Rhytidectomy (Facelift). A fresh look.

A Facelift, clinically known as Rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure used to reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles and other telltale signs of aging, with the goal of improving the overall appearance of the face and jaw. Facelift surgery can help to reverse the harmful effects of time, stress, gravity and exposure to the elements. Face and neck areas are especially prone to the aging process.

Surgery for a facelift involves the contraction and realignment of facial and neck skin, and in some instances the removal of excess fat deposits.  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 elect to undergo this procedure when they’re on their forties or older.

When to Consider a Facelift:
  • Sagging skin, muscles, and fat in the face and neck.
  • Excess skin and fat on the neck.
  • Sagging jawline.
  • Crease lines along the nose, mouth, and chin.

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.  Tissue and fat deposits are separated, the skin is stretched and tightened, and any excess skin is removed.  If the neckline requires attention, an additional incision is made under the chin and the same procedure is again followed.  Minuscule stitches are used to close the incisions and to reduce any chance of scarring. Metal clips or staples may also be utilized at the hairline.

A facelift may take several hours or longer depending on whether other cosmetic procedures are completed at the same time.  Sometimes other cosmetic 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.

Recovery Process

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, clips or staples are normally removed within a week. Patients sometimes report some minor pain 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.

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