Face lift (Rhytidectomy)

As people age, the effects of gravity, exposure to the sun, and the stresses of daily life can be seen in their faces. As a result of these effects loose and sagging facial skin and skin folds in the neck with the creation of wrinkles can appear. The way out to life extension and slowing down or reversing the process of aging could be the facelift.

What is face lift (rhytidectomy)

Deep creases form between the nose and mouth, so called jawline. Especially skin around lower jaw and neck is getting weak and loose. Skin folds in the neck with very loose skin appear in the jowl. These manifestations can be very effectively removed by the surgery of face and neck (face- and neck-lift).

By removing excess facial skin, respectively excess fat and tightening of underlying muscles and tissues, the redraping of the skin of face and neck can be achieved. This as a result can lead to removal of above mentioned signs of aging.

Facelift can be done alone, or in conjunction with other procedures such as eyelid surgery.

If you’re considering a facelift, these lines will give you a basic understanding of the procedure when it can help, how it’s performed, and what results can be expected. The concrete procedure can more or less differ from these information, since a lot depends on the individual attitude of the surgeon to a concrete patient. A good result is always influenced by a good understanding and cooperation between the patient and the surgeon. Therefore do not hesitate to ask your surgeon about anything you don’t understand.

The process of face lift operation

Anesthesia

Facelift surgery can be done under general anesthesia or under so called analgosedation, which is used as a combination of analgesics (painkillers) and sedatives. Most of the surgeons prefer this type of anesthesia but always when deciding about this anesthesia it depends on a good cooperation with patient and that is why it is not possible to use it everytime. In any case people are requested not to eat, drink or smoke minimum 6 hours before the surgery. The pacient must take into account minimum one day stay in hospital.

Face lift – the surgery

A facelift usually takes 1,5 to 3 hours, if you’re having more than one procedure done, it can take even more. For extensive procedures, most surgeons prefer to schedule two separate sessions.

Every surgeon approaches the procedure in his or her own way. The exact placement of incisions and the sequence of events depends on your surgeon’s technique, although in most of the cases it doesn’t vary that much.

The incision usually begin above the hairline at the temples, extend in a natural line just inside the cartilage at the front of the ear, and continue behind the earlobe to the lower scalp. If the neck needs work, a small incision may also be made under the chin.

The surgeon loosens gently the skin of the temples and neck and after an exact measurement he/she removes its excess. In case of deeper fat layer, especially around the neck and chin, the procedure can be combined with a gentle liposuction. For a long lasting result it is necessary to tighten the subdermal musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS lifting) as well as skin.The incisions are usually closed with intradermal absorbable sutures.

Under the skin of the neck and cheeks a drain on both sides can be placed that will collect the liquid right after the surgery to prevent its accumulation that could significantly complicate the healing process. At the end of the surgery the surgeon usually uses an elastic bandage to fix the area of cheeks and neck.

Are you the best candidate for face lift?

Facelift seek both females and lately more and more males. The indication for facelift is loose skin in the face and neck. A natural condition is overall healthy patient. Most patients are in their forties to sixties. Facelift can be done also to younger patients if the above mentioned aging effects appear sooner than usually.The surgery can also come into consideration to older people if they fulfil the medical conditions. Facelift can make you look younger and fresher and the result should never lead to an unnatural look. Before you decide to have the surgery, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with your surgeon.

Before your surgery

If you decide to have the facelift, your surgeon will explain the whole process of the surgery and the chosen anesthesia to you, he or she should also inform you about the risks involved. Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor any questions you may have, especially those regarding your expectations and concerns about the results. Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain medications. Carefully following these instructions will help your surgery go more smoothly and heal without troubles. Before the planned surgery you should arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery, and to help you out for the first days after the surgery if needed.

After your surgery

The inserted drainage tube will be removed day after the surgery and the patient goes home for further treatment.

In individual cases staying in hospital can take longer. The head bandage is usually removed three to five days after the surgery and nonabsorbable sutures, if used, are removed seven to ten days after the surgery. The convalescence period takes usually from one to two weeks. The abnormal physical strain is not recommended for one month.

There isn’t usually significant discomfort after surgery. If there is, it can be lessened with the pain medication prescribed by your surgeon. Severe or persistent pain or a sudden swelling of your face should be reported to your surgeon immediately.

Some numbness of the skin is quite normal and it will disappear in a few weeks or months.

In the first phase after the surgery you should count with the bigger or smaller swelling and sometimes even bruises. It is not possible to expect the final result right after the surgery, you have to wait for it with patience.

Final effect is usually maintained for five to ten years. The procedure can be repeated as needed.