Also known as rhytidectomy, it is the ‘gold standard’ for facial rejuvenation.
A facelift is the most comprehensive approach to treating facial wrinkles and sagging caused by aging. The surgery varies in range from minimally invasive ‘lunchtime lifts’ to more extensive, sophisticated surgery. A facelift removes excess skin, tightens underlying tissues and muscle and redrapes skin on the face and neck. You will benefit from a facelift if you feel that your face does not reflect your youthful spirit and energy level
If you determine that your facial sagging and excess skin is a social or career obstacle.
A facelift can improve many areas of the face in one surgery.Can last for ten years or more and can make you appear ten to fifteen years younger. Can contour the neck and jawline better than all other techniques.
A facelift will not create a ‘new’ you, just a younger version of yourself. There will be some downtime associated with this procedure
Most facelift techniques focus on the lower facial areas, such as the jawline, jowls and cheeks. A facelift can also focus on the midface or the forehead. In some techniques, deeper facial tissues may be repositioned or tightened to restore a more youthful contour. In other techniques, removal or addition of fat or other soft-tissue fillers may be necessary to achieve the best results. Today, many different techniques exist with outcomes that can be consistently reliable, safe, and durable. Your incisions will depend on the area of the face that is targeted and the amount of change you want.
Once the incisions are made, various degrees of ‘undermining’ of your skin is performed, and the deeper layers of your face are lifted. Undermining separates the overlying skin of the face and neck from the muscles and tissues deep to the skin. This frees or loosens facial and neck skin so it can be redraped at the end of the procedure, making sure skin is smooth.
Then, your surgeon will raise the skin from the temples, cheeks, and neck, and lift and reposition the underlying connective tissue, removing excess fat and skin. If this procedure is performed in conjunction with a neck lift, the surgeon will draw the neck muscles together, stitching them together at the midline to form a strong sling of muscles that supports the entire neck and jaw. Your surgeon may also include liposuction of the neck and jowls. Facial implants may be added to increase cheek or chin volume.
Finally, your surgeon redrapes the skin over the new underlying structure and closes the incisions with stitches and/or small metal clips. Where needed, drainage tubes may be inserted. A padded, supportive dressing is usually applied.
There are several approaches to facelift surgery. The placement and length of incisions vary, depending on the facelift technique that best suits you. Your surgeon might find you appropriate for a ‘short scar’ facelift procedure in which a short incision is usually limited to the area around the ear.
Traditional facelift: Your surgeon will make incisions in your hairline at the temples, continuing down and around the front of your ears and hidden in the natural creases behind your ears in your lower hair-bearing scalp.
Limited-incision facelift: Your surgeon will make short incisions in your hairline, starting at your temples and continuing down and around the front of your ears, hidden in the natural creases. There may also be incisions in the lower eyelids, temporal area, or under the upper lip.
Neck lift: Your surgeon will make incisions starting in front of your earlobes and continuing around behind your ears in your lower scalp. There will also be a small incision underneath your chin.
Modified incisions include variations of the short scar with shorter incisions around the ear. Facelift scars can be virtually invisible: narrow, flat, and well placed behind the ear .
In advance of your procedure, your surgeon will ask you to:
Stop smoking six weeks before your surgery to promote good wound healing and to reduce scarring. Smoking also increases your risk of serious complications.
Avoid taking aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs: Advil, Motrin) and vitamins/homeopathic regimens. These can increase bleeding.
Regardless of the type of surgery to be performed, hydration is very important before and after surgery for safe recovery.
Immediately after your facelift surgery:
You may be placed in a compression garment or wrap immediately after surgery. Wear this exactly as directed. Remove it only as directed for cleansing incisions or showering.
To minimize swelling, recline rather than lie down. This will be more comfortable for you, and can reduce swelling. Always keep your head elevated. Do not bend forward or over.
You will have a mild to moderate amount of pain and discomfort. This should be easily controlled with oral medications. The discomfort and pain should begin to decrease within forty-eight hours after surgery.
Expect bruising and swelling. These symptoms will peak within the first thirty-six to forty-eight hours after surgery and will gradually subside over the next ten to fourteen days. To minimize swelling, sleep with your head elevated for a couple of weeks after the surgery.
Recovery time frame after a facelift: will vary by patient and in relation to the extent of your surgery.
The first week:
You may not drive for at least a week after surgery.
A feeling of tightness in your neck is not unusual after surgery. This sensation is most pronounced in the first one to two days after surgery while the bulky dressing is in place.
It is recommended to sleep with your head elevated forty degrees for two weeks; an additional pillow or two under your mattress may help, if necessary.
Apply cool (not cold) compresses to your eyes. Do not apply ice or anything frozen directly on the skin. Soak soft, white washcloths or gauze squares in ice water and wring out well. Apply directly to the eyes, but not to the cheeks or neck. Do not apply any pressure. Apply cool compresses for no longer than twenty-minute intervals. Do not apply heat. Stay up (sitting, standing, walking around) as much as possible after you return home. This helps to decrease facial swelling. Avoid bending or lifting heavy things for one week. Besides aggravating swelling, this may raise your blood pressure and encourage bleeding.
You may wash your hair gently twenty-four hours after your surgery. Do not use the usual heat-type hair dryer; use the cap type or use the cool setting on the blow dryer.
You may shower or bathe the day after surgery, but do not let the spray directly strike your face.
During the first four to six weeks your scars may appear red and be slightly firm and raised then the redness fades and the scar softens. It takes a minimum of one year for the scar to achieve its final appearance.
Refrain from direct sun exposure. Wear sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat.