A Facelift (Rhytidectomy) is a surgical procedure designed to provide a fresh, youthful appearance. Throughout one’s life, the sun’s radiation, stress, gravity, and other factors cause the skin to sag and wrinkle. 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 and look older than they really are.
Surgery for a facelift involves the removal and realignment of facial and neck skin, and in some instances the removal of excess fat. A facelift is often performed in combination with other facial cosmetic procedures and can be performed any time signs of aging begin to appear. However, patients are generally in their fifties or older when they elect to undergo this procedure. When the standard full facelift is not necessary, such as in a younger patient, other facelift procedures may focus on the cheekbone areas (mid-face lift) or the neck and jaw areas (lower face lift).
REASONS FOR GETTING A FACELIFT:
- Sagging skin, muscles, and fat in the face and neck.
- Excess skin and fat on the neck.
- Sagging jaw line or “jowling”.
- Crease lines or wrinkles 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 lower scalp. Excess skin is removed and the remaining skin is then repositioned to create a rejuvenated appearance. If the neck line requires attention, a small incision is made under the chin. Excess fat may be removed with liposuction and sutures are typically used to tighten the neck muscles (platysmaplasty) and create a defined jaw line. Fine stitches are used to close the incisions and to minimize scarring.
A face lift may take several hours or longer depending on whether other cosmetic procedures are completed at the same time.
Immediately after surgery, the face is fitted with bandages in order to decrease the recovery time and to reduce swelling. Generally, post-operative instructions call for plenty of rest and limited movement in order to speed up the healing and recovery process. The stitches are normally removed within a week. 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.