The face lift, also known as Rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure to lift sagging skin, tighten facial muscles, and remove excess pockets of fatty tissue that create an aged appearance.
The natural tendency of the skin of the face is to relax over time. Throughout one’s life, the sun’s radiation, stress, gravity, and other factors cause the skin to sag and fit more loosely. Areas of the face and neck, in particular around the jaw line, are especially prone to the aging process and formation of jowls. Relaxation in the neck area causes vertical folds and extra tissue under the chin.
Though these changes are gradual, wrinkles and other signs of aging can make individuals “feel older” than they really are. A face lift will create an appearance of tighter facial muscles, tauter, youthful skin.
Facelift surgery involves the tightening and realignment of facial and neck skin, and in some instances the removal of excess fat deposits. A facelift is often performed in combination with other facial cosmetic procedures and can be performed when signs of aging begin to appear.
If you ever wondered how a Rhytidectomy, or facelift, could improve your looks or self-confidence, you need to know how a facelift is performed and what you can expect from this procedure. The face lift procedure varies quite a bit, depending on the patient’s individual goals and needs.
Are you a Candidate for a Facelift?
As is common with all facial plastic procedures, good overall health and understanding the limitations of a facelift are vital. The goal of a Rytidectomy is to improve the overall facial appearance. Skin type, ethnic background, degree of skin elasticity, individual healing, basic bone structure, as well as a realistic attitude are factors that should be discussed prior to surgery. A facelift cannot stop aging, but what it can do is help your face look its best and give you a look of health and a more youthful appearance. A side benefit is that many patients experience increased self-confidence.
Before deciding on a facelift, you should discuss with your facial plastic surgeon whether the overall effect will be more successful if additional changes are made in the chin and neck areas through other facial surgery. Many patients decide to have neck liposuction to remove excess fatty deposits in conjunction with a facelift.
The Surgical Procedure
The surgery begins the incision in the area of the temple hair, just above and in front of the ear, and then continues around the earlobe, circling the back of the ear to the hairline behind the ear. The skin is raised outward before repositioning and tightening of the underlying muscle and connective tissue. Some fat may be removed, as well as excess skin. For men, the incision is aligned to accommodate the natural beard lines. In all cases, the incision is placed where it will fall in a natural crease of the skin for camouflage.
After trimming the excess skin, the incisions are closed with fine sutures, often combined with surgical clips which permit surgery without shaving hair from the incision site. When the procedure is performed with a combination of mild sedatives, local anesthesia, and a mild intravenous anesthesia, the patient will experience little discomfort. Following the surgery, a dressing is placed to protect the face and apply mild pressure overnight.
Post Operative Expectations
Even though most patients experience very little pain after surgery, the surgeon will still prescribe medication. Some degree of swelling and bruising is unavoidable, and your surgeon may instruct you to use cold compresses during the first 12 hours to keep swelling to a minimum. The dressing is removed within one to two days. You will also try to keep your head elevated when lying down, to avoid as much activity as possible, and to report any undue discomfort.
In some cases, a drainage tube may have been inserted during surgery. This will be removed on the first or second day after surgery. All sutures and clip are removed within five to 10 days following surgery. Avoidance of vigorous activity is recommended for three weeks. Patients should prearrange for post-surgery support from family and friends.
Recovery usually takes two to three weeks, though many patients go back to work in two weeks. Scars are usually not noticeable after enough time has passed for them to mature. In any case, they are easily disguised in natural skin creases, by the hair, or, in persistent cases, by makeup until total healing has occurred. Bear in mind that the aging process continues after surgery and that some relaxation of tissues will occur over the first few weeks.
Facial plastic surgery makes it possible to correct many facial signs of premature aging that can undermine self-confidence. By changing how you look, cosmetic surgery can help change how you feel about yourself. With the care of our expert team you can achieve your best possible appearance.