As people grow older, the natural aging process begins to affect us all. Genetic influences, exposure to the sun and other lifestyle factors play a part in causing the skin to wrinkle and sag. In younger individuals, the face is smooth and firm due to fatty tissue directly beneath the skin. The tissue, which fills out the contours of the face, gives it an even, smooth appearance. As people age, the skin begins to sag and fit more loosely. Skin folds become more noticeable, mainly around the chin, on the jaw line and neck.
In recent years, a remarkable procedure called rhytidectomy or as we know, a facelift has been developed to help correct the signs of aging on the face, and give people the youthful appearance they desire. This procedure involves the tightening of facial, neck skin and muscles and the removal of excess skin. Often a facelift is done along with other facial cosmetic surgeries such as brow lift and forehead lift, blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), chin implant augmentation, liposuction and rhinoplasty (nose surgery). A facelift may be performed any time after signs of aging appear.
Before Facelift Surgery
Prior to facelift surgery, a medical history of the patient will be taken in order to evaluate the general health of the patient. A careful examination of the face is also conducted. The patient and the plastic surgeon will discuss together how the face should look and what results can realistically be expected. The goal of the surgery is to produce a natural looking appearance. Photographs are taken before and after surgery in order to document the amount of improvement.
Preoperative instructions may include the elimination of certain drugs containing aspirin for several weeks prior to surgery to minimize the risk of excess bleeding. Antibiotics may also be prescribed to prevent infection.
The Facelift Procedure
The surgery will be performed in our surgical center. It can be done under local or general anesthesia. Premedication is generally administered to relax the patient before the surgery takes place.
In the basic procedure, the surgeon will work on one side of the face at a time. Incisions are made inside the hairline at the temple, running in front of the ear then around the earlobe and behind the ear, ending in the hair of the scalp. Loose skin is separated from underlying tissue and is pulled up and back and excess skin is removed. Connective tissue and sagging muscles are tightened, and in some cases, fat deposits are removed from beneath the chin and neck. This may necessitate an additional small incision under the chin. Tiny sutures are used to close the incisions. A facelift may take from three to five hours or more depending on whether other procedures are done at the same time.
Following Facelift Surgery
After surgery, loose bandages which have been applied to the area are removed within a few days. Patients who are operated on in a hospital are typically released the day of surgery or after an overnight stay. Pain connected with the surgery is minimal to moderate and can be controlled with oral medication. Several weeks after facelift surgery, patients must avoid the sun as much as possible and wear sunscreen if they go outdoors.