When Facelifts Go Wrong

Many of us can spend hours staring at those ghastly images of notoriously butchered celebs (Michael Jackson, Renée Zellweger) who had facelift surgery fails and mutated into unrecognizable, feline-looking aliens (Jocelyn Wildenstein). There are also many Botox fails where women come out looking like they have a pair of balloons plastered to their faces where a pair of normal lips once lived (Donatella Versace). However, going under the knife can cause even more damage (we’ve all heard the horror stories of fatal blood clots or heart attacks). Here are some of the potential side effects of facial reconstruction, some of which aren’t even the doctor’s fault.

General Side Effects
The possible side effects of a facelift are relatively the same as for any major surgical procedure and here are a myriad of factors that will affect your healing time. Since an ever-growing number of people are opting for plastic surgery, it’s important to know that there are hitches unique to having a facelift as opposed to other surgeries, for example, an increase in complications after a facelift among smokers. Here are other potential side effects:

Post-operation, most patients feel minor pain, but pain medication subscribed by the surgeon should alleviate this. Report severe or sudden pain to your physician straightaway. Some numbness of the skin is also normal, but it should pass within days.

Swelling & Bruising
Right after surgery, don’t be surprised or discouraged at the amount of swelling and bruising (especially around the eyes) you’ll see. It’s simply the body’s reaction to an injury and will subside as the body heals — be it after a days or weeks. Bruising may take months to heal fully.

Scars usually stay pink for several months before turning a less perceptible white. While, most of the scarring left is hidden above the hairline, the exact same procedure done by a surgeon on two different patients can leave one without a fine scar and the other with bad scars (especially those with a darker complexion and high skin pigmentation).

Potential Complications
Post facelift surgery problems can occur. Some may be temporary, such as blood or fluid retention under the skin, crusting of face lift scars, and numbness. The risk of infection or even nerve damage is low, but exists. Neck lifts and brow lifts are less complicated and typically involve less pain and lower risk than a complete facelift. Your cosmetic surgeon should discuss all possible complications and risks with you before the procedure is performed. Here are the most common postoperative facelift complications:
Reaction to the anesthesia: Some patients suffer nausea and general sickness after receiving anesthesia; this is a short-lasting side effect and typically lessens after a few hours.

Infection: This usually occurs in a specific area and symptoms are swelling, sensitivity, redness, and localized heat. Unless severe, an infection can be treated with antibiotics.
Hematoma (blood clot): If you have bleeding under the skin, a hematoma can develop, leaving the area painfully swollen. Surgery is required to stop the flow and remove the blood.
Bleeding: Although light, postoperative bleeding is normal, uncontrolled bleeding is dangerous and can cause agonizing hematomas.

Facelift-Specific Risks
Injury to the nerves that control facial muscles — usually temporary.
Problems with skin healing — common for patients who smoke.
Crust on the incisions — temporary.
Numbness or tingling around the incision areas — should be temporary.
Skin or hair loss — rare.
Skin discoloration —a rare condition that can continue for months.

Heavy smokers have low oxygen content in the blood, so when they have any type of cosmetic surgery that requires a pull or lift, like a facelift, and you don’t tell your surgeon, you can suffer from poor wound healing, wound separation, or the skin can become necrotic, turning black and dying.
Dietary supplements can affect the way your body reacts to anesthesia and a bad drug/supplement interaction can kill you. Diet pills and over-the-counter stimulants like metabolic enhancers and fat burners make the heart muscle irritable and can cause cardiac arrest. Be sure to inform you doctor before.
Men may find they will need to shave behind the neck or ears on areas of beard-bearing skin that have been moved.
There are risks of “fixing” a bad plastic surgery job, like a too tight facelift from a doctor who was offering a great deal. The cost of fixing a bad procedure far exceeds paying a legitimate doctor’s fee the first time around. The second surgery will also likely be much more painful and the procedure assumes a new level of risk as it means re-operating on scarred tissue with poor blood supply — it basically becomes advanced reconstructive surgery, which explains the price jump.

Bottom Line
Check the doctor’s credentials closely and make sure they are certified, for example by the American Medical Association (in the U.S.)! Don’t let your dentist or gynecologist do Botox, or wrinkle, or other aesthetic treatments on you either. The same goes for medical spas and clinics that give patients local anesthesia rather than general anesthesia and end up overdosing the patients because the pain gets too intense. This can cause death. If you’re going for the Jessica Simpson overhaul make sure you have your facts in check and a stellar surgeon doing the job. Alternatively, opt for an extremely safe, non-invasive, home-use facelift device such as Sensica’s Sensilift that uses a unique system of Dynamic RF anti-aging technology to reach wider and deeper skin layers simultaneously to reduces wrinkles, improve the skin’s appearance and texture, and provide a feeling of firmness, tightening it all up!

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