A facelift, or rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure that improves visible signs of aging in the face and neck due to sagging in the middle of your face, deep creases below the lower eyelids, and creases along the nose extending to the corner of the mouth. A facelift also improves fat that has fallen or has disappeared, loss of skin tone in the lower face that creates jowls, loose skin, and excess fatty deposits under the chin and jaw causing a double chin. The loss of youthful contours in the face can be due to a variety of factors, including heredity, gravity, environmental conditions, and stress. Rejuvenation procedures typically performed in conjunction with a facelift are brow lift, to correct a sagging or deeply furrowed brow, and eyelid surgery to rejuvenate aging eyes. A facelift does not change your fundamental appearance and cannot stop the aging process. A facelift can only be performed surgically; non-surgical 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.
A surgeon’s fee may vary based on his or her experience, as well as geographic office location. Most health insurance do not cover facelift surgery or its complications, but many plastic surgeons offer patient financing plans, so be sure to ask. The cost of facelift surgery may include:
- Surgeon’s fee
- Hospital or surgical facility costs
- Anesthesia fees
- Prescriptions for medication
- Post-surgery garments, and
- Medical tests
A variety of other procedures can further enhance the outcome of a facelift. They include:
- Facial implants or fat transfer.
- Soft tissue augmentation to recontour the facial structure
- Resurfacing techniques to improve the tone and texture of facial skin
- Wrinkle reduction by injection of fat or fillers
When choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon for facelift surgery, remember that the surgeon’s experience and your comfort with him or her are just as important as the final cost of the surgery.
Face Lift Preparation:
In preparing for Face lift surgery, you may be asked to:
- Get lab testing or a medical evaluation.
- Take certain medications or adjust current medication regimen.
- Stop smoking.
- Avoid aspirin, NSAIDS (Ibuprofen), and herbal supplements as they increase bleeding.
Facelift Procedure Steps:
1. Step 1 – Anesthesia
Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.
2. Step 2 – The incision
Depending on the degree of change you’d like to see, your facelift choices include a traditional facelift, limited incision facelift or a neck lift. A traditional facelift incision often begins in the hairline at the temples, continues around the ear and ends in the lower scalp. Fat may be sculpted or redistributed from the face, jowls and neck, and underlying tissue is repositioned, commonly the deeper layers of the face and the muscles are also lifted. Skin is re-draped over the uplifted contours and excess skin is trimmed away. A second incision under the chin may be necessary to further improve an aging neck. Sutures or skin adhesives close the incisions. An alternative to a traditional facelift uses shorter incisions at the temples, continuing around the ear and possibly within the lower eyelids or under the upper lip. Sagging jowls, loose neck skin and fat accumulation under the chin may be corrected with a neck lift. The neck lift incision often begins in front of the ear lobe and wraps around behind the ear ending in the lower scalp.
Step 3 – Closing Incisions
Once healed, the incision lines from a facelift are well concealed within the hairline and in the natural contours of the face and ear.
Step 4 – Results
The visible improvements of a facelift appear as swelling and bruising subside. Your final result should not only restore a more youthful and rested appearance, but also help you feel more confident about yourself.
During your facelift recovery, a bandage might be placed around your face to minimize swelling and bruising once your procedure is completed. Thin tubes may be present to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect under the skin. You will be given specific instructions that may include how to care for the surgical site and drains, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health, and when to follow up with your plastic surgeon. Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period. A facelift may be performed in an accredited office-based surgical facility, licensed ambulatory surgical center, or a hospital. Be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you for at least the first night following surgery.
Facelift Risks and Safety Information:
Facelift risks include:
- Anesthesia risks.
- 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 requires 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 plastic surgeon.