Studies have proven that the results of face lift surgery can last for almost a decade. This can be attributed to the improvements in techniques and technology to achieve the best results.
However, according to an article in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, secondary face lifts require extreme precision.
There is nothing wrong with getting a secondary face lift, especially when you want it for the purpose of repairing previous results or to restore the results that were achieved during the original procedure. The reasons for having another one done would affect how the planning will go about with you and your cosmetic surgeon.
Just like other cosmetic surgeries, a face lift is a complex procedure requiring extensive medical knowledge, good foresight, an eye for detail and creative skill. But when it comes to secondary facelifts, the level of complexity is said to be much greater.
The article from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) explains about the demands specific to the procedure both technical and experiential in nature.
According to Dr. McNemar, “The challenge with secondary facelift procedure is working with the results of a previous surgery. Depending on the techniques used by the previous surgeon, your approach will vary.”
Factors that affect the complexity of secondary facelift procedure include the inherent sophistication of the procedure and the changes that occur to the facial anatomy of the patient brought about by the primary procedure.
With that concern, it is important that the patient choose a good surgeon. He should know how to consider the extent of superficial and underlying scar tissue. In some cases facelift can result in a gaunt appearance due to volume loss. For this problem, a surgeon may only need to restore volume by fat grafting or collagen injections.
In the study, the authors noted 5 R’s which may not necessarily be applicable to every patient, but they will serve as guidelines for success with secondary facelift surgery. This include resect, release, reshape, refill and redrape.
There is no particular process that would address all the concerns of the patient, but rather it takes careful insight to the unique concerns of each patient. This would mean that there should be an open system of communication between the surgeon and his patient. The surgeon should also be honest with the patient and provide him with a range of choices, resources and information in order to fully understand what is involved and what can be expected in the procedure.
In addition to that, the surgeon should also be very particular when explaining aftercare instructions as well as support. But more importantly he should establish reasonable expectations with his patients.
According to the recently published study by Beale et. al., secondary facelift surgery is a safe and effective procedure for continued surgical facial rejuvenation. Furthermore, the rate of complication is not significantly different form a primary procedure.
The study also showed that there is a 2% rate for facial nerve injury, which is similar to the numbers published for primary face lifts. But rates also go as high as 11% with secondary facelifts which incorporates sub-SMAS dissection.