Aging becomes apparent on the most visible areas of the body. Sagging skin and wrinkles on the face are the typical signs. Muscles of the neck may weaken. The angle between the neck and lower jaw becomes replaced by a "second chin". This condition has three stages: laxity of skin, weakness of the underlying muscles, and accumulation of fat. In a procedure commonly called the face lift, face and neck are lifted in one operation.

The procedure

The purpose of the surgery is to repair muscles that have stretched, to remove excess skin and accumulated fat. The incision begins in the hair near the temple and continues either in front of the ear or hidden inside the ear, around the ear lobe, behind the ear, and back into the hair. Muscles and sagging tissues are tightened, excess skin is taken away, and the remaining skin is repositioned. The operation may be enhanced by submental liposuction. Therefore, a small incision can also be made under the chin. The surgery takes about two hours and is done under a "soft" general anesthesia.

Recovery

Following the surgery, some swelling or very little bleeding may occur. Patients usually feel and look quite well after the operation and there is very little pain. An overnight stay at the clinic is highly recommended. After the operation you will be wrapped into a turban-like dressing that extends under the neck and chin. The dressing is worn for seven days. Stitches will be removed after about a week. Also, special self-resorbing stitches that need not be removed are available. The surgeon will give you details and will also tell you when you are able to shower, wash, and color your hair. The healing will take about four weeks.

The results are remarkable. You will be rewarded by a substantially younger and better look. On average, people are said to look ten years younger. The effect will last for several years, sometimes even decades. Additional procedures, such as forehead lifting or eyelid surgery, can be performed at the same time for a more complete facial rejuvenation.

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