A facelift is a surgical procedure used to remove wrinkles and sagging of the face caused by age. In 2004, surgeons performed over 157,000 facelifts, a 25 percent increase since 2003, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. During a facelift, the surgeon makes an incision (usually starting at the temple and circling the ear) and then literally lifts skin off the face so that muscles and tissue under the skin can be tightened. Extra skin and some fat may be removed. The remaining skin is then redraped over the face and the incision is sutured. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia, and may take several hours. Some patients can go home the same day, but others spend one night in the hospital.
Pain Level/Recovery Time: The face is bandaged after surgery. Dressings and a drainage tube (if used) are removed one to two days later. Stitches are removed within five to 10 days. The procedure usually isn't painful, but your doctor may prescribe a painkiller. Expect swelling and bruising, which can be alleviated by applying ice packs and cold compresses. Patients should keep their head elevated as much as possible. Most people can return to their usual routines two to three weeks after surgery. Numbness of the skin may last for weeks or months. Skin may feel rough and dry for a few months.
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