As time passes and gravity’s effects set in, deep creases form between the nose and mouth, jowls develop on the jawline, and volume is lost from the midface. External factors like sun damage, smoking, environmental stresses, and everyday life can speed up this process and leave patients desiring cosmetic improvement.
Facelift surgery, or rhytidectomy, provides facial rejuvenation for the middle and lower regions of the face. This surgical procedure can enhance shallow cheeks, reduce wrinkles, and smooth facial contours.
Facelift candidates are individuals who have begun to experience laxity on the face and neck, but still retain some skin elasticity and have a defined bone structure. Most facelift candidates undergo the procedure during their 40s, 50s, or 60s; however, successful surgeries can be performed later in life.
Candidates for a facelift are in good general health and do not have uncontrolled high blood pressure, blood clotting irregularities, or the tendency to form excessive scars. Patients should also be non-smokers, as smoking increases your risk of complications during and after the procedure.
While facelift surgery can allow you to look younger and fresher, it cannot make you look like an entirely different person. Candidates for this procedure must have realistic expectations of their results.
Your Facelift Procedure
Facelift surgery is a highly individualized procedure. Dr. Mockler will evaluate the extent of your facial aging and discuss your expectations, goals, and desires during your consultation.
Facelift surgery usually takes several hours. Local anesthesia with sedation is typically used for a facelift, but general anesthesia may be offered for patients who prefer to be asleep or for patients who require more extensive correction.
This procedure restores a youthful facial contour by manipulating the skin, muscle, and fat on the lower two-thirds of the face. Stitches are required to close the incisions.
The incision for a traditional facelift starts in the hairline at the temples, travels around the ear, and ends in the lower scalp. This technique allows for the most significant correction of tissue laxity. Through these incisions (on either side of the head), the skin is separated from the muscles and fat, the muscles and skin are tightened, and the facial fat is sculpted to restore full cheeks and midface volume.
Limited Incision Facelift
This alternative to a traditional facelift relies on shorter incisions that begin below the temples and continue around the ear. Patients occasionally require an additional incision within the lower eyelids or under the upper lip.
Patients who experience laxity beneath their chin and on their neck may benefit from a neck lift in combination with their facelift. This procedure requires an additional incision beneath the chin through which tissues are tightened, and excess skin is removed. Fat deposits beneath the chin or on the neck can be minimized with liposuction.
Facelift surgery is an outpatient procedure, but, as it is performed with the aid of anesthesia, you must have someone to drive you and stay with you for the first day or so to help with all activities and chores.
Discomfort following facelift surgery is usually minimal and can be lessened with prescribed oral medication. Some patients prefer over-the-counter medication like TYLENOL®. This, along with cold compresses, can soothe your discomfort and pain.
You will experience bruising, swelling, and numbness following facelift surgery; this will disappear over the following weeks and months. You can reduce postoperative swelling by keeping your head elevated.
Drains may be inserted to aid in the healing process. If so, these drains will be removed after one to two days. Bandages around the incisions will be removed after one to five days, and the stitches will be removed after five days.
You should rest in the initial days after surgery. Get on your feet for leisurely walks and stretches within one to two days, but avoid strenuous activity for at least two weeks. Most facelift patients return to work within 10 to 14 days.
Complications after facelift surgery are rare, but they are possible and include bleeding, hematoma, facial nerve injury, infection, and reactions to the anesthesia. You can reduce your risk by following all of Dr. Mockler’s advice before and after the procedure.
Dr. Mockler will provide you with detailed plastic surgery aftercare guidelines during your consultation.
The results of your facelift will become apparent as the bruising and swelling subside, usually within a couple of weeks or months.
While the scarring in your hairline might seem noticeable initially, it will fade with time. Keep your healing incisions out of the sun as much as possible to help lessen their appearance.
Facelift surgery will significantly improve the most visible signs of aging on the face and neck by tightening muscles and skin and repositioning facial fat. This procedure cannot stop the aging process, and you will continue to age over time.
Facelift surgery can be performed alone or in combination with a forehead lift or eyelid lift.