A facelift (Rhytidectomy) is a surgical procedure designed to smooth and firm the skin, providing a youthful, refreshed appearance. The aging process is exacerbated by the sun’s radiation, stress, gravity, and other factors that cause the skin to loosen and relax over time. Certain areas of the face and neck are more prone to this accelerated aging process. These gradual changes can make an individual feel dissatisfied and self conscious with their aged appearance.
Facelift surgery involves removing the loose skin and smoothing out the remaining face and neck skin. In some instances, removing or adding fat in conjunction with this surgery may help restore a more youthful appearance. A facelift can also be combined with other facial cosmetic procedures, such as an Eyelid Lift, brow lift. This surgery can be performed at any time when signs of aging are noticed by the patient. However, most patients are generally in their late forties or older when the procedure is performed.
Reasons for choosing a facelift:
- Sagging skin, muscle and fat in the face and neck that is unacceptable to the patient.
- Excess skin and fat on the face and neck.
- Sagging jaw line (jowling) or neck laxity.
- Deep creases along the cheeks, mouth, chin, and neck.
The procedure for a facelift involves making incisions just inside the hairline, along the ear, continuing under the earlobe to the backside of the lower scalp. The skin is lifted and stretched back to remove the sagging appearance. The excess skin is then removed. If the neck lines require attention, an additional incision is made under the chin; through this incision the neck muscles can be tightened. Very small stitches are used to close the incisions and to minimize the chance of scarring. A facelift can take several hours to perform depending on the extent of skin removal or additional procedures that are added.
After surgery, the face is fitted with bandages in order to help decrease swelling and bruising. Occasionally, a drain is left in place for a day to minimize fluid accumulation. Ice packs may be applied to the face to also help minimize swelling and discomfort. The stitches are generally removed within a week. Any discomfort after surgery can be treated effectively with oral pain medication. Post-operative instructions call for plenty of rest and limited movement in order to speed up the recovery and healing process.
While complications are rare, patients can minimize potential problems by carefully following the directions given after the procedure.