A facelift, or rhytidectomy, is a surgery that decreases visible signs of aging in the face and neck. If you are considering this procedure, Premier Plastic Surgery & Dermatology is here to answer your questions.
A facelift can restore youthful contours to the face and neck to counteract the aging effects of gravity, heredity, stress, and environmental conditions. It can correct the following conditions:
Facelifts are often combined with brow lifts, eyelid surgeries, facial implants, or facial fillers to create a more complete rejuvenation.
In general, healthy individuals who do not smoke or have medical conditions that will impair healing are good candidates for this procedure. However, you should consult with your surgeon to determine if a facelift is a good choice for you.
During the consultation, your surgeon examines your general health and assesses any pre-existing conditions to determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure. Your surgeon examines and measures your face, takes photographs, and thoroughly explains what the procedure will entail. He or she also asks you detailed questions about your surgical goals, medical conditions and treatments, drug allergies, current medications, past surgeries, vitamin and supplement use, and alcohol, tobacco, and drug use. The consultation is also your opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the procedure.
Your surgeon will give you personalized instructions on how to best prepare for the surgery, including any lab testing or medication adjustments you may require, what type of anesthesia you will be undergoing, and how to plan for post-operative and follow-up care. Some general recommendations include stopping smoking, avoiding aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs, pre-arranging transportation to and from the surgery, and asking someone to stay with you for the first night after the surgery.
The first step in a facelift is administering anesthesia. This is done in one of two ways: intravenous (IV) sedation or general anesthesia. Both types of anesthesia are safe and effectively protect patients from the pain of the procedure; however, general sedation is generally considered a deeper sleep than IV sedation. Your surgeon will determine which option is best for you based on your body weight and medical history.
Next, the surgeon makes the incisions. The number and location of incisions is determined by your surgical goals. A traditional facelift involves one incision that reaches from the temples or hairline to the lower scalp. An alternative method uses shorter incisions by the temples and possible additional incisions under the upper lip or within the lower eyelids. If your surgical goals involve rejuvenating the chin or neck, an additional incision under the chin will likely be necessary.
Once the incisions are made, the surgeon sculpts or redistributes fat and underlying tissue in the face and neck. Muscles may also be lifted. Then, the skin is redraped over the new contours and held in place with sutures. Lastly, the excess skin is trimmed away.
Immediately after your surgery, your face and scalp will be dressed in a compression garment and drains may be put into place. You should expect bruising and swelling to peak within the first 36 to 48 hours after surgery, but it should subside over the next 10 to 14 days. Pain and discomfort should start to decrease within 48 hours of the surgery. If you experience an increase in pain, which is rare, you should contact your doctor. During the first 48 hours, you should always keep your head elevated. You can recline, but not lie down, in order to decrease swelling.
Your first post-operative visit will occur during the first week after surgery. At this time, the dressing and drains will be removed. They may be replaced by a supportive elastic face garment. During the visit, your surgeon will provide personalized recovery instructions; however general advice includes applying cool compresses to the skin for 20 minute intervals, avoiding aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs, and remaining in a state of sitting, standing, or walking around your home as much as possible to reduce facial swelling. During the first week, you should not drive, bend over, or lift heavy things. You may, however, gently bathe or shower and wash your hair.
During the next two to six weeks, you can expect some numbness around your face and neck, which will decrease over time. During this time period, you should avoid direct sun exposure and strenuous athletic activity. During follow-up visits, your doctor will advise you when you can ease back into your regular activities.
Scars from a facelift are concealed within the hairline and natural facial features. They will appear red in color and feel slightly firm and raised during the first four to six weeks after the procedure. Over time, the redness will fade and the scars will soften. It will take at least a full year for the scars to reach their final appearances.
The success of your facelift over time depends on a number of factors, including genetics and lifestyle. The best way to achieve long-lasting results is to live a healthy lifestyle, including exercise, hydration, a balanced diet, and plenty of sleep. You should also avoid direct sun exposure and use a daily sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or 40. Ask your doctor about professional or medical-grade skincare products because they are regulated by the FDA and their results can be clinically proven. If you want to enhance or rejuvenate the results of your facelift with non-surgical dermatological procedures, popular options include injectables and laser resurfacing.
Premier Plastic Surgery & Dermatology believes in combining exceptional patient care, artistry, and surgical expertise to help you achieve beautiful results. Our board-certified physicians include plastic surgeon Dr. Brian Heil and dermatologist Dr. Ana Busquets. We also offer an on-site medical spa for non-surgical, minimally invasive procedures such as Botox, laser hair removal, and microdermabrasion. This combination of services allows us to offer a uniquely well-rounded approach to your aesthetic goals.
If you are considering a facelift, please contact our office today to schedule your consultation.