Technically know as a rhytidectomy, is the surgical removal of wrinkles in order to gain a more youthful appearance. A rhytidectomy also helps to eliminate loose skin folds in the neck. Several hours are usually required to complete the face lift, while a surgeon may schedule two separate sessions for more extensive procedure.
Face lifts are performed by making an incision starting from the ear and continuing up into the hairline. The incision extends down around the back of the ear and ends up near the hairline at the bottom of the neck. Essentially, the skin is pulled upwards and backwards over the face. Excess skin is then removed and incisions are closed with sutures and staples. It is important at this stage that too much skin is not removed thus avoiding the ‘wind-swept’ look.
Significant discomfort after the surgery is rare but the face will be pale, bruised, and puffy for a few weeks. As with any cosmetic procedure, care should be taken while the wounds heal. Follow-up appointments with your surgeon involve removing bandages, dressing the wound, and after a week, removing stitches.
The traditional face lift has been around for over one hundred years. This generous period has led to much advancement in techniques used. Now, scars are hidden behind the hairline, and pulling the skin too tight is avoided. Nevertheless, individuals should realize the outcome is never completely predictable.
Face Lift FAQs
Q: Are the results of a rhytidectomy permanent?
A: A rhytidectomy can drastically improve the effects of the natural aging process, but it will not stop the aging process altogether. The longevity of your face lift depends on many factors such as the condition of your skin and whether you smoke. A more youthful appearance will be achieved through a face lift, but wrinkles will continue to appear as time advances. Most patients are very satisfied with the procedure and will last five to ten years with the aging process progressing.
Q: Will the face lift surgery eliminate all of my facial wrinkles?
A: A face lift will dramatically reduce the amount of wrinkles of the lower two-thirds of the face. By removing excess fat and reshaping loose muscle, cosmetic surgeons reduce sagging in the cheeks and around the jaw. A face lift alone will not erase all common signs of aging. When used in conjunction with other facial procedures such as browplasty (brow lift) or blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), the entire face will eliminate 90% of your facial wrinkles.
Q: Will the face lift make me look unnatural?
A: The goal of a face lift is to rejuvenate, not distort. When the proper techniques are used and excess stretching of the skin is avoided, the outcome is a completely natural look.
Q: What areas of the face does a face lift address?
A: A traditional face lift treats the lower two-thirds of the face, including the cheeks, jowls and neck. It will not improve areas of the upper face such as the brow or eye area, which is better treated with a brow lift, or eyelid surgery.
Q: What is the recovery like after a face lift?
A: After surgery, the face is likely to appear bruised, pale and swollen and some numbness can occur. It's best for patients to take avoid any strenuous activities during the first week and to keep the head elevated during the first few days to help control swelling. In some cases, bruising can take two to three weeks to fully fade. Hereafter, normal activities can be resumed with no consequence to the procedure.
Bandages After Surgery
Q: Are there any bandages used after the surgery?
A: Bandages may be utilized following the surgery, but are typically removed the day after the surgery. These bandages include surgical drains to properly drain the incisions. Depending on your physicians' recommendations, a lighter bandage may be used for a longer time.
Post Surgery Scars
Q: Will I have noticeable scars following the surgery?
A: The incisions made for a face lift are located within the hairline and any natural contours in and behind the ear. Some individuals require another incision underneath the chin. In all cases, the incisions are minimal and in well concealed areas to minimize the amount of scarring. This allows the result to look natural and unaltered.
Q: Is there much pain following the procedure?
A: Significant pain is not normal following the procedure; however, most patients will experience a sensation of tightness in the face. Will uncomfortable, this tightness is not painful, and subsides within the first week.
The Right Age
Q: Am I too young (or old) for a face lift?
A: In determining whether a face lift is right for you, age is not necessarily the key factor. Most face lift candidates are between 40 and 70 years old. Do to some hereditary conditions; some patients can be as young as 25 years old. The procedure can also effectively enhance the appearance of people over the age of 70. In general, the condition of your skin and desire to make improvements are of more consequence than your age.