What is a Facelift?
A facelift, or rhytidectomy, is a procedure to designed to address the visible facial signs of aging by removing excess skin and fat, tightening the muscle layer and deep underlying tissues, and redraping the skin of your face and neck. Facelift surgery can improve the contours of the face and neck and help restore a more youthful, rested, and natural appearance.
The signs of facial aging are genetically determined to an extent. As we age, various factors such as sun exposure, smoking, weight gain and loss, and the stresses of daily life cause our skin to lose its tone and elasticity, resulting in sagging skin around the neck and jaw line, the appearance of a double chin or jowls, hollow and sunken cheeks, and deep wrinkles, furrows, and creases. Using an individualized facelift technique, your doctor counteracts these signs of aging by tightening muscle, removing fat, and trimming excess skin, giving your face a fresher, youthful look. After surgery, some patients look 10-15 years younger.
A facelift is most effective treating the visible signs aging of the lower face, cheeks, and neck. Aging changes of the eyes, brows, and forehead must be addressed using a separate procedure. Depending on the operative plan defined by you and your doctor, eyelid surgery, brow lift, and nose surgery can be done in conjunction with a facelift. Some patients may choose more limited procedures such as a minimal incision facelift, minimal scar lift, or a neck lift, which tightens the neck only.
Who is a candidate for a facelift?
The best candidates for facelift surgery include individuals in good general physical health, who do not smoke, and whose faces and necks have begun to sag. Ideal candidates show various other typical signs of aging such as sagging under the chin, jowling, and prominent “laugh” lines, or nasolabial folds. Our doctors are highly experienced in achieving optimal facelift results and will give you a thorough overview of the realistic outcomes that you can expect from your facelift surgery.
The Facelift Procedure
Initial Consultation Prior to Facelift Surgery
At your initial consultation, your doctor will ask you to express your concerns about your overall facial appearance. Your medical history will be reviewed in detail and a thorough physical examination will be conducted to determine if a facelift is best for you. If you are a good candidate for surgery, your doctor and you will discuss how the procedure can correct the specific areas of your concern.
Preparation for Facelift Surgery
Facelift is a major operation, and requires diligent preparation. Your doctor may request that you visit your private medical doctor and for a check-up and for any necessary lab work and x-rays. Precise preoperative instructions will be reviewed, and all necessary prescriptions will be given to you in advance of your facelift surgery. You will be instructed to avoid blood thinning medications, and all aspirin, aspirin-containing products, and anti-inflammatory products (Advil® or ibuprofen, and Aleve®) at least ten days before surgery. In order to promote optimal healing, complete and comprehensive preoperative instructions will be provided for you, detailing which medications to avoid, and which vitamins , minerals, and homeopathic preparations are ok to take prior to and after facelift surgery.
There is plenty of choice in administration of anesthesia for facelift surgery. Most facelifts are performed under general anesthesia, however, light sedation with local anesthesia may be used for patients who are having minimal scar facelift or a less invasive procedure is chosen. Your doctor and our Board-certified anesthesiologists will help you make the decision of which type of anesthesia is best for your facelift surgery.
How Do Our Doctors Do the Facelift Surgery?
A facelift is typically done as an outpatient procedure at Discreet in our Ambulatory Surgery Facility, or in any of a number of New York City hospitals. The procedure usually takes approximately 2 to 3 hours, but it may be combined with other procedures, such as cosmetic eyelid surgery and/or a brow lift, and thus require more operative time to complete.
The way a facelift is performed varies depending on the surgeon, the patient’s facial structure, and the extent of correction desired. The three most common incision techniques are:
• Traditional facelift: The “full” facelift for rejuvenating the face, jowls and neck, including lifting and repositioning of muscle and deeper tissues, and skin trimming and redraping. The incision begins at the temples, travels down anterior to the ear, around the earlobe, and behind the ear to the lower scalp at the hairline. Sometimes, another incision is made under the chin.
• Minimal scar facelift: The limited incision or short scar facelift for limited rejuvenation around the cheeks and mouth, including nasolabial folds and other deep creases. Usually, short incisions are made at the temples and around the ears.
• Neck lift: A neck lift concentrates on the jowls, loose skin of the neck, and fat under the chin. The incision is made around the ear lobe and behind the ear to the lower scalp, and sometimes, an incision is needed below the chin.
In all three methods, incisions are closed with fine stitches and/or tissue glue. In careful consultation with your doctor, an individualized facelift plan will be tailored to achieve maximal facial rejuvenation using scars are hidden in the hairline and natural contours of the face. At the completion of the facelift, a bandage of cotton and linen, and sometimes a coldpack is applied to your face and neck to alleviate swelling and pressure.
Recovery and the Postoperative Period
Usually, no overnight stay is needed after facelift surgery. Our facelift surgery is designed as an outpatient procedure that requires only a short rest in our comfortable recovery suite. When you are fully alert, you will be able to return home in the care of a responsible chaperon. Alternatively, you may choose to stay in an aftercare facility for 1 or 2 nights, where care is provided around the clock by licensed nurses. At Discreet we can arrange for such accommodations for you.
You will be encouraged to keep your head elevated for several days, and to use cold compresses at home to reduce swelling and bruising. Pain medication is prescribed, but is only taken if you feel that it is necessary. The stitches are removed five to seven days following facelift surgery. In most cases the bruising is minimal and resolves after the first or second weeks. You may then resume regular face washing and wearing makeup. Most patients return to work and social activities after one week. Our doctors typically recommend avoidance of strenuous physical exercise for approximately 4 weeks following cosmetic facelift surgery.
Results of Cosmetic Facelift Surgery
The results of facelift surgery are a more youthful, and naturally well-rested appearance without a change in the overall shape or major structure of the face. Facelift surgery results are permanent, though various lifestyle and hereditary factors may impact on your long-term results. The natural aging process will undoubtedly continue, and you may notice a relaxing of the skin of the face in the future. If this occurs, a facelift can be repeated to address these concerns in the future.
How much does facelift surgery cost?
Facelift surgery costs vary depending on exactly what technique is used and which areas are targeted. This will be outlined in detail during your consultation. Financing options are readily available.
What are our patients saying after facelift surgery?
Our facelift surgery patients are thrilled with their more youthful and refreshed appearance. Read what they have to say about the benefits of being a patient at Discreet Plastic Surgery.