Face Lift Surgery Risks

No surgery is completely without risks. Although a face lift is quite safe, there is still the possibility that complications can occur.

General Face Lift Risks

As with any surgery, there is the risk of infection or excessive bleeding associated with rhytidectomy. Although extremely rare, it is possible to bleed postoperatively. Another possibility is hematoma (a pocket of blood), seroma (a pocket of watery fluid) or thrombosis (formation of a blood clot). You can also have a poor reaction to the anesthetics being used.

Specific Rhytidectomy Risks

There are a few risks to consider that are specific to a rhytidectomy. Many people have a temporary loss of sensitivity in the skin near the incisions. This loss can be permanent in rare instances. There is also a risk of excessive scarring.

Although it is very rare, nerve injury can occur. There are many nerves that serve the face, and injury to one of them can result in some facial paralysis. Facial weakness or paralysis can also be caused by the death (necrosis) of muscle tissue or trauma to the muscle.

Because skin is lifted off its usual site and rearranged, its blood supply can be interrupted, leading to areas of necrosis or tissue death. The dead skin will slough off, but may have to be removed.

Many of the incisions used in a face lift are placed behind the hairline. After the procedure is completed, the scalp may be pulled too tight, leading to areas of baldness, or alopecia. Alopecia after a face lift may also include loss of the eyelashes and eyebrows. This is extremely rare.

Although no face is perfectly symmetrical, a face lift can result in a visible difference between the two sides of the face. This may require further surgery to correct.

Dissatisfaction with Face Lift Surgery

Although it cannot quite be called a surgical complication, you may be dissatisfied with the results of your face lift. This can be avoided by discussing in detail how you want to look with your surgeon. He or she will go over before-and-after face lift photos so that you have a good idea of what to expect and will not have unrealistic expectations.

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