A growing number of seniors are having facelift surgery due to their more active social life compared with their predecessors’ and their propensity to work for longer years. However, increasing age is often linked to hypertension or elevated blood pressure, which could lead to higher risk of complications such as hematoma or pooling of excess blood under the skin.
Medical literature has suggested that the incidence of hematoma after facelift surgery is around 9 percent, with men to be at more risk than women because of their more vascularized skin (more blood supply).
Dr. Tarick Smaili, one of the leading Beverly Hills plastic surgeons, says one’s chronological age is not a contraindication to elective surgery such as facelift, although hypertension and other medical conditions must be “well under control” to make the procedure reasonably safe.
If the patient has hypertension, Dr. Smaili may recommend weight loss and/or lifestyle changes—i.e., healthier diet low in sodium and more physical activities. Certain medications can also normalize blood pressure prior to surgery, he adds.
Foods rich in potassium, fiber, and magnesium are known to help control blood pressure. A good rule of thumb, according to Dr. Smaili, is to stick to “whole” foods such as fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, vegetables, poultry, and lean meats.
To further make facelift surgery a safe endeavor, Dr. Smaili says he may ask his patients to get medical clearance from their general physician and/or specialist.
Normal blood pressure is important prior to facelift surgery or any type of elective surgical procedures to minimize risk of hematoma, which is linked to a wide range of complications such as infection, edema or collection of excess fluids within the cavities or tissue, persistent swelling, and poor wound healing.
To further minimize hematoma risk, Dr. Smaili highlights the importance of preventive and responsive medicines for hypertension in which the goal is to keep one’s blood pressure under 140mmHg at the time of surgery wherein other vital signs are monitored as well.
Board-certified plastic surgeons, Dr. Smaili says, always work with licensed anesthesiologist who will monitor the patient’s vital signs such as the heart rate, breathing pattern, and blood pressure. If sudden or unusual changes occur during facelift surgery, he or she will give fast-acting medications through an IV tube to avoid complications.
After surgery, Dr. Smaili warns that strenuous activities and high level of stress should be avoided for at least three weeks because they are known to spike up blood pressure and lead to higher risk of hematoma, persistent swelling, and poor healing.