Risks & Side Effects of Facelifts


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When you are considering having a rhytidectomy, you should take into account that there are some small risks involved. If you are careful when choosing a surgeon you are more likely to get good results, but all surgery comes with risks, and sometimes side effects. There is no need to let this put you off, if you are informed and prepared, most problems can be overcome with time, patience and care.

The main risks and side effects of this surgery include:

  • Infection - There is a chance the area may become infected, though you will be given antibiotics to prevent this. If infection does occur, you should see your GP for advice and treatment.
  • Bleeding - You may notice a small amount of bleeding in the area that has been operated on. This generally isn’t a problem unless you are concerned that there is more blood than there should be. Again, you should seek medical assistance if it does not stop within a short time.
  • Discolouration of the Face - Old blood may clot under the surface of the skin, giving a bruised or discoloured appearance. It will go away on its own, but massaging the area may speed up the process.
  • Swelling and bruising - Your skin is bound to look bruised and swollen to some degree after a rhytidectomy. Do not worry, this will go down and your face will look good as new.
  • Scarring - You may notice a scar once the wound has healed. It should fade with time, and you can buy creams and oils designed to improve the appearance of scars.
  • Slow healing - You will recover more quickly from the operation if you are healthy beforehand. Try not to worry though if you do not heal as quickly as you expected, just carry on taking any medicines given to you, and doing facial exercises if instructed.
  • Loss of feeling - It is likely the skin may feel numb after surgery, do not worry, this is because the anaesthetic is doing its job! It should wear off after a few days. Alternatively, nerve damage may cause numbness, but the nerves will usually repair themselves within six months.
  • Side effects of the anaesthetic - you may feel nauseous for a while, but you will be given anti nausea medicine to counteract the uncomfortable feeling. Anaesthetic may also take a while to leave your system, but it will eventually.
  • You may notice small veins in your face (capillaries) are broken, if you are unhappy with their appearance, you can have them removed.

 A facelift is usually a fairly simple operation to recover from, as it is less invasive than say, heart surgery. That does not mean your concerns are unimportant though, if you are worried about the risks of the surgery, your surgeon will be happy to help you. If you know you are more susceptible to any of the above risks, it may be helpful to inform your surgeon. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, after all, you wear your face every day; you want it to know it will look good after your surgery!


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