What sort of healing complications can occur that would negatively impact the facelift result?
The most common complication of a facelift is a hematoma, which is bleeding under the skin flap in the first 2 days or so after surgery. A hematoma is a serious issue that needs to be addressed urgently. Usually, if this is recognized and treated early, the blood clots can be removed and the bleeding stopped, and patients will heal normally with a good result. However, if this goes untreated, the skin may be compromised and possible be lost with a resulting scar. To avoid this complication, I place a pressure bandage the first night after surgery and see all my patients personally to remove the dressing and inspect the skin. Avoiding medications that cause increased bleeding and thin the blood is also important in the early post operative period. These medications include Motrin, Advil, Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Vitamin E, fish oil, Coumadin and Plavix to name a few. Another potential healing complication is skin loss due to poor blood supply after the surgery. This is usually only an issue in patients that are heavy smoker, patients with collagen vascular disease or diabetes. These underlying conditions limit the blood circulation to the skin and need to be thoroughly discussed prior to proceeding with a facelift surgery.
-Dr. Jessica Kulak