A facelift, also known as a rhytidectomy, is a procedure designed to reverse signs of aging in the face and neck. The most common issues addressed by a facelift include sagging skin, tired-looking eyes, drooping jowls, deep lines at the corners of the mouth, and loose, wrinkled skin at the neck. These effects can make a person look older and appear fatigued.
During a facelift, excess skin and fat are removed from the area, and the skin is tightened to produce a smoother, more youthful appearance.
A facelift will make your face and neck look younger, firmer, and more balanced and symmetrical, but you’ll still ‘look like you’. A facelift will soften, smooth, and correct age-related issues such as:
Depending on your surgeon’s recommendations and your own preferences, you will be given intravenous sedation or a general anesthetic.
If you have chosen a traditional facelift, your surgeon will make an incision along your hairline, from your temples, around your ears, and down to the lower scalp. Then the surgeon will sculpt your face to achieve more youthful contours by redistributing facial fat and repositioning tissues and muscles. The skin of the face is tightened, any excess is removed, and sutures or adhesives are applied to close the incisions.
Skin is smoothed over the uplifted contours and the excess is trimmed. A second incision under the chin may be necessary to further improve an aging neck. Sutures or skin adhesives close the incisions.
You may also opt to have a neck lift as part of the same procedure if you are bothered by sagging jowls or an excess of fat or skin beneath the chin. Other optional, add-on procedures include facial implants and tissue augmentation, skin resurfacing, and injections to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
For the first 48 hours after a facelift, you’ll need someone to drive you home and take care of you. Within a few days, you’ll start feeling better and taking light exercise, although you’ll probably look your worst at this time. Within a couple of weeks, most people are ready to return to work, although some tightness, numbness, and faint swelling can last for several months, and it can take up to six months for scars to fade.
All surgeries present some health risks, but those associated with a facelift are low if the patient has good overall health and chooses the correct treatment and procedures in consultation with the surgeon. There is also a risk that the patient will have unrealistic expectations for the surgery and be disappointed in the result. An experienced, qualified cosmetic surgeon will be able to prepare you for the expected results and inform you of your personal risk profile.