A Facelift (Rhytidectomy) is a surgical procedure designed to smooth and firm the skin, providing a fresh, youthful appearance. Throughout one’s life, the sun’s radiation, stress, gravity, and other factors cause the skin to sag and fit more loosely. Areas of the face and neck, in particular around the jaw line, are especially prone to the aging process. Though these changes are gradual, wrinkles and other signs of aging can make individuals “feel older” than they really are.
Surgery for a facelift involves the tightening and realignment of facial and neck tissue, and in some instances the removal of excess fat deposits. A facelift is often performed in combination with other facial cosmetic procedures and can be performed any time signs of aging begin to appear. Patients are generally in their forties or older when they elect to undergo this procedure.
Reasons for Considering a Facelift:
Sagging skin, muscles, and fat in the face and neck.
Excess skin and fat on the neck.
Sagging jaw line.
Crease lines along the nose, mouth, and chin.
The standard procedure for a facelift commonly involves making small incisions just inside the hairline, following the contour in front of the ear, and continuing under the earlobe to the backside of the ear and to the scalp. Tissue and fat deposits are separated, the skin is lifted and re-draped, and any excess skin is removed. If the neck line requires attention, an additional incision is made under the chin and the same procedure is again followed. Tiny buried sutures are used to close the incisions and to reduce any chance of unsightly scarring. Metal clips or staples may also be utilized at the hairline.
A face lift may take several hours or longer depending on whether other cosmetic procedures are performed at the same time. There are several different facelift techniques that can be employed depending on the agreed goals. Patients can discuss with their physician which method is best for them when they come in for their consultation.
Immediately after surgery, the face is fitted with bandages in order to compress the tissues and reduce swelling. Most sutures are buried, dissolve over time and do not require removal. Generally, post-operative instructions call for plenty of rest and limited movement in order to speed up the healing and recovery process. Elevation of the head is critical to enhance and accelerate healing. Patients sometimes report some minor pain associated with surgery. Any discomfort can be treated effectively with oral medication. While complications are rare, patients can minimize potential problems by carefully following the directions given after the procedure.