth. Upon finding the repositioning to his liking, the plastic surgeon will insert holding stitches into the skin at the temples, by your ears, and by the hairline behind the ear. He’ll check once again to make sure the skin isn’t pulled too tight (which can give you a ghastly appearance), and if all is well, he’ll cut away excess skin and sew up the incisions. These steps will be repeated on the other side of the face as well.

5. Attacking the Turkey Neck

If you’re also scheduled for a neck lift during this procedure, this is when it will be performed. The plastic surgeon will make a small, two inch incision under your chin, exposing the platysma (neck) muscles. Using a retractor, the cosmetic surgeon will hold the neck open and sew the platyma muscles tight. If needed, the cosmetic surgeon may use a micro-cannula or syringe to remove excess fat and lapsed muscle tissues. The incision will be sewn upon completion.

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