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facelift prepWhen people start talking about "getting work done" — they're usually thinking about getting a face lift.

In the entertainment, social and business worlds, presenting an image that reflects youth and vitality is important to success.

Wrinkles on the forehead, deep laugh lines, puckers around the lips, crow's feet near the eyes and the general effects of years of gravity working on facial skin and muscles... all add up to a look that not only shows your age, but can make you seem much older than you really are.

A face lift, or rhytidectomy, can be the solution to the changes that stress combined with aging bring. The procedure involves tightening and firming of facial and neck skin to eliminate wrinkles and sagging. If you are considering having "work done" it's a good idea to see a surgeon early in the process.

Is a facelift in your future?

The first step in making a decision about going through this procedure is to discuss whether you are a good candidate for facial surgery. Your general health and attitude play a part in this as well as your mental attitude. The surgeon should discuss your expectations and let you know how realistic they are. Many offices have computer programs that can show you what you will look like after the plastic surgery heals.

Cost is another issue for many. Elective surgery is often not covered by insurance. Unless you can make a very good case that plastic surgery is vital for your health, you'll be on your own when it comes to payments. The good thing is that most surgeons will work out a payment plan to allow you to finance any work you have done. Your ability to afford the surgery may determine how much surgery you have. Your doctor may suggest just doing some work on the eyes or another problem area... and you may be very satisfied with the results.

A "facelift" is really many surgeries

There are actually several procedures that make up what most people think of as a facelift.

These may include a lipectomy to eliminate a double chin; an eyelid blepharoplasty to eliminate drooping and bags under the eyes; injections of collagen or Botox for deep creases or frown lines in the forehead; rhinoplasty or nose reshaping ("nose job"); and/or a chemical peel to revitalize the skin and eliminate fine lines.

Typical costs associated with cosmetic surgery and facelifts

Facelift $6,408
Chin augmentation $2,259
Forehead lift $3,099
Lip augmentation (other than injectable materials) $1,827
Lipoplasty $2,773
Otoplasty (cosmetic ear surgery) $2,987
Rhinoplasty (nose reshaping) $4,246

Botulinum Toxin Type A (Botox, Dysport) $328
Calcium hydroxylapatite (Radiesse) $654
Hyaluronic Acid (including Hylaform, Juvederm, Perlane/Restylane) $560
Poly-L-Latic Acid (Sculptra) $847

Skin Rejuvenation:
Chemical Peel $588
Dermabrasion $1,555

source: American Society of for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

Facelift risks

facelift incisions
Typical incision locations for facelifts include
the hairline, around the ear and under the chin.

Most facelift procedures are simple enough to do as an out patient or even at your doctor's office.

Although the surgery may not be life threatening, no surgical procedure is risk free. Some patients have a bad reaction to the anesthesia used, and experience other complications which may arise during surgery.

Reputable, board certified surgeons will make sure that you can go through the surgery with minimum risk, and will advise you if you are not a good candidate for surgery.

In addition, top surgeons will be prepared to deal with any unexpected complications that may appear during the surgery. Excess bleeding, an adverse drug reaction, or other problems can be handled by professionals. It may cost a bit more money to use a board certified plastic surgeon, but the higher costs are usually well worth it in terms of minimizing risk inherent in any type of surgery, including post-operative infection.

...and benefits

Getting a facelift means smoothing out wrinkles and removing tired looking bags, shadows and fine lines around your eyes. That saggy chin or creases that don't fade can be corrected. Your mirror can show the toned face that matches the way you feel... youthful and energetic.

Will a face life change your life? Probably not, but the renewed confidence and self esteem that you gain may turn heads. Feeling good about yourself and about the way you look can bring about just the changes you have been hoping for... or open the door to a whole new set of expectations.

More about facelifts around the Web

Check out more information on the topic from experts providing tips and advice on what to expect, facts on risks and recovery time, along with photos, illustrations and FAQ's to answer most of the questions you may have if you're considering a facelift....

Face Lift (Rhytidectomy) Surgery Information
- Here's a good introduction to the topic with facts and checklists on preparation, procedures, estimated costs and fees, recovery, risks and benefits, and a gallery of before-and-after pictures.

AAFPRS - Procedures - Browse for information on facelifts including a 12-part online brochure on types of procedures, FAQ and charts, before-and-after photo gallery, glossary of terms, consumer guide ordering info.

Rhytidectomy - Facelift Surgery - Facts on who makes the best candidates for a facelift, along with information on risks and benefits, planning and preparing for surgery, types of anesthesia, recovery and post-operative care.

Facelift Information and Photos - Read a discussion on risks and benefits, a description of the initial consultation and types of procedures, facts on recovery, estimated costs, related story articles, and a database of facelift specialists searchable by procedure or U.S. state.

Facelift Procedures - Here's an illustrated fact sheet on who makes a good candidate for a facelift, initial evaluation, information on the location of incisions, typical risks and benefits, recovery and post-operative care.

This information is intended as reference and not as medical advice.
All treatment decisions should be made by medical professionals.

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