Rhytidectomy (a facelift) is an aesthetic surgical procedure that resolves the effects of aging on the facial areas including around the mouth, under the eyes and cheeks. It is effective in removing or softening wrinkles and folds, which are consequences of aging and exposure to the environment.
With age, our facial skin tends to sag, fall, and wrinkle. These signs of aging are most prominent on the sides of the face (jowls) and in the neck area. A facelift can resolve these aging effects by tightening underlying tissue and the skin’s outer layer
Facelift at a Glance
- A facelift is a procedure in which a plastic surgeon lifts loose facial skin and tightens underlying muscle and tissue.
- A facelift reverses the signs of an aging face by resolving creases, folds, wrinkles, fine lines, a sagging jawline, and a double chin.
- Multiple methods and techniques can customize a facelift for a patient’s unique issues and their aesthetic goals.
- Incision scars will be discreet, hidden beneath 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 when it begins to show the signs of aging. A facelift will improve overall tone and reduce creases from the nose extending out to the corner of the mouth.
In the past, facelifts only tightened the skin. Today, board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Ben Lee, employs advanced rhytidectomy techniques to reverse aging by actually repositioning skin, muscle, and fat. He may also remove excess skin around the jawline and chin (the double chin).
After a successful facelift procedure, patients should appear to be a younger version of themselves, without drastic changes to their facial appearance.
How is a Facelift Performed?
The two main types of facelifts are a traditional facelift and a mini-lift.
With any facelift procedure, after administering general anesthesia or intravenous sedation, Dr. Lee will perform the initial incision to access the muscle and tissue. Depending on the amount of repositioning and what was discussed in the surgical plan, a facelift procedure may last anywhere between two and six hours.
A traditional facelift includes an incision that starts at the temples, then traces along the hairline, continuing around the ear and into the lower scalp. Dr. Lee may reposition excess fat from the jowls and neck and lift deeply layered muscles. Once this sculpting process is complete, he will place the skin over the new contours and trim away any excess skin. Typically, Dr. Lee performs rhytidectomy as an outpatient procedure and the patient is able to go home the same day. However, an overnight stay in the hospital may be necessary for some patients.
The mini facelift is quickly becoming the most common type of facelift. It resolves sagging skin and wrinkles on the lower part of the face with small incisions placed around the ears. It adds definition to the chin by artfully removing excess underlying tissue and tightening overlying skin. Dr. Lee can customize a mini facelift to give you a refreshed, youthful appearance that will highlight your facial beauty and improve your self-esteem.
A mini facelift is pleasing to both men and women as it addresses the most significant effects of aging. For example, patients who have hormonal fluctuations are predisposed to losing a defined jawline. These patients can look to a mini facelift to restore their youthful jawline.
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 some swelling and bruising.
Dr. Lee will prescribe pain medication and recommend cold compresses to reduce swelling and inflammation. It is advisable for patients to refrain from strenuous activity, and to sleep with their head elevated.
Any discomfort should start to fade after the first week of surgery. Most people return to work within ten days.
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
Working with a board-certified plastic surgeon with extensive facelift experience mitigates these risks and will produce optimal and long-lasting results.
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.