Rhytidectomy surgery, more commonly known as a facelift, is performed to improve visible signs of aging, and reverse relaxation of the skin in the face and neck. As you age, youthful contours of the face can be lost due to a number of factors such as sun damage, smoking, stress and heredity. The facelift will work to restore any deep lines and folds, as well as address jowls in the cheeks and jaw. It can also improve fallen features of the face caused by a loss of fat. A brow lift and/or eyelid surgery may be performed in conjunction to the facelift.

Other factors that may make you a candidate for a facelift include:

  • If you have a positive outlook on aging and don’t expect to turn back time
  • If you are a healthy individual and do not have any medical conditions that may impair healing
  • If you are a non-smoker
  • If you are unhappy with the effects of aging and heredity

What are the steps to the facelift procedure?

Step 1 – Anesthesia

Your doctor will administer medications for your comfort during the surgery. Choices could be intravenous sedation and general anesthesia depending on what your doctor thinks is the best course of action for you.

There are different types of facelift procedures depending on the degree of change you would like to see. The incision sites and size will vary based off the method used. Fat may also be sculpted and redistributed from the face, jowls, and neck. Underlying tissue is repositioned and deeper layers of the face and muscles may also be lifted. Skin is re-draped over the lifted contours and any excess skin will be trimmed away.

Traditional Facelift
The traditional facelift uses incisions that begin in the hairline at the temples and extend downwards around the ears, ending in the lower scalp. An additional incision may be made under the chin to improve signs of an aging neck.

Limited Incision
If relaxation in the skin of the patient is not extensive, a “mini-lift” or limited incision technique may be used. While the alternative has shorter incisions that begin at the temples and continuing around the ear, the results are not as rejuvenating as a full facelift.

A neck lift will be used in addition to a facelift if the signs of aging are more dramatic in the neck area. A necklift will improve the look of sagging jowls, loose neck skin and fat accumulation under the chin. The incision for a necklift begins in front of the earlobe and extends around behind the ear, ending in the posterior hair.

Step 3 – Closing the incisions

Incisions from the surgery will be closed with sutures that either dissolve or may need to be removed after a few days. Skin glues are another alternative some surgeons may use to seal incisions. Once, healed scars from a facelift will be well concealed within the natural contours of the face and the hairline, but will never entirely fade.

Step 4 – The Results

You will see an improvement in the contours of your face once the bruising subsides. While results may be apparent within ten to fourteen days, it will take up to three months for the face to feel “back to normal” in terms of texture, loss of feeling, and tightness. Your final results will restore a more youthful and rested appearance, as well as your self-confidence. It is important to note, that even though you can expect good results, optimal results may not be achievable with only one surgery.