A facelift, or rhytidectomy, is one the most popular and satisfying cosmetic
surgery procedures. This procedure smoothes loose skin on your face and neck
by removing excess fat, tightening underlying muscles and re-draping the skin.
Although it cannot stop the aging process, a facelift can minimize the appearance
of deep cheek folds and loose sagging skin on the face and neck. As a result
your face will appear younger and fresher. A facelift can be performed by itself
or in conjunction with other procedures such as a forehead lift, eyelid lift,
or nose surgery.
is a facelift performed?
are many variations to the facelift procedure. The incision typically
begins in the hair near the temple and continues in front of
the ear, around the ear lobe into the crease behind the ear,
then into or along the lower scalp. Muscles and sagging tissue
are tightened, excess skin or underlying fat is removed, or suctioned
and the remaining skin is repositioned or tightened to create
a more youthful look. Your surgeon will then apply sutures (stitches)
or metal clips on the scalp to secure the layers of underlying
tissue and close the incision. If the neck needs lifting, a small
incision may be made under the chin as well. Your surgeon may
apply small drainage tubes behind the ear to drain away fluids
that might accumulate. In addition your head may also be wrapped
in bandages to reduce any swelling.
long does a facelift take?
surgery generally requires two hours to perform, depending upon
the complexity of the procedure and your particular goals.
type of anesthesia is used?
facelift may be performed under local anesthesia with either
light or deep sedation, or general anesthesia. The longer the
procedure is expected to take, the more likely that general anesthesia
will be recommended. You can discuss and determine your particular
needs for anesthesia with your surgeon.
is the procedure performed?
facelift may be performed in a surgeon's office-based surgical
suite, an outpatient surgery center, or a hospital.
can I return home and resume normal activities?
usually return home the same day, although, may hospitalize patients
for a day when using general anesthesia. Most people return to
work and their usual activity within ten days.
do I prepare for a facelift?
your initial consultation, your surgeon will discuss the changes
that you would like to make to your appearance. Since the appearance
of your face and neck is a matter of personal perception and
preference, you will need to discuss your concerns in detail
so your surgeon can determine the appropriate alternatives. You
also should make arrangements ahead of time for someone to drive
you to and from your procedure and to assist you with your daily
activities during your recovery period.
to your surgical procedure, the surgeon will perform a complete
health history and physical. Knowledge of your allergies, medications
and previous surgeries should be brought to your surgeon's attention
at this time. Smoking cessation is advised for at least one week
prior to your surgery. Smoking inhibits blood flow to your skin
and may delay the healing process of your incision areas. Specific
instructions to assist you in preparing for this procedure will
be given to you after the health history and physical is complete.
Depending on your individual health status, the instructions
may include guidelines regarding your diet, alcohol intake, smoking
and which medications to take or avoid. Your experience will
be much smoother if you remain compliant with your surgeon's
precautions are necessary during recovery?
will have a bandage for the first night. The tiny surgical drains
placed in the hair behind your ears will be painlessly removed
along with your bandages on the following morning. After an eyelid
procedure, ice compresses are applied for 24 hours, but the eyes
are not bandaged and lubricating ointment/drops used may cause
blurred vision for one to two hours. Immediately after the facelift,
you may notice a tight sensation in the neck and under the chin.
This feeling may last several weeks and is a normal part of recovery.
are encouraged to shampoo your hair daily after your procedure
with a mild shampoo. A light cover-up may be applied to the eyelids
starting four days after your procedure. Eyelid makeup including
mascara, eye shadow, eyeliner and artificial eyelashes may also
be applied four days after your procedure. However, it is important
to remove all makeup thoroughly at the end of the day using an
upward motion. You may use oiled eye pads for removal of eye
makeup. All stitches (sutures) will be removed within seven to
ten days; eyelid stitches (sutures) are to be removed in four
are the possible complications after a facelift?
rarely produce serious complications. The most common complication
after a facelift is a collection of blood under the skin (hematoma).
In less than two percent of facelift operations, this collection
of blood must be removed in the operating room immediately post-procedure.
Occasionally, small hematomas are removed several days after
the procedure. Complications such as infection, eye irritation,
delayed healing or excessive scarring are rare.
sensory nerves near the surface of the skin are interrupted during
a facelift and portions of your scalp, cheeks, and neck may feel
numb. Sensation usually returns over several months, but some
numbness may last indefinitely. Facial nerve damage could occur,
but is extremely rare.
With a facelift, the scars are placed either within the hair or in natural
creases and lines of the face so that they are inconspicuous or easily hidden
by makeup or hair styling. Your scars fade with time and are usually not noticeable.
It is always important to be informed about the possible complications before
any surgery. Be sure to discuss any concerns you may have with your surgeon.
results can I expect after a facelift?
swelling and discoloration is expected following your facelift,
but usually subsides within 10-14 days. Your surgeon will want
to examine you several times during the week or two following
your facelift. Your stitches will be removed in stages, usually
between the third and tenth postoperative days. Your hair around
your temples may be thin at first and your skin may feel dry
for several months. You will feel happier with your facelift
if you realize that the final results may not be immediately
that a facelift cannot stop the aging process. Although excess
skin is removed and wrinkles are diminished, your skin continues
to age. In time you may feel the need to have a second procedure.
As you grow older the skin of the upper lids becomes looser and
may create additional folds in which case an upper lid "touch-up" can
be done. While additional procedures are done for some, most
have only one facelift and remain pleased with their appearance.