The facelift, also known as rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure used to improve the signs of aging in the facial skin. A facelift can tighten sagging facial skin, remove deep wrinkles, lines and creases, eliminate fatty deposits along the jawline (jowls), and also firm the neck area. Facial skin will appear younger, firmer and smoother.
Over the years, the facelift procedure has changed from simple skin lifting that left patients looking like their faces were being pulled back, to more complex deeper plane lifting techniques that lift and reposition the facial features in a much more natural looking way. While loose skin can be tightened by a facelift, the texture of the skin will not be changed by a facelift. If you have sun damage, wrinkles around the mouth, irregularities in skin color, acne scars, and/or age spots, you may want to also consider skin-resurfacing procedures in combination with a facelift to improve the skin. The following conditions could indicate that facelift surgery is right for you:
• Facial skin is loose and sagging
• The creases below the lower eyelids and around the lower lip and chin are becoming deeper
• A deep line, or fold, running from the corner of your nose to the corner of your mouth.
• Jowls or loss of a well-defined jawline
• Loose skin, wrinkles, or Vertical bands of skin in your neck
• Excess fat in the neck A facelift can be done in combination with other facial cosmetic procedures, such as a brow lift or eyelid surgery to give a more balanced, natural rejuvenation.
Depending on the patient’s individual goals and needs the facelift procedure varies quite a bit. Today, many different techniques exist with outcomes that are consistently reliable and durable. A traditional facelift procedure usually involves the surgeon making an incision in your hairline starting at your temples, continuing down and around the front of your ears and ending behind your ears and may extend in your scalp. An incision might be made under your chin to improve the appearance of your neck. A limited-incision facelift may also be an option for younger patients whom have early aging changes. It provides the benefits of a traditional facelift with fewer incisions and faster healing. Your surgeon will make short incisions in your hairline starting at your temples and continuing down and around the front of your ears. Incisions might also be made in the lower eyelids or under the upper lip. Ask our surgeon if you are a candidate for this procedure. Once the incisions are made, various degrees of undermining of the skin are performed, and the deeper layers of the face are ‘lifted’. Muscle tightening as well as liposuction of the neck and jowls may be performed. The skin will then be draped over the new contours and the excess skin will be trimmed away creating a more youthful and natural appearance.
What to expect:
Depending on the complexity of the facelift, a facelift procedure can last three to seven hours. After a facelift, your head will be wrapped loosely in bandages that provide gentle pressure to minimize swelling and bruising. Following surgery a small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin behind your ear to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect. Any bandages and drain tubes will usually be removed in one or two days, and most stitches are removed during visits within within a week of the surgery. Once the dressings and drains are removed, puffiness and discoloration may be more pronounced in some portions of the face than others. Any unevenness or temporary asymmetry caused by this variance in swelling and bruising-it is normal. A majority of swelling usually occurs in the first 24 to 48 hours and might distort your facial features or stiffen your facial movements. Keeping your head elevated during rest is extremely helpful in reducing the initial post-operative swelling. You can expect the majority of the bruising and swelling to subside after about two weeks. You may also experience numbness to the face, which usually resolves itself within several months. Medication will be prescribed to help control the pain as needed. Straining, bending, and lifting should be avoided during the early post-operative period to reduce exposing your incisions to excessive pressure or motion. This includes heavy work, aerobics, running or weight lifting, and sex for at least 2-3 weeks. Walking and mild stretching are fine. Additionally, do not wear clothing that needs to be placed over your head. Generally, scars from the incisions are hidden within your hair and in concealed skin creases. Scars will remain pink for a few months and will fade over the next 6 months. Concealing makeup is usually permitted after the first week. Since the healing process is gradual, you should expect to wait at least several months to realize the full benefits of the facelift. Although a facelift will last for many years, you will continue to age at a normal rate and your facial skin may begin to droop again. However, You will continue to look younger than you would if the facelift procedure had not been performed.
Each year thousands of women and men undergo successful facelift procedures, experience no major problems and are happy with the results. Significant complications from a facelift surgery are infrequent. However, make sure you understand what surgery involves, including possible risks, complications and follow-up care. Facelift surgery poses various risks, including:
• Excess scarring.
• Changes in skin sensation in your cheeks, scalp and neck for a few months up to two years.
• Temporary or permanent hair loss near the incision sites.
• An accumulation of blood under the skin (hematoma).
• Facial nerve damage which can result in temporary or permanent numbness and weakness of the facial muscles. • Skin loss due to an interruption to the blood supply of your facial tissues.
• The need for revision surgery to correct rare complications of the facelift surgery
Like any major surgery, a facelift poses a risk of bleeding, infection and an adverse reaction to anesthesia. It’s also possible to have an allergic reaction to the surgical tape or other materials used during or after the procedure You can help minimize certain risks by following the advice and instructions of your surgeon, both before and after your facelift surgery. If you have any concerns about the risks involved with facelift surgery, please consult your surgeon.