A facelift, also known as rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure able to provide the face with a healthy, more youthful appearance by treating the signs of aging in the lower half of the face. A facelift can treat sagging facial skin, jowls and loose neck skin by removing excess fat, tightening muscles and redraping the skin. Good candidates for a facelift include men and women ranging in age from their thirties to their eighties who are looking to improve the appearance of facial aging and are in good general health and realistic in their expectations. Dr. Boyce informs patients to be aware that a facelift will not stop the aging process.
Facelift surgery may be performed in an outpatient surgical center or a hospital and typically takes a couple hours to perform. Either local anesthesia and sedation or general anesthesia may be used. The incision usually begins at the temples within the hairline then extends in a natural line along the edge of the inner part of the ear and behind the earlobe to the lower scalp. An additional small incision is made under the chin. Once the incisions are made, the skin is separated from the underlying fat and muscle. The muscles are tightened and fat is trimmed or suctioned from around the neck and chin. The skin is then pulled back, the excess removed, and the incisions closed.
Recovery after facelift surgery will vary for each patient, though generally anywhere from seven to fourteen days of healing time can be expected. After surgery, the head is wrapped in bandages which will be removed in 3 days. Patients may experience some discomfort that can be controlled with prescription pain medication if necessary. The face will appear pale, puffy and bruised at first, and bruising may take one to two weeks to fade. Some numbness of the skin may also occur. It’s best to keep the head elevated as much as possible during the first few days. Stitches are typically removed within 6-8 days. Most patients are able to return to work within ten to fourteen days, though more strenuous activities should be avoided for two or more weeks and sun exposure should be limited for several months. Though the face will continue to age, the effects of a facelift are long-lasting in that patients will look better years later than they would have without the facelift. Some patients choose to undergo a repeat procedure within five to ten years.