Over time, gravity and sun exposure take a toll on your face and neck. Deep creases appear running from each side of your nose to the corners of your mouth; your jawline slackens, and your neck develops loose folds and fat deposits. Rhytidectomy, better known as a facelift, counteracts these signs of aging by tightening muscles, removing fat, and trimming excess skin. A facelift improves the look of the lower and middle areas of the face and neck. It is most effective for correcting:
Although a facelift removes or reduces signs of aging, over time they will gradually reappear. Rhytidectomy does not improve the look of the brow, eyelids, or nose and some parts of the mid-face. A patient who wants to improve those areas might combine a facelift with a brow lift or eyelid surgery and/or injectable soft-tissue fillers, facial implants, and skin resurfacing.
The best candidates for a facelift want to correct one or more of the signs of aging indicated above; have some facial sagging but still have elasticity in their skin; are generally healthy; do not smoke, and have realistic expectations about what rhytidectomy can do for them. Rhytidectomy is typically performed as an outpatient procedure in an office-based facility, surgery center, or hospital. Patients may choose IV sedation or general anesthesia. A traditional rhytidectomy is a “full” facelift that rejuvenates the face, jowls, and neck and includes sculpting and redistributing of fat; lifting, and repositioning of muscle and deeper tissues, and trimming and re-draping of skin. A limited-incision facelift improves the area around the eyes and mouth by reducing nasolabial folds and other deep creases.
You may feel postsurgical swelling, numbness, bruising, and a feeling of tightness or tension in the face and neck. Your face may look uneven or distorted. Most of these side effects resolve within several weeks. Many patients return to work by the third week. Camouflage cosmetics can minimize the appearance of bruising.