Facelift, also known as rhytidectomy.
Facelifts are the most comprehensive surgical procedure for the treatment of facial sagging and wrinkles caused by aging. There are various types of facelifts that differ in their invasiveness. During a facelift, excess skin and fat is removed and the muscles underneath are tightened. Rhytidectomys are used to correct a large range of aging problems, such as double chins, sagging, glabellar or marionette lines, and jowls. Today it is still considered to be the ‘gold standard’ when it comes to facial rejuvenation.
How is it performed?
Although facelifts are sometimes used to alter the forehead and mid-face areas, the majority of rhytidectomies focus on altering the lower facial area. Your surgeon will decide where to make the incisions, based on your aesthetic goals and the facial areas he will be targeting. Using these incisions, your surgeon will gradually undermine the skin of the face, so that the deeper layers can be lifted.
Your surgeon will raise the skin away from the muscles of the face, repositioning the underlying connective tissues and removing any excess skin or fat.Finally, your surgeon will redrape the skin over your rearranged muscles, before closing the incisions with stitches or sutures.
What are my options?
There are several ways in which a facelift can be performed. During your consultation, your cosmetic surgeon will recommend an approach depending on your personal goals and the characteristics of your face.
What result can I expect?
Although there are many factors that will affect the longevity of your facelift, such as your skin quality and care regime, the most important thing is the technique used to perform the facelift.
Mini-facelift or ‘S-Lift’
This type of facelift involves very little undermining of the skin, and limited SMAS (muscle/fascia) mobilization. Recovery is usually very fast with results lasting anywhere up to five years.
Full or standard classic facelift:
SMAS-ectomy, SMAS platysma, deep plane composite lift, SMAS imbrication, or subperiosteal are all types of classic facelift techniques. This type of facelift usually requires your surgeon to rearrange the underlying facial tissues and undermine the skin extensively. Recovery time for this type of procedure is slightly longer than with a traditional facelift, but generally the results are longer lasting.
- A facelift can improve many areas of the face in one surgery.
- Can last for ten years or more and can make you appear ten to fifteen years younger.
- Can recontour the neck and jaw line better than all other techniques.
- There will be some downtime associated with this procedure.
- Depending on your age and skin type you may want a secondary procedure later on.
- Scars may be visible, however the surgeon will try to hide these in the hairline or contours of the face.
After surgery your wounds will be bandaged and you may find that a compression garment has to be applied to the area. You should tend to these as instructed, removing it only for cleaning as directed. Try not to lie down, as reclining will be more comfortable and will help to minimize any swelling. Try not to bend over and if possible keep your head elevated at all times. It is likely that you will experience some pain after surgery, but this should be easily controllable using normal pain medications, and should disappear within the first 2 or 3 days of your procedure.
You should call your plastic surgeon immediately if you experience a severe or prolonged increase in pain. You should expect there to be some bruising and swelling in the area, but they usually peak within the first few days before gradually subsiding. It is not uncommon to have some leaking from your wounds and your surgeon may insert drains to aid this. They will use a compression dressing made of cotton to support your drains. This will cover your face and scalp to the first couple of days to help prevent blood collecting under your skin.
You must take care to follow all and any advice given to you by your plastic surgeon. This usually includes information about how to care for your drains and compression garments, which painkillers or antibiotics you can take, and what kinds of exercise you can safely perform. Your doctor will also give you some information about how to look out for potential signs of complications. Try to remember that everyone’s body is unique, and so recovery time will vary between individuals. You should be prepared to wait at least 6 months before your face has healed completely. It is very important that you return to see your doctor as scheduled.
Limits & Risks
Serious complications caused by facelift surgery are rare. Your plastic surgeon will discuss the potential complications and risks posed to you, during your facelift consultation. You can help to reduce the risk to you by following the advice and instructions of your cosmetic surgeon carefully.
Some potential complications of all surgeries are:
- Adverse reaction to anaesthesia
- Hematoma or seroma (an accumulation of blood or fluid under the skin that may require removal)
- Infection and bleeding
- Changes in sensation
- Allergic reactions
- Damage to underlying structures
- Unsatisfactory results that may necessitate additional procedures
- Blood clots in your legs or lungs