Face lift at a glance
- A facelift, also known as a rhytidectomy, is a procedure in which a surgeon lifts loosened facial skin and tightens underlying tissue and muscle.
- A facelift counteracts the appearance of aging in facial skin that results in bagginess, folds, creases, and sagging jawline and skin beneath the chin.
- Numerous techniques and methods are available dependent upon desired effect and surgical plan.
- Incision scars will be unnoticeable and concealed behind the hairline.
What is a facelift
A facelift (rhytidectomy) is a popular surgical procedure that rejuvenates and tightens the surface skin of the face and neck that shows visible signs of aging. Facelifts improve overall tone, reducing creases from the nose extending out to the corner of the mouth.
In the past, facelifts only tightened the skin. Modern facelifts offer more advanced techniques to seemingly reverse aging by actually repositioning skin, muscle, and fat. Surgeons may also remove excess skin around the jawline and chin (the double chin).
After a facelift, patients appear as a younger version of themselves, not an entirely different person.
How is a facelift performed?
The two main types of facelifts are a traditional facelift and a mini-lift.
In any type of facelift procedure, after administering general anesthesia or intravenous sedation, the surgeon makes the initial incision to access the muscle and tissue. Depending on the amount of repositioning and full surgical plan, a facelift procedure may last anywhere between two and six hours.
A traditional facelift includes an incision beginning at the temples that trace along the hairline continuing around the ear and into the lower scalp. The surgeon may sculpt and reposition the fat from the jowls and surrounding the neck and lift deeply layered muscles. Once the sculpting process is complete, the surgeon places the skin over the new lifted contours and then trims away excess skin. A Facelift procedure may last between two and four hours. An overnight stay in the hospital or surgery center may be necessary for some patients, but most go home the same day.
A traditional facelift includes an incision beginning at the temples that trace along the hairline continuing around the ear and into the lower scalp. The surgeon may sculpt and reposition the fat from the jowls and the neck and lift deeply layered muscles. Once the sculpting process is complete, the surgeon places the skin over the new lifted contours and then trims away excess skin. An overnight stay in the hospital or surgery center may be necessary for some patients, but most go home the same day.
Recovering from a facelift
Facelifts require a significant amount of recovery and healing time. Bandages may be applied to cover the face for the first few days following surgery. Patients should expect to experience swelling and bruising.
The surgeon will likely prescribe pain medication and recommend a cold compress to reduce swelling. It is advisable for patients to refrain from strenuous activity, and to sleep with their head elevated.
General discomfort should start to fade after the first week of surgery. Most people return to work in one and a half weeks.
Considerations and risks
As with any surgery, infection, risks related to anesthesia, and abnormal bleeding may occur. Specific facelift surgery risks include:
- Hematoma or seroma which is an accumulation of blood underneath the skin
- Change in skin sensation or damage to underlying structures
- Skin discoloration
Unsatisfactory results that may require more surgery may include facial asymmetry and unsatisfactory surgical scar. Working with a board-certified plastic surgeon with extensive facelift experience mitigates these risks and will produce optimal and long-lasting results.