In more mature individuals, or those exposed to large amounts of sun or stress, wrinkled, creased skin can develop on the face, neck or forehead. In addition, fat deposits and folds may develop around the jaws or jowls. While a facelift (also know as rhytidectomy) can’t stop the aging process, in many cases it can “turn back the clock” by tightening muscles, removing fat, and trimming excess skin, thereby giving the face a fresher, more youthful look.
How is Facelift Surgery Performed?
Rhytidectomy can be performed alone, or with other cosmetic procedures such as blepharoplasty or forehead surgery. Most are performed in an outpatient surgical facility under general or local anesthesia. Depending on the area to be treated, facelifts usually involve incisions made along the hairline, which extend around the ears to the lower scalp. The skin is lifted away from the fat and muscle underneath and excess fat is removed. Dr. Rosenthal will then tighten the remaining tissue, and the skin is then replaced, tightened and secured with sutures or clips. Usually a small incision will be made under the chin to remove excess fat and skin of the neck along with tightening of the neck muscles. Swelling and minor discomfort lasts a few days. Usually patients can begin to socialize again after 10-12 days, although no vigorous physical activity is advised for one month.
What Can A Facelift Do For Me?
A facelift improves the look of the lower and middle areas of the face, and the neck. It is most effective for correcting the following:
- Mid-face sagging
- Deep creases under the eyes
- Nasolabial folds
- Sagging fat
- Loose skin and fat under the chin and jaw
Although a rhytidectomy removes or reduces signs of aging, over time, they will gradually reappear. A facelift does not improve the look of the brow, eyelids and nose, and some parts of the mid-face. A patient who wants to improve those areas might combine facelift with a brow lift or eyelid surgery, and/or with injectable soft-tissue fillers, facial implants and skin resurfacing.
What Is The Recovery From A Facelift Like?
After the procedure at our San Jose practice, Dr. Rosenthal will wrap the incisions in bandages, and may place drainage tubes. The tubes are taken out the next day, when the hair is carefully washed. If surgical clips are holding some incisions closed, they are removed, along with any stitches, one week after the procedure. Swelling, numbness, bruising and a feeling of tightness or tension in the face and neck may be felt. The face may look uneven or distorted, and facial muscles may feel stiff. Most of these side effects resolve within 3 to 6 weeks, and sensation typically returns to normal within a few months. Scars become less red, raised, lumpy and itchy over time.
How Long Do The Effects Of A Facelift Last?
Results of this surgery are not permanent, and some patients choose to undergo another in 5 or 10 years. In some sense, however, effects are permanent; years later, the face continues to look better than if rhytidectomy had not been performed.
What Are The Risks Of A Facelift?
Possible complications of this surgery include bleeding, infection, bruising, swelling or discoloration, allergic reaction to the anesthesia, skin blistering (usually only in smokers), nerve injury, and temporary or permanent loss of sensation in the face.