A face lift (rhytidectomy) is a procedure designed to correct the signs of facial and neck aging. With age, your skin loses some of the underlying supportive structure and elasticity. As a result, you start to notice wrinkles, drooping skin (particularly along the jaw line), and deepening furrows around the mouth and chin.
A facelift can correct these signs of aging by tightening the underlying muscle and trimming excess skin, giving you a refreshed, more youthful appearance. After surgery, some patients look up to 10-15 years younger. Facelifts are sometimes combined with other procedures, such as fat injections, brow lifts, or blepharoplasty (eyelids) to rejuvenate the entire face.
If you have no major medical problems and wish a more youthful refreshed look, you may be a good candidate for a facelift. You must be emotionally mature, understand your motivations for having this procedure, and have realistic expectations about what the surgery can achieve. You cannot be a smoker.
During your consultation, your surgeon will discuss your own personal requirements and requests and explain the treatment options that best address your concerns and particular situation.
Day surgery approx. 3-4 hours.
Light activity the next day.
Back to work in 3-4 weeks
A facelift involves having a general anesthetic. You will be given instructions on what time to arrive for your surgery and be reminded not to eat or drink anything the night before.
The procedure (which is tailored to each individual) takes approximately 3-4 hours and you will then spend approximately 3 hours in the recovery room. You should arrange to have someone pick you up from the hospital. You will be given a prescription for pain medication before you go home.
Before your surgery, you will have a preoperative visit with a nurse to review the details of what to expect during your surgery and recovery. You may need to get some baseline blood tests and sometimes meet with an anesthesiologist prior to surgery. You will be asked to stop taking all over-the-counter pain or fever medicines (except Tylenol) and blood thinners for two weeks prior to your procedure. Many herbal medicines can also cause bleeding and so need to be stopped before surgery. Examples include ginkgo biloba, St. John's Wort, and high doses of fish oil, flax seed oil, or vitamin E.
Expect to have some discomfort for a couple of weeks, especially for the first 48 hours following your surgery. This can be controlled with the pain pills prescribed by your surgeon. You may be able to resume light work or school within two weeks, although most people take 3-4 weeks off, with a facelift procedure. Returning to work should be discussed with your surgeon before your surgery. You will be able to shower and wash your hair within 24-48 hours.
Extensive swelling, bruising and skin discoloration is very common and usually will subside within 3 weeks. A special dressing is worn after surgery to reduce swelling and bruising. Bruising may be seen even to your chest area. Many patients report a sense of tightness or numbness of the face and neck after facelift surgery, but this is temporary.
It will take 6-12 months for you to see the final benefit of your facial surgery.
As with any surgery, there are risks including infection, scarring, delayed wound healing, bruising, or bleeding. Complications specific to facial surgery are asymmetry, numb skin, and contour irregularities. However, all risks in this procedure are rare. They will all be discussed further during your consultation.