What Is a Facelift?
In time, gravity, sun exposure, and the stresses of daily life take their toll on our faces and necks. Deep creases appear beside the mouth, the jaw line slackens and becomes jowly, and the neck develops loose folds and fat deposits.
Facelifts counteract these signs of aging by tightening muscles, removing fat, and trimming excess skin, giving your face a fresher, more youthful look. Facelifts, technically known as rhytidectomies, which literally means “removal of wrinkles”, rejuvenate the mid to lower face and neck. After surgery, patients can look 10-15 years younger.
Areas for Facelift
Facelifts are most effective for patients who want to correct the following areas.
- Midface sagging
- Deep creases under the eyes
- Deep creases between the nose and mouth (nasolabial folds)
- Jowls due to loss of muscle tone
- Sagging areas of fat
- Loose skin and fat under the chin and jaw
Facelifts will not rejuvenate the brow, eyelids, nose, and some of the midface. Patients who want to improve these areas may consider combining a facelift with a brow lift or eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty). Patients can also enhance the effects of a facelift with injectable soft-tissue fillers, facial implants, and skin resurfacing.
Candidates for Facelift
The best candidates for a rhytidectomy are men or women that want to improve the signs of aging. Candidates typically have facial sagging but elasticity still remains in their skin. Additionally, candidates will need to be healthy, not a smoker, and have realistic expectations about their appearance.
Facelifts are typically outpatient procedures and patients may have a choice of IV sedation or general anesthesia. The procedure takes about two hours but varies depending on the patient’s facial structure and the extent of correction desired. Some of the most common facelift procedures include:
- Traditional facelift or the “full” facelift is performed to rejuvenate the face, jowls, and neck. This includes fat sculpting, lifting and repositioning of muscle and deeper tissues, and skin trimming and redraping. The incision begins at the temples and travels down to the front of the ear, around the earlobe, and behind the ear to the lower scalp at the hairline. Sometimes, another incision is made under the chin.
- Limited-incision facelift is used for rejuvenation around the eyes, mouth, nasolabial folds and other deep creases. Short incisions are made at the temples and around the ear, and possibly in the lower eyelids and/or under the upper lip as well.
- A neck lift concentrates on jowls, loose skin on the neck, and fat under the chin. The incision is made around the earlobe and behind the ear to the lower scalp.
Facelift Before & After
Recovery from Facelift
After your rhytidectomy, Dr. Hunsaker will wrap the incisions, which are hidden in the hairline and natural contours of the face. He may place drainage tubes in the area which can be taken out the following day to allow the patient to wash their hair. In all three methods mentioned above, incisions are closed with stitches or tissue glue which will be removed one week after the facelift. Many patients return to work 3 weeks after surgery.
Unfortunately, the results of a facelift do not last forever and do not stop the aging process. In time, signs of aging will gradually appear once again. You may want to consider having another procedure in five or ten years. However, the effects are permanent so years later, your face will continue to look better than if you had never had a facelift.
Risks Associated with Facelift
Dr. Hunsaker will discuss the risks and benefits of a facelift with you before your surgery. Along with the standard risks that come with any surgery there are facelift specific complications that can occur. These include bleeding, infection, bruising, uneven swelling or discoloration, skin blistering, and temporary or permanent loss of sensation in the face.