A facelift, also known as a rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure that improves visible signs of aging in the mid to lower face and neck. It will not stop the aging process but instead will improve the most visible signs of aging such as deepening of the fold lines between the nose and corner of the mouth, sagging around the mid-face, loose skin and a loss of muscle tone along the jawline and the appearance of jowls or loose neck skin.
In general, good candidates for a facelift include healthy individuals who do not have medical conditions that impair healing, preferably do not smoke and have realistic goals of surgery. It is reasonable to expect that after a facelift, you will look 5 to 10 years more youthful; but you will not look "half your age".
You will first need to meet with one of our surgeon to discuss your expectations and desired outcome of facelift surgery. Our surgeons will always recommend the least invasive lift that serves the goals of our patients. The surgeon will examine you and ask about your medical history, including any chronic conditions or medications that you take. You will be asked to refrain from smoking and taking certain medications, vitamins or supplements, which could impair your surgical recovery. You may also be asked to have some lab testing done prior to your procedure.
Facelift surgery is an outpatient procedure that usually takes 4 to 6 hours. There is a range of techniques available depending upon your individual needs. Depending on the degree of change you'd like to see, your facelift choices include a traditional facelift, limited incision facelift or a neck lift.
A traditional facelift incision often begins in the hairline at the temples, continues around the ear and back to your hairline. Fat may be sculpted or redistributed from the face, jowls and neck and underlying tissue is repositioned, commonly the deeper layers of the face and the muscles are also lifted and create a firmer foundation for the skin. Then, excess skin is removed, and the remaining skin is gently laid back over the newly rejuvenated facial tissues.
An alternative to a traditional facelift a Limited Incision Facelift uses shorter incisions at the temples, continuing around the ear.
"Mini-lifts" are usually reserved for patients with less skin relaxation, as the results are less rejuvenating than a full facelift.
A neck lift (or platysmaplasty) can be performed separately under light general anesthesia as an outpatient procedure but is often done at the same time as a facelift to address sagging jowls, loose neck skin and fat accumulation under the chin. The neck lift can be done through the facelift incisions or, if performed separately, neck lift incision often begins in front of the ear lobe and wraps around behind the ear. The neck skin is elevated and tightened and "banding" or excess fatty tissue in the mid-neck may be tightened or removed via a small incision under the chin.
The incisions will be closed with sutures that may dissolve or may need to be removed after a few days. Some surgeons use skin glues to seal the incisions. Once healed, the incision lines from a facelift are well concealed within the hairline and in the natural contours of the face and ear.
For up to a few weeks, you may feel sore or experience some swelling, but you should be able to care of yourself immediately after surgery. Typically, a bandage is gently placed around the patient's face to minimize post-surgery swelling and bruising as your face gradually heals. Sometimes a thin tube may be temporarily placed under your skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect after surgery. You will be given instructions on what to expect and how to care for your face following surgery and activity restrictions. Some pain and tenderness around the surgery site is normal and can be easily managed with prescribed medication.
Swelling and puffiness will go down within just a few days, and bruising will subside in approximately two weeks. Approximately one week after surgery, you may start to apply makeup to the face to conceal any residual bruising. It is normal to take a couple months before swelling is totally eliminated and your incision lines heal and fade.