Rhytidectomy – Smooth & Firm Facial Skin
Learn More About Face Lift Surgery
A facelift (Rhytidectomy) is a surgical procedure designed to smooth and firm the skin, providing a fresh, youthful appearance. Surgery for a facelift involves the lifting and tightening the facial and neck skin, and in some instances the removal of excess fat deposits.
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. Though these changes are gradual, wrinkles and other signs of aging can make individuals “feel older” than they really are.
A facelift is often performed in combination with other facial cosmetic procedures and can be performed any time signs of aging begin to appear. However, patients are generally in their forties or older when they elect to undergo this procedure.
Important Issues & Side Effects
As with all surgical procedures, there are certain considerations to be observed. Side effects and complications are always a possibility and any patient should be prepared and informed. Some side effects are universal for all surgeries, while others are unique to the facelift procedure.
Most notably, patients report feeling of tightness following their surgery. Often, the surgeon will prescribe medication to relieve the discomfort. Other side effects can include numbness or swelling of the skin, particularly around the incision sites, as well as bruising, though these, if experienced, tend to subside after a few days, though the bruising may take somewhat longer to fade completely. Some scarring can also be expected, though the surgeon will generally take care to place incisions as discretely as possible. Immediately following the procedure, and for several months thereafter, scars may remain pinkish in color before fading to a less noticeable white color.
Reasons for Considering a Facelift:
- Sagging skin, and loss of fat giving an aged look in the face and neck.
- Excess skin and fat on the neck.
- Sagging jaw line.
- Crease lines along the nose, mouth, and chin.
Candidates For Rhytidectomy
Ideally, someone looking to undergo this type of surgery should have relatively good skin elasticity, as well as strong bone structure, and skin on their face or neck that is loose. Having more flexible, supple skin lends to diminished recovery time, as the procedure involves stretching the facial skin to smooth wrinkles. Additionally, a strong bone structure provides an excellent base for the skin and therefore helps to achieve superior results. Those with less defined features may wish to consider improving their facial structure with dermal fillers or facial implants to further enhance their facelift results.
Those who may not be suitable candidates for the procedure include:
- Individuals who smoke
- Individuals suffering from medical conditions, such as heart disease, bleeding disorders, or other maladies which may hinder the healing process.
Types of Facelifts
As earlier mentioned, there are many different techniques and procedures associated with facelift surgery. These vary, depending on aesthetic goals and priorities in regards to recovery time and risks involved. A skilled surgeon will also take into consideration a patient’s facial anatomy before deciding on a procedure or a combination of procedures to perform. Each facelift may have a different type or number of incisions made, a varying degree of invasiveness, or focus on a unique target area of the face that is treated. Some other types of facelifts are:
The Deep Plane Lift
This procedure focuses on lifting and repositioning the superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS) layer, which is located beneath the skin and surrounds the facial muscles. Incisions during this procedure are made along the hairline and extend down proceeding inside the ear and along the lobe, then ends behind the ear. The surgeon then goes beneath the SMAS layer to release attachments from the skin, effectively separating them and allowing the surgeon to reposition both the SMAS layer and skin into a new position. Once this is complete, the surgeon removes any loose or excess skin if necessary and the edges are sutured closed. This type of surgery is best suited for those looking for dramatic results.
Techniques & Procedures
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Recovery & Procedure
The standard procedure for a facelift commonly involves making small incisions just inside the hairline, following the contour in front of the ear, and continuing under the earlobe to the backside of the ear and to the lower scalp. The skin is stretched and tightened, and any excess skin is removed. If the neck line requires attention, an additional incision is made under the chin and the same procedure is again followed. Absorbable fine stitches are used to close the incisions and to reduce any chance of scarring.
A facelift may take 3-4 hours or longer depending on whether other cosmetic procedures are completed at the same time.
Sometimes other procedures may be performed in separate appointments. There are several different facelift techniques that can be employed. Patients can discuss with their physician which method is best for them when they come in for their consultation.
Immediately after surgery, the face is fitted with bandages in order to decrease the recovery time and to reduce swelling. Generally, post-operative instructions call for plenty of rest and limited movement in order to speed up the healing and recovery process. The stitches are normally removed within a week. Patients sometimes report some minor tight discomfort associated with surgery. Any discomfort can be treated effectively with oral medication. While complications are rare, patients can minimize potential problems by carefully following the directions given after the procedure.