Facelift Surgery (Rhytidectomy)

What is a facelift?

A facelift, or rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure that improves visible signs of aging in the face and neck, such as:

• Relaxation of the skin of the face causing sagging

• Deepening of the fold lines between the nose and corner of the mouth

• Fat that has fallen or has disappeared

• Jowls

• Loose skin and excess fat of the neck that can appear as a double chin or "turkey neck"

The loss of youthful contours in the face can be due to variety of factors, including thinning of the skin, loss of facial fat, gravity, sun damage, smoking, as well as heredity and stress.

Other procedures that might be performed in conjunction with a facelift are brow lift and eyelid surgery to rejuvenate aging eyes. Fat transfer or fillers may be suggested to replace the lost fatty volume.

What facelift surgery can't do

As a restorative surgery, a facelift does not change your fundamental appearance and cannot stop the aging process.

A facelift can only be performed surgically; nonsurgical rejuvenation treatments cannot achieve the same results, but may help delay the time at which a facelift becomes appropriate and complement the results of surgery.

Facelift cost

Facelift costs can vary widely. The average fee referenced above does not include anesthesia, operating room facilities or other related expenses.

A surgeon's fee may vary based on his or her experience, as well as geographic office location.

Facelift costs may include:

• Surgeon's fee

• Hospital or surgical facility costs

• Anesthesia fees

• Prescriptions for medication

• Post-surgery garments

• Medical tests

remember that the surgeon's experience and your comfort with him or her are just as important as the final cost of the surgery

Facelift candidates

In general, good candidates for a facelift include:

• Healthy individuals who do not have medical conditions that impair healing

• Nonsmokers

• Individuals with a positive outlook and realistic expectations

Facelift recovery

Following completion of a facelift, a bandage might be placed around your face to minimize swelling and bruising.

You will be given specific instructions on how to care for the surgical site, medications to apply or take orally, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health and when to follow up with your surgeon.

Be sure to ask your surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your recovery period.

• Where will I be taken after my surgery is complete?

• What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?

• Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery?

• When will they be removed?

• When will the stitches be removed?

• When can I wash my face and wear make-up?

• When can I resume normal activity and exercise?

• When can I color my hair or get a haircut?

Facelift results

While most people are presentable to the public within 10-14 days, it will take 2-3 months for the face to feel "back to normal" in terms of texture, sensibility and loss of tightness.

Continuing daily sun protection and a healthy lifestyle will help extend the results of your facelift.

As swelling and bruising subside, the visible improvements of a facelift appear. Your final result should not only provide a more youthful and rested appearance, but also help you feel more confident about yourself.

Although good results are expected, there can be no guarantee. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedure and another surgery may be necessary.

Follow your physician's instructions to ensure the success of your surgery.

Facelift risks and safety

The decision to have plastic surgery is extremely personal and you will have to weigh the potential benefits in achieving your goals with the risks and potential complications of facelift surgery. Only you can make that decision for yourself.

You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure and any risks and potential complications.

Facelift risks, while rare, include:

• Anesthesia risks

• Bleeding

• Infection

• Poor wound healing and skin loss

• Facial nerve injury with weakness

• Temporary or permanent hair loss at the incisions

• Fluid accumulation

• Numbness or other changes in skin sensation

• Persistent pain

• Unfavorable scarring

• Prolonged swelling

• Skin irregularities and discoloration

• Sutures may spontaneously surface through the skin, become visible or produce irritation that require removal

• Unsatisfactory results may include: asymmetry, unsatisfactory surgical scar location and unacceptable visible deformities at the ends of the incisions. (It may be necessary to perform an additional surgery to improve your results)

• Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications

These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It is important that you address all your questions directly with your surgeon.

Your facelift consultation

During your facelift consultation be prepared to discuss:

• Your surgical goals

• Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments

• Current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drug use

• Previous surgeries

Your surgeon will also:

• Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors

• Discuss your facelift options

• Examine and measure your face

• Take photographs

• Recommend a course of treatment

• Discuss likely outcomes of a facelift and any risks or potential complications

• Discuss the type of anesthesia that will be used

The consultation is the time to ask your surgeon questions. To help, we have prepared a checklist of questions to ask surgeon that you can take with you to your consultation.

It's important to understand all aspects of your facelift surgery. It's natural to be nervous about it, whether it's excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don't be shy about discussing these feelings with your plastic surgeon.

Preparing for facelift surgery

In preparing for a facelift, you may be asked to:

• Get lab testing or a medical evaluation

• Take certain medications or adjust your current medications

• Apply certain products to the facial skin preoperatively

• Stop smoking

• Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding and bruising

A facelift may be performed in an accredited office-based surgical facility, licensed ambulatory surgical center, or a hospital. You must arrange for a friend or family member to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you the first night following surgery.