A facelift, or rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure that improves visible signs of aging in the face and neck. It can improve deep wrinkles and excess skin on the neck and jaw lines and offer a more youthful appearance. Various factors contribute to the aged appearance of one’s face, such as genetic predisposition, aging, gravity, prolonged and repeated exposure to the sun’s damaging radiation, to name but a few. There are many variations on facelift surgery and commonly it involves removal of excess skin and alignment and suspension of tissues by the use of absorbable sutures. It may be combined with other cosmetic procedures of the face or non-surgical facial rejuvenation, such as dermal fillers, Botox or fat transfers.
The procedure is usually performed under general anesthesia and may last a few hours depending on the technique used. When it is combined with other procedures it may last longer.
Typically, the incisions are made on inconspicuous areas of the face along the hairline or within the hairline, depending on the patient’s forehead characteristics, in front of the ears and behind the ears. When needed, small incisions can be made below the jawline, on both sides, to address fat deposits, skin, and muscle laxity in the neck region (neck lift). The treatment that best fits your needs and expectations can be further discussed with your surgeon during your consultation.
A facelift treats the following:
- Sagging in the middle of the face
- Deep creases below the lower eyelids
- Deep creases along the nose extending to the corner of the mouth
- Fat that has fallen or disappeared
- Loss of skin tone in the lower face that creates jowls
- Loose skin and excess fatty deposits under the chin
Facelift surgery is a good option for patients who have excess skin on their face and neck, are in good health and have realistic expectations. Patients who smoke, have high blood pressure that is not under control, have blood disorders or take blood thinners, such as Aspirin, Coumadin or Plavix, may experience higher risk of healing problems.
Most patients tolerate the procedure well and are able to go home the same day. Medications for pain and nausea to be taken by mouth are routinely prescribed with an occasional short course of antibiotics. Some bruising and swelling are expected but are generally well tolerated and improve over several days. Using extra pillows while you sleep will help reduce swelling. Strenuous exercises and lifting heavy objects should be avoided for few weeks.
All patients considering elective surgery should abstain from smoking, including secondhand smoke and avoid any nicotine containing products, both before and after surgery. Dr. Ziakas strongly advises all his patients to quit smoking for good. The sutures used in face lift surgery are absorbable and dissolve over time. All patients are advised to use a good quality sunscreen when outdoors (minimum SPF 30) to minimize the hazardous effects of sun radiation on the incisions and the rest of the skin. The majority of patients are able to return to their routine activities in about a month.
Full List of Face Procedures