Facelift, or rhytidectomy, is a procedure commonly used to:
- Reduce the effects of aging by tightening loose or sagging facial skin
- Eliminate "double chin" or hanging skin on the neck or jaw
- Rejuvenate the face by making skin look firmer and less wrinkled
- Combined with liposuction, remove excess fat from the face or neck and then tighten the skin over the area where fat was removed
There are several different procedures for facelifts, depending on what area of the face or neck the patient is concerned about. Typically this surgery involves making incisions in a less noticable spot, such as inside the hairline or around the ears. The surgeon then removes excess fat, tightens muscles if required, and trims any excess skin before repositioning the skin and stitching it up. Your plastic surgeon will discuss your personal goals and inform you of the particular procedure that will be used to achieve your new look.
Nonsmokers and people who have healthy, elastic skin that has not been overly exposed to UV radiation will get the best results. Many patients find that combining facelifts with other facial procedures enables them to achieve a more balanced, natural appearance. Although the intent of this procedure is to make patients look younger, it is important to have realistic expectations for this surgery and to keep an open mind when discussing options with your surgeon.
Surgery and Recovery Times
- The surgery lasts one to several hours. Typically an overnight stay is recommended, to keep you as comfortable as possible and promote proper healing during early recovery.
- Patients generally return to work and light activity in 10 to 21 days.
- Bruising and swelling go down in 1 to 6 weeks. Strenuous activity may be restricted during this time.
- Patients will need to protect themselves from sun exposure for several months after the surgery.
- It may take several months for scars to fade to their optimum appearance. It is usually possible to achieve minimal scars that can easily be concealed by makeup.
Risks and Side Effects
All surgery poses certain risks. Your surgeon will fully disclose to you the specific risks associated with your procedure and your current state of health. It is normal to experience temporary bruising, swelling numbness or tightness in the skin and possibly dry skin after this surgery.
Although they are rare, more serious complications, including infection or bleeding, blood pooling under the skin or injury to the facial nerves can occur. To minimize the chances of complications it is important to follow your doctor's instructions before and after the surgery.
Duration of Results
Most patients experience results that last 5 to 10 years.