Facelift risks and complications
What are the main facelift risks and complications?
With any surgery, there are risks and complications that can occur. It is really important for you to be aware of what these are so that you can feel fully confident in choosing to go ahead with surgery. Below, we have listed the main facelift risks and complications. You should read these through carefully and take a while to think about them. Your surgeon will also give you a two-week “cooling-off” period after discussing the facelift risks and any of your concerns during your consultation. This will give you time to decide if you are happy to proceed with the surgery.
Bruising & Bleeding
Some bruising of the treated area is common after surgery. This should resolve over the first couple of weeks. You may also experience slight bleeding from the incision site. This typically occurs right after surgery but may occur a few weeks later. However, if you notice significant bruising, pain, and facial swelling, inform your surgeon immediately. It is possible that you may have a haematoma, which is a solid collection of blood under the skin. These usually occur within 24 hours of surgery and require medical attention to treat. You may be more at risk if you are male, have high blood pressure, or take certain medications.
A facelift surgery involves cutting into the skin and the underlying tissues of the face. Therefore, although uncommon, some areas of the skin or tissue can lose its blood supply during the operation. This can result in these areas of the tissue to necrose, or die, after the surgery. As this will affect the results, you may need to have another operation to treat this. Smokers are at higher risk of this complication, so we advise you to stop smoking at least 6 weeks before the surgery.
Although every effort is made to minimise the risk of infection during surgery, it is still possible for an infection to occur in the treated area. Therefore, it is important that you are aware of the signs of infection. Make your surgeon aware if you notice any of the following signs:
- Feeling feverish with a temperature over 38° C.
- Redness at the incision line that is spreading after the first 48 hours.
- Yellow pus-like or foul-smelling fluid seeping from the incision.
- Increased pain or discomfort that your pain medication does not resolve.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to avoid scarring where the surgeon has made incisions. The size and location of the scars will vary according to the technique used. Make sure you have discussed with your surgeon what scarring you can expect. Most scars will be minimal and your surgeon will make them as discreet as possible. Remember that scars will also fade with time. How much they fade will depend on the healing ability of your skin. Your surgeon can also give you some tips on how you should care for your wounds, to minimise the scarring you are left with.
Sometimes the skin where the surgeon has operated on can change colour slightly after the surgery. This should settle over a few months. You should be able to easily cover this with makeup if it concerns you.
If, during your surgery, the nerves in your face are injured, you may lose some feeling or movement in your face. For most cases, this is temporary. However, rarely, more long-term loss of sensation or movement can occur. At Medbelle, we work with BAAPS/BAPRAS surgeons who are highly skilled and qualified. This means that you will be at less risk of this occurring.
Hair loss & hairline distortion
Hair loss can occur at the site of or around the incisions. This may be temporary, and the hair may grow back. However, it can also lead to a permanent reduction of hair growth. It is also possible for the hairline to become distorted after a facelift surgery, depending on where the surgeon makes the incisions. In men, as a facelift procedure involves trimming, lifting and tightening the skin under the beard area, it is possible that your beard may grow closer to your ears. Generally, this will only be noticeable to you, and should not make a large difference.
After a cosmetic surgery, there is always the possibility that you find you are unhappy with the results of your procedure. There is also a risk that after a facelift, your facial features will look asymmetrical. For example, the position of your earlobe may be slightly higher up than the other side. Most of the time, this will not be noticeable to anyone other than yourself. To ensure you are not displeased with the results, we recommend that you talk openly with your surgeon during your consultation about your desired outcomes, and make sure they understand your expectations.
General surgical complications
All surgeries carry some common risks. These include the development of a blood clot, nausea and vomiting, and postoperative pain. As the surgery involves the use of an anaesthetic agent, it is also possible that you may develop anaesthetic complications.