Facelift surgery , clinically known as rhytidectomy, is a 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, and exposure to the elements. To perform this procedure, a facial plastic surgeon will lift and tighten the underlying muscles of the face to create more aesthetically pleasing contours appearance and rejuvenate the facial structure. Then he or she will remove excess pockets of fat and skin that can contribute to an aged, tired appearance.
An experienced, skilled plastic surgeon will perform this procedure with an artistic eye and extraordinary attention to detail so that patients will be left with negligible scarring and beautiful, natural-looking results. In addition to traditional full facelifts, there are several other variations of the procedure to address specific areas of the face. Many surgeons use advanced, minimally invasive techniques to minimize discomfort and downtime.
Facelift surgery can be an effective way to improve appearance and boost self-confidence, but it is not for everyone. Some patients might find that they can achieve their cosmetic goals with a non-invasive procedure, such as a chemical peel or microdermabrasion. Others may be happier with their results if they combine facelift surgery with other procedures, such as a neck lift or forehead lift (also known as a brow lift). Patients who understand both the possibilities and limitations of facelift surgery tend to be more pleased with their results.
Am I a Good Candidate for Facelift Surgery?
The best facelift candidates have realistic expectations and are willing and able to follow the pre- and post-operative instructions provided by their plastic surgeons. After a one-on-one consultation, the doctor can advise a patient as to whether he or she is a good candidate for a facelift, or whether an alternate procedure might be preferable.
Ideal candidates for facelift surgery share certain important traits. The following is a list of factors that can affect whether or not an individual is a good candidate for facelift surgery:
- Skin elasticity: A good facelift candidate will have skin that retains some of its natural suppleness and flexibility. This is important because, during the procedure, the surgeon tightens the facial skin to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Successful healing with optimal results depends on having skin that is able to conform to its new, improved contours.
- Strong bone structure: Ideally, a facelift candidate will have a well-defined underlying bone structure to provide support and contribute to satisfying results. Patients with less distinct features may benefit from facial implants as an alternative or addition to a facelift.
- Realistic expectations: A candidate should understand not only what facelifts can accomplish, but also the limitations of facial plastic surgery procedures. Consulting with a qualified plastic surgeon can help a patient obtain the information needed to make the right decision about surgery.
- Good overall health: A good facelift candidate will be generally healthy and will inform his or her surgeon of any preexisting medical conditions well in advance. A facelift is an invasive procedure that requires significant healing and recovery, so it is essential that the patient be physically prepared for surgery.
- Loose skin on the face or neck: Facelift candidates typically want to remove excess skin from the face or neck, tightening skin and reducing the appearance of wrinkles simultaneously. The surgeon trims the loose skin during the procedure.
Facelift Surgery for Men
Facelift surgery isn’t just for women. Men can also turn to rhytidectomy to erase the signs of aging and achieve a younger, rejuvenated look. The steps of the procedure are typically the same for both sexes, and both men and women can enjoy outstanding cosmetic results.
Are There Age Restrictions for Facelift Surgery?
Age is not the most important factor in determining candidacy for facelift surgery; skin elasticity and overall health have far more bearing on a patient’s ability to undergo this procedure. Most patients who undergo rhytidectomy are between the ages of 40 and 70 years old. However, people older than 70 can benefit from the surgery, as well. A qualified plastic surgeon can further evaluate each patient’s skin texture and condition to make individual judgments and recommendations regarding candidacy.
Face lift techniques
There are different techniques to perform facelift which depend upon patient’s and the surgeon’s preference. The techniques include:
- Traditional face lift
- Mini-access cranial suspension ( MACS)
- Lower face lift – SAMS Facelift, ‘S’ Facelift
- Mini Facelift
- Endoscopic /Scar-less facelift
- Thread Facelift
Are you a good candidate for a facelift?
Sagging skin in your midface and/or jawline
Deep creases extending from your nose to the corners of your mouth (nasolabial folds)
Lines extending from each corner of your mouth down your chin (marionette lines)
Facial fat (volume) that has fallen or is displaced
Sagging and loss of muscle tone in the lower face, resulting in jowls
A double chin, resulting from loose skin and excess fatty deposits under the chin and jaw
Creased and sagging skin in your neck
If you are in good general health, have a positive attitude and realistic expectations, you are most likely a good candidate for this procedure.
How is a facelift procedure performed?
Most facelift techniques focus on the lower facial areas, such as the jawline, jowls and cheeks. A facelift can also focus on the midface or the forehead. In some techniques, deeper facial tissues may be repositioned or tightened to restore a more youthful contour. In other techniques, removal or addition of fat or other soft-tissue fillers may be necessary to achieve the best results. Today, many different techniques exist with outcomes that can be consistently reliable, safe, and durable. Your incisions will depend on the area of the face that is targeted and the amount of change you want.
Once the incisions are made, various degrees of ‘undermining’ of your skin is performed, and the deeper layers of your face are lifted. Undermining separates the overlying skin of the face and neck from the muscles and tissues deep to the skin. This frees or loosens facial and neck skin so it can be redraped at the end of the procedure, making sure skin is smooth.
Then, your surgeon will raise the skin from the temples, cheeks, and neck, and lift and reposition the underlying connective tissue, removing excess fat and skin. If this procedure is performed in conjunction with a neck lift, the surgeon will draw the neck muscles together, stitching them together at the midline to form a strong sling of muscles that supports the entire neck and jaw. Your surgeon may also include liposuction of the neck and jowls. Facial implants may be added to increase cheek or chin volume.
Finally, your surgeon redrapes the skin over the new underlying structure and closes the incisions with stitches and/or small metal clips. Where needed, drainage tubes may be inserted. A padded, supportive dressing is usually applied.
The goal of your aesthetic plastic surgeon and the entire staff is to help you achieve the most beautiful and natural-looking results, and to make your surgical experience as easy and comfortable as possible.
What are my options?
There are several approaches to facelift surgery. Your plastic surgeon will recommend an approach based on your goals and facial characteristics, including the shape of your face. The placement and length of incisions vary, depending on the facelift technique that best suits you. Your surgeon might find you appropriate for a ‘short scar’ facelift procedure in which a short incision is usually limited to the area around the ear.
Brand name procedures for facelift such as the ‘LifeStyle Lift’ or ‘Quick Lift’ are still a form of facelift. One method is not superior over another and the best treatment for you will be determined during your consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon.
What will my facelift incisions and scars be like?
Regardless of the type of facelift you undergo, you will have incisions that involve the skin around your ear.
- The incision line usually runs along hairline and within the natural contours in front and behind the ears.
- Skin is then pulled back and the incision is closed.
Traditional facelift: Your surgeon will make incisions in your hairline at the temples, continuing down and around the front of your ears and hidden in the natural creases behind your ears in your lower hair-bearing scalp.
Limited-incision facelift: Your surgeon will make short incisions in your hairline, starting at your temples and continuing down and around the front of your ears, hidden in the natural creases. There may also be incisions in the lower eyelids, temporal area, or under the upper lip.
Neck lift: Your surgeon will make incisions starting in front of your earlobes and continuing around behind your ears in your lower scalp. There will also be a small incision underneath your chin.
Modified incisions include variations of the short scar with shorter incisions around the ear.
Facelift scars can be virtually invisible: narrow, flat, and well placed behind the ear so you can wear your hair close-cropped.
Your board-certified surgeon will place the incision in areas that are hidden and in areas where the scars look like natural wrinkles. Incision healing depends on surgical technique, infection prevention, reduction of tension, your nutrition, any known or unknown underlying medical conditions, no smoking, and your genetic tendencies.
It is normal to have mild pain and discomfort for few days after the surgery which can be managed with pain medications. Your plastic surgeon shall advise you to wear bandage on the face to avoid any clot formation, which shall be removed after a week along with the stitches. You can resume routine activities and light exercises in about two weeks, and strenuous work and exercises after six weeks.
One of the primary concerns patients have following a facelift is how soon they will look presentable after their procedures, and understandably so – unlike a breast or body procedure, for example, you cannot easily cover the area with clothing. Bruising and swelling are normal after a facelift, and will be at their peak about 2 days after surgery. After that, bruising and swelling will gradually get better, and should be difficult to notice after about 10 to 14 days. Even so, many patients feel comfortable going out in public about a week or so after their procedures. Your cosmetic surgeon can advise you about when it is safe to wear camouflage makeup.
As you ease back into your routine after a facelift, it’s especially important to keep your face protected from the sun. You will be more vulnerable to sunburn for several weeks after surgery, plus staying out of the sun will help scars heal as inconspicuously as possible. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and apply sunscreen regularly.
How Will Facelift Results Look Over the Long Term?
When performed by an experienced, board certified cosmetic surgeon, a facelift is designed to achieve results that not only look natural now, but will also age naturally with you. While nothing can stop the normal aging process, after a facelift you should always look years younger than you would have without the surgery.
However, there are certain things you can do to keep your results looking their best. Maintaining a healthy, stable weight is important as significant weight fluctuations can cause skin to stretch out again. You should also adopt a consistent, quality skin care regimen to keep your skin healthy and protected from unnecessary aging.
When performed by a qualified cosmetic surgeon, facelift surgery is a safe procedure and an excellent way to rejuvenate your appearance. The best way to decide if a facelift is right for you is to consult with a board certified cosmetic surgeon