Learning more about getting a facelift

In order to address the wrinkles and facial sagging that are a normal part of aging, an extensive procedure called a rhytidectomy (a “facelift” in common vernacular) offers the greatest degree of overall improvement. During the surgery, the facial skin is lifted away allowing the surgeon to tighten the underlying tissues. The procedure is most often performed under a general anesthetic although in some instances an IV sedative and a local are used. A rhytidectomy requires several hours to complete, so most patients prefer to be asleep. It is not unusual for the surgery to result in a night’s stay in a hospital.

The surgeon makes an incision that begins at the temple and encircles the ear allowing for the skin to be lifted. Some tissue and fat may be removed before the skin is repositioned and the incision closed. Because the incision is placed at the hairline or in areas of natural creasing, there are no visible scars. Patients should expect to be heavily bandaged for one to two days following the surgery and to have a drainage tube that is normally positioned behind the ear. The tube will also be removed in one to two days and the stitches taken out in five to ten days.

Although there is little pain involved, patients are often taken aback by the degree of swelling and bruising that will occur. By keeping the head elevated and using cold compresses this will begin to diminish fairly rapidly with most people returning to their normal routine in two to three weeks. It is important not to smoke and to avoid being near those who are smoking for as much as a month after the procedure. Smoke can cause tissue death, worsen scarring, and seriously delay healing.

A numb, stiff feeling is normal and may continue for weeks or months following the rhytidectomy. A rough and dry texture to the skin is also to be expected. As the skin settles into place and given the proper, doctor-recommended care, these issues resolve themselves in time. Men should be prepared to have to shave in areas that previously did not require attention.

A realistic expectation of the potential benefits of a face lift should be cultivated from the earliest consideration of the procedure. The surgery can result in a more youthful appearance and can reduce evidence of aging to a large degree. It will not, however, eliminate all facial wrinkles in the areas adjacent to the eyes, nose, and lips. Obviously some surgeons are more skilled than others at achieving outstanding results and it is important to carefully select a well-qualified surgeon and to consult extensively with that individual before moving forward with the procedure.

Some complications or post-surgical issues that may arise with a rhytidectomy include bleeding under the skin, reactions to the anesthetic used, and infection. It is possible for facial nerves to be damaged, for tissue loss to occur, for scarring to be more extensive than desired, and even for blood clots to form. Hair loss is also a possibility. Candidates for a rhytidectomy should gain a clear picture of the likelihood of any complications in consultation with their surgeon and in relation to the overall condition of their health.

Insurance does not cover the costs of the procedure and associated fees. The surgery itself averages around $6,000, but can run as high as $12,000 with approximately $4,000 to $6,000 in associated fees.

Laser Tattoo Removal – Treatment Cost and Options

Anyone with a tattoo has probably sensed remourse at one time or another, wishing that their ink artwork could be erased. Well, certainly not everyone has had that feeling. People have been receiving tattoos for thousands of years, and the practice will no doubt continue indefinitely. For as many reasons why people get tattoos, there are probably as many reasons why people want to have a tattoo removed. For Angelina Jolie, getting the tattoo “Billy Bob” on her left deltoid probably seemed like a perfectly rational idea at the time.

The Tattooing Process
If we examine how tattoos are applied, we can appreciate why they can be difficult, painful, and expensive to remove. Some “tats”, as they are sometimes called, resist even the most aggressive removal methods. Regardless of the technique, various pigments are traumatically forced into the dermal layer of the skin by jabbing a sharp, pigment-laden object into and consequently breaking the skin. As the wound heals, the pigment remains in the living skin layer. In modern, hygienic tattoo parlors, a motorized oscillating device with multiple needles closely spaced, prick the skin and deposit pigment 100 cycles per second. Receiving a tattoo using a modern tattooing machine deposits ink more permanently than tattooing by hand, using a single needle or piece of sharpened bone. Amateur tattoos are generally easier to remove than professionally applied ones.

Removal of Unwanted “Tats”
The lasers that are now used for tattoo removal direct their energy in specific wavelengths at specific dye colors. The treatments are less painful, and more successful and require less recovery time. Blue and black ink are the easiest colors to remove, Red, orange, and green are a bit more persistent. The laser causes the pigment molecule to split into multiple smaller fragments that will transit out of the skin. In some instances, other modalities are used to remove more resistant artwork. So many people are now turning to laser clinics and doctors to remove unwanted tattoos.

Cost and Duration of Treatment
Removal of ink artwork usually involves multiple visits to the clinician as the treatment must proceed in stages. Laser treatments on a particular area last several minutes each and need to be scheduled in sessions of 6-10 treatments separated by 3-4 weeks. There is usually discomfort associated with laser treatment, especially if the pigment is deeper and the tat is newer. The other “Ouch” that comes with tattoo removal is the cost, which can range from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the size.

Ink Removal Process
In a typical tattoo removal session, the clinician will prepare the area to be treated by cleansing and then anesthetizing a small section by applying a topical gel or cream that penetrates the skin to reach and numb nerve endings. The client will be instructed to take an oral analgesic, such as Tylenol ahead of time to minimize the discomfort of the procedure. The laser light penetrates the skin and selectively fractures the pigment particles allowing the smaller fragments to be absorbed by the immune system. The wave length of the laser is tuned especially to affect particular pigment colors. Normal skin is unaffected by the laser beam.

What to Expect During and After Laser Therapy
During the treatment, clients usually sense a pinpoint stinging sensation at the point of laser focus. To finish, the area of treatment will be covered with antibiotic ointment and a sterile bandage. Care at home should include cleaning the area and replacing the bandage daily. Occasionally a client will experience complications, such as increased pigmentation of the skin, bleaching of the skin color, scarring, and infection. These results can be minimized with fastidious skin care and protecting the area from trauma and sunlight. After 3-4 weeks, allowing time for the immune system to clear the pigment fragments created by the last treatment, the client will return to repeat the process. Laser treatments do not always completely remove a tattoo and other modalities can be tried. Dermabrasion and surgical excision are often used as adjunctive treatment. Since tattoo removal is usually more painful and much more expensive that getting a tattoo, make sure that name you plan to have indelibly placed on your left pec is your one true love.