Some of the most visible signs of aging first appear on the face. Although the changes appear gradually, there may come a day when you look in the mirror and decide that the face you see doesn’t reflect the way you feel about yourself. If you’d like to look as good as you feel a facelift can help. Also known as rhytidectomy, a facelift smoothes the loose skin on your face and neck, tightens underlying tissues and removes excess fat. As a result, your face will appear firmer and rejuvenated.
The Best Candidate for Facelift (Rhytidectomy)
Facelifts are most commonly performed on patients in the 40-60 age range. However, the procedure can produce good results for people in their 70s and 80s as well. You may be a good candidate for a facelift if you have any of the following types of conditions:
- a deep line that runs from the corner of your nose to the corner of your mouth
- loss of a well-defined jaw-line (appearance of jowls)
- deep wrinkles in the cheeks and sagging skin near the cheekbones
- loose skin, wrinkles or excess fatty tissue in the neck (appearance of turkey neck)
Facelift surgery needs to be approached with extra caution if you have any of the following medical conditions:
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure
- Blood-clotting problems
- Tendency to form excessive scars.
It’s important to let us know if you are affected by any of these conditions.
Be sure to inquire about new limited incision facelift techniques, Fractional Resurfacing, Thermage, Accent, Pelleve, Infrared and ultrasonic non invasive skin tightening.
All Facelift Surgery Carries Some Uncertainty and Risk
Each year, thousands of people have facelifts and experience no major complications. However, it is important for you to be informed of the risks as well as the benefits.
One of the most important parts of your consultation is the discussion that you and one of our physicians will have about the possible complications of facelift surgery. In addition to listening carefully to what you are told, be sure to raise any questions you may have about the safety of the procedure. By carefully following our advice and instructions both before and after surgery you can do your part to minimize some of the risks.
The Facelift Surgery
Your facelift may be performed in our office-based surgical suite, an ambulatory surgical center or a hospital. Some patients prefer to spend one night in the hospital. Most often we use local anesthesia and intravenous sedation (twilight sleep) for a facelift procedures. However, for some patients, general anesthesia may be the best choice. The type of anesthetic and location of surgery will be discussed during the consultation.
The surgical time varies depending upon what is done; it can be anywhere from 2-4 hours in duration. After surgery you will spend at least 2-3 hours in the recovery area and will then be discharged. We offer private duty nursing care if desired. Details regarding this may be discussed during your consultation.
When surgery is complete, you’ll be taken to a recovery area. A bulky head dressing will be wrapped around your head and neck to help control swelling. Small drainage tubes are placed beneath the skin on both sides of the neck to drain away fluids that might otherwise accumulate. Discomfort is usually minimal, however pain medication prescribed by your surgeon will help to relieve the discomfort.
In this early stage of healing, you should rest with your head elevated to help minimize bruising and swelling. We will see you in the office the day after surgery to remove the head dressing and the drains. An elasticized garment is used in place of the bulky head dressing to help control the swelling. Most patients find this to be comfortable while offering support to the surgical area. You may shower and shampoo after the drains are removed. Sutures will be removed in stages, the first set in 5 days and the remaining sutures in 8-10 days. Most of the swelling and bruising will disappear within two weeks. Specific instructions for care after the surgery will be provided.
If you’re like most people who have the procedure, you’ll be very pleased with your refreshed and rejuvenated appearance. Although the healing may take some time, you can expect the end result to be worth the wait.
A number of factors, including your heredity and your lifestyle, play a role in how long the results of your facelift will last. Even though the aging process continues, patients are very happy with their appearance for many years following a facelift. Some patients find that they want to make additional improvements at a later time.
We also offer skin care products and assistance with make-up application at our Skin Spa. Please be sure to have one of our aestheticians assist you with your post surgery make-up. Finally, we would be pleased to discuss our non-surgical approach to wrinkles and facial aging including laser photorejuvenation, Botox and Fillers.
The Facelift Consultation
A personal consultation is the first step for every patient considering a facelift. During this meeting, one of our board-certified plastic surgeons will assess your physical and emotional health and discuss your specific goals for surgery.
If you are overweight and have a realistic desire to lose more than 5 pounds, your weight loss could affect your results. It’s important to discuss this at the time of your consultation.
During your physical evaluation, the doctor will assess your bone structure and the underlying tissues of the face. The thickness, texture and elasticity of your skin and the severity of the wrinkles and folds will also be considered.
Suggestions may be given for other cosmetic procedures that can be performed along with a facelift to meet your appearance goals. For example, a facelift is frequently combined with:
- A forehead lift, to correct lines or furrows in the forehead
- Eyelid surgery, to eliminate drooping upper eyelids or bags beneath the eyes
- Skin treatments, such as laser resurfacing, to minimize fine wrinkles.
- Your own fat transfer to increase hollow cheeks
Preparing for Your Facelift Surgery
When the date for your procedure has been set, we will provide you with specific instructions for the days immediately before and after surgery. A number of points may be covered, including:
- Avoiding certain medications that may complicate surgery or recovery, such as Aspirin, aspirin type products,
- Vitamin E and Gingko
- Stopping smoking for a period of 6 weeks before and after surgery
- Arranging for help and special care following surgery
- Letting your hair grow long enough so that it will cover your incisions while they heal