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How Is A Facelift Performed?



One of the best ways to correct aging facial features is to undergo a facelift, medically known as a rhytidectomy.  If performed successfully, this surgery can remove wrinkles, bagginess, and drooping skin – giving the face an overall more youthful appearance.

Over the years, the technology used in facelift procedures has evolved drastically.  The results are consistently excellent and reliable, making rhytidectomy a very popular choice amongst aging patients.

The traditional facelift involves a simple incision near the ears and along the hairline.  The skin is then pulled back and excess tissue is removed.  Surgeons will “lift” layers of tissue to varying degrees, depending on the complexity of the case.  Muscle tightening along the jowls and neck can also be performed at the same time.  Once re-shaping is complete, the incision is then closed up using sutures and stapling.   A successful facelift will ultimately tighten the skin and eliminate that sagging effect associated with aging.  If there is continuous bleeding, a drain is inserted behind the ears to collect excess fluids.  The tube is then removed a day or two after the surgery.

However, there are some patients who are uncomfortable with large incisions and often prefer laser treatments instead.  Facelifts using laser surgery involve a much smaller cut under the chin and the risk of scarring is quite minimal.  A laser session is usually performed under a local anesthetic and recovery time is very short.

The traditional facelift is usually supplemented with additional cosmetic procedures for a full reshaping of the face.  Eyelid surgeries and chin tucks are very common, along with operations that remove creases and droopiness near the corners of the mouth.  More invasive techniques include a separate procedure that removes excess skin around the cheeks and jawline.  However, too many procedures can result in an unnatural look.  And aggressive facelifts can give the appearance of a permanently “startled” look.  Therefore, it is important that patients only receive supplemental surgeries at the expert advice of a doctor.  The ultimate philosophy to follow in these cases is the age-old adage that “less is actually more”.

When considering a rhytidectomy, it is crucial that you understand the risks that are involved.  Although not common, infection, excessive bleeding, and reactions to the anesthesia can occur.  An expert surgeon can minimize the complications, but it is up to you to follow all instructions given before and after the operation.

The recovery time can vary depending on the complexity of your case, but most patients are able to return to work within 1-2 weeks of surgery.  Swelling is a common symptom of facelifts, but much of it will subside within the first 48 hours.  It can take up to one year, however, for the swelling to completely die down.  Bruising is also quite common but tends to go away after about 2 weeks.

Due to the complex nature of some facelifts, they should only be performed by a doctor who has experience in age reduction techniques.  When meeting with a qualified cosmetic surgeon, never be shy to ask questions – no matter how rudimentary they may seem.  A trusted doctor will able to give you the youthful face you desire and restore confidence back to your life.