Revision Facelift: Do I Need One?

We’ve all been exposed to bad facelifts in the media or heard stories from people we know. But not to worry if you’ve gone under the knife and aren’t totally satisfied. There are options when this happens. Though a facelift is meant to improve your looks, every once in a while a patient isn’t happy with the results.

So, what do you do if you feel you are a victim of a facelift gone wrong?

First, realize that you must wait until you are fully healed to determine this. It’s normal to experience prolonged swelling, redness and/or bruising while your face heals completely. It’s very possible that the displeasing looks of your plastic surgery are simply part of the healing process. You need to give yourself proper time in facelift recovery for your new look to settle, which can take months to be fully realized.

Revision plastic surgeries are only recommended after a year long waiting period from the time of the previous surgery. Before you jump right into a revision, try your best to understand why your previous facelift didn’t turn out the way you anticipated.

Signs of a Facelift Gone Wrong

If you’ve made it through the swelling and bruising recovery stages, waited the full year to heal, and you’re still unhappy with the results, you may be wondering if you actually need a revision facelift. There are some certain characteristics of a facelift which has gone wrong that you can look for to be sure:

  • excessively stretched skin
  • brow line too high
  • altered hairline
  • misshapen eyes
  • rotated ears
  • numbness or loss of facial muscle function

One of the most telling signs of a bad facelift is excessively stretched skin, where the skin looks like it is being pulled too tightly across the area of the face. If a facelift patient’s skin actually looks as though it is stretching, it’s because it is.
When the brow line is brought up too high, it causes the appearance of constant surprise. Be sure to discuss the location of your brow line with your surgeon so you know what to expect in the outcome.

An altered hairline might also be a sign of a bad facelift. When the patient’s hairline recedes much further than before surgery, the incision has been made too far back on the scalp. The incision should be made at the hairline to help prevent altering the hairline.

Misshapen eyes is another telling sign of a facelift in need of revision. An overly aggressive attempt to rejuvenate the skin around the eyes can cause pulling on either the upper or lower eyelid. When this occurs, the eyes appear unnaturally almond shaped. Issues stemming from this include discomfort blinking where you can see excessive white showing below the iris. This also creates further eye problems such as dry eyes and problems tearing.

Unnaturally rotated ears indicates excessive tension being placed on the skin around the ears. This can be avoided when the altered skin is anchored to a deeper muscle or even bone rather than other skin around the ear. Your ears should always look normal after a facelift.

One of the most unfortunate symptoms of a facelift gone wrong can be nerve damage to parts of the face, resulting in abnormal facial motions, numbness or even the complete inability to make facial movements. If you notice any numbness or unusual facial movements, contact your doctor immediately.

Post Facelift Symptoms Requiring Immediate Medical Attention

Certain serious symptoms can occur as a result of a facelift. In addition to numbness of unusual facial movements previously discussed, others include redness and excessive discharge at the site of the incisions, vomiting, calf tenderness or unusual swelling in the lower leg (indicating the beginning signs of a blood clot), difficulty breathing, unusual heartbeats, and excessive bleeding. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms. These will normally be realized more quickly after your facelift.

Whose Fault Was This?

Your need for a revision facelift might be the due to a careless or unqualified plastic surgeon. However, you might also consider your expectations; were they unrealistic? Remember the importance of understanding where to set your expectations for the final results of your facelift.

In fact, sometimes unrealistic expectations lead down an endless road of revisions trying to “correct” what were believed to be mistakes. Consider seeing a psychiatrist prior to a revision surgery to make sure that the problems you are noticing are not imagined.

What Do I Do Now?

Contact your surgeon to explore your options. Even the best surgeons run into complications that might cause a facelift to have results slightly different than planned. In most cases, your surgeon can offer some words of comfort and provide a clear explanation as to why you might be unhappy with the results.

If you believe that the problems with your facelift are the fault of your surgeon, do not be afraid to seek out someone new for the revision. You can look through our directories to find a board certified plastic surgeon. Be sure to review facelift before and after photos to gauge a surgeon’s previous works, and seek out those who specialize in revisions. You will want a surgeon trusted and confident in correcting these types of mistakes.

If you think you need a revision facelift, you are not alone. Find other women going through or who have gone through similar experiences on the FaceForum discussion board. Or share your personal experience through our visitor stories.

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