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How to Prepare

Once you've decided to have surgery, preoperative pictures will be taken. Aspirin and vitamin E must be discontinued a week or so prior to the procedure because they may contribute to bleeding. If you smoke, be forewarned. Some doctors will not do facelifts on smokers, and nearly all encourage quitting before this surgery. Three weeks or more is best. Areas of skin death are quite possible if you are a smoker — even if you quit.

After a history, physical exam, and blood tests are taken, patients are often instructed to clean the face and hair with an antibacterial soap and shampoo before surgery. This will be done again in the procedure room. Antibiotics are often started the day before the procedure. Proper selection of the right patient is very important for facelifts, and patients with prominent facial bones are ideal candidates. A combination of several surgical procedures may be most beneficial, and these may include liposuction, fat transfer, browlift, blepharoplasty, laser, or chin and cheek implants, depending on the patient's needs. Some doctors do facelifts for younger patients these days because they believe the results last longer when the skin is more elastic. Recovery is dependent on how much surgery is done. For the most minimal surgeries, some people are "back in action" within a few days. If a complex procedure is performed, involving stitching, stretching and/or cutting of the muscles and other structures under the skin, two weeks is a minimal expected recovery.

There will be a long, running stitch and/or staples to close the surgery. Staples are often used above the hair line. The incision can generally be covered by your hair. Many patients stay at home for a week, sometimes two or more, until their faces begin to look normal again, while others may have little swelling. If you bruise much, your recovery will be at least several weeks.

Finally, arrange for someone to accompany you to the doctor's office, because you'll need someone to drive you home while the medications are still in your system.

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