A facelift is a very popular plastic surgery procedure that can make an enormous difference in the way you look and feel. As we get older, our skin gets thinner and loses some of its natural elasticity.
The effects of gravity, sun exposure, and the natural aging process result in a “sagging” appearance of the face. You may start to notice that your eyes and cheeks seem “droopy,” and your neck and jawline seem less defined. These changes are accompanied by the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
While non-surgical procedures may help with some of the early changes, a facelift offers the most significant and long-lasting results. Over the years, a variety of different facelift techniques have been introduced, each with its own unique set of benefits and drawbacks.
It is extremely important to pick an experienced surgeon who is very familiar with the procedure and is able to offer you a surgery that makes you look more youthful without looking unnatural or “overdone.” Good communication with your surgeon is essential! During your consult, your surgeon should take the time to sit with you, discuss your concerns and objectives, and formulate a safe, realistic surgical plan.
Dr. Thomas is well-known for the “natural” appearance of his facelifts. Patients certainly look more youthful and well-rested following their surgery, but they do not look “fake” or distorted.
How different you look will depend on many things, including how much of a change you are looking for, as well as your age, skin type, and bone structure. In general, the older a patient is, the more dramatic the change. In all cases, the goal of surgery is to help you look as young as possible without looking “surgical”. In addition to planning a natural-appearing result, Dr. Thomas “hides” his incisions in a way so that they are nearly invisible when they heal.
In general, we think of facelifts as “resetting the clock” on aging. By this, we mean that a facelift may make you look 15 years younger, but you will continue to age. After your surgery, you will always look younger than you would have if you hadn’t had a facelift.
Some people do opt for a revision or “touch-up” years after their first procedure. In patients who get 2 or more facelifts, the average length of time between their initial facelift and their second procedure is about 10 years.
Dr. Thomas performs facelifts in downtown Chicago and has operating privileges at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and at 900 North Michigan Surgical Center. In either location, the procedure will usually be performed under general anesthesia. Depending on the extent of the surgery and whether or not you are also having additional procedures (such as a blepharoplasty or chemical peel), you may spend between 3 and 5 hours in the operating room.
After the surgery, you will spend an hour or two in the post-operative area as you recover from general anesthesia.
The day of surgery, most patients go home or to a hotel, but a few patients prefer to stay overnight in the hospital. If you go home or to a hotel, we ask that you have a friend or family member stay with you. We will prescribe medications to help control any pain, as well as antibiotics to prevent an infection. You will have a dressing around the side of your face and your neck for the first night that helps the skin start to heal in the correct position.
The day after your surgery, we will see you in the clinic, take your dressing down, and clean all of your incisions. Dr. Thomas and his team will go through all of the post-operative care and cleaning with you and make sure that you are comfortable with your care before you leave.
Approximately 1 week after surgery, we will see you again in the clinic to remove your sutures and check your incisions. Generally, you should only do light activities for the first 7-10 days after your surgery. After that time, you may gradually increase your activity level. Most patients wait about 10-14 days before returning to social activities to allow the majority of the swelling and bruising to resolve.
A complete set of post-operative instructions, including what to expect after your surgery, may be found here: