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A face lift for the second or third time may be as safe as the first

November 18, 2002|Dianne Partie Lange

A face lift can push back the hands of the clock, but it obviously doesn't stop the aging process.

Eventually, the question arises: Is it safe to do it again? A new study concludes that having a second or third procedure is no less safe than the first.

A study presented earlier this month at the annual meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons looked at 113 cosmetic surgery patients, ages 40 to 81, who had second and third face lifts. Only two patients had complications. One developed an infection in the incision, and another, who had traveled from the West Coast, developed a blood clot after the flight home.

A repeat face lift does demand some modifications to avoid complications, says Dr. Alan Matarasso, a New York City plastic surgeon who presented the study. For instance, the skin and underlying tissues are manipulated and moved less, less fat is removed and care must be taken not to move an already-high hairline even higher.

Special precautions may be needed for an older patient, he says. Those with hypertension, for example, must have their blood pressure under control before surgery.

The 2% complication rate for second and third procedures reported in the study is comparable to that of a first face lift, Matarasso says.

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Dianne Partie Lange

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