A facelift, also called a rhytidectomy, is a plastic surgery procedure that can remove or reposition fat, tighten muscles, and reshape the skin of the face. As people age, their skin becomes less elastic, particularly on the face, resulting in sagging or loose skin in the mid to lower face and neck around the jaw line, or loose skin on the neck. While other procedures can smooth surface wrinkles, only a facelift can tighten sagging facial skin, jowls, double chins, and laugh lines.
An ideal candidate for a facelift is a person in good physical and psychological health, with the appropriate expectations—expressing the desire for a more youthful, smooth and well-rested appearance, as opposed to an ideal of “perfection.” A good candidate also has well-defined facial bone structure and good facial skin elasticity.
Facelift candidates are men and women, usually between ages 40 to 70, although The Plastic Surgery Center has had younger and older patients for this procedure as well.
During your physical examination with one of our surgeons, your facial bone structure and skin condition (texture, elasticity, wrinkles and folds), will be assessed. Your recommended facelift procedure will be customized by our surgeons based on these factors, as well as your age and any risk factors, and collaboration with you on your goals.
Modern facelift surgery is radically different from older procedures that would deal only with the skin by stretching and tightening the face. Today, we consider the aging process as well as one’s individual facial and underlying structure. This is done by addressing those underlying structures of both muscle and skin, and adhering to the natural contours of the face.
The facelift is performed with either general anesthesia or IV sedation. Once the incisions are made, the underlying muscles and deeper skin are lifted and repositioned and excess fat and skin are removed. Patients requiring a less extensive procedure (not dealing with jowls or neck) may be eligible for a limited incision procedure that results in minimal to no scarring.
After surgery, a bandage will be applied to the face and head and drainage tubes may be inserted at the incision sites if necessary. The drainage tubes are typically removed the day after surgery. Some discomfort, swelling and bruising can be expected. Patients often experience a sensation of tightness or tension in the face and neck. Discomfort is addressed with pain medication prescribed by your surgeon. Stitches are typically removed after one week. Our patients usually return to work and other non-strenuous activities in about two weeks.
Each person ages at a rate determined by age, genetics, lifestyle (smoking, alcohol consumption, sun exposure etc.). That said, a facelift is generally expected to last about 10 years, but the longevity of a facelift will depend on many factors, including the condition of the skin, age of person, protection from harsh environment, diet and lifestyle habits. However, the better care you take of yourself, the longer the results will last. Follow a good skin care regime, including the consistent use of sunblock. You may want to consult our aesthetician about good facial care following your procedure.
Many times, patients are better candidates for non-surgical interventions such as fillers (Sculptra, Restylane, Radiesse, Juvederm), Botox/Dysport and laser resurfacing that generally require no anesthesia and result in less recovery time. However, the results obtained with these non-surgical techniques cannot usually equal those of a facelift.
A facelift may be done in conjunction with other procedures to maximize results, such as a browlift
or eyelid surgery