A facelift is a cosmetic surgery used to improve the look of your brow, face, and neck. Also called a rhytidectomy, a facelift involves lifting the facial soft tissues, removing excess skin, tightening underlying tissues, and positioning skin over new contours. A neck lift (platysmaplasty), eyelid surgery, and/or brow lift are often done along with the facelift.
You may choose to have a facelift when:
You will first meet with the plastic surgeon for an initial consultation. The doctor will:
To prepare for your facelift surgery you will need to:
Because a facelift is a unique and individual surgery, techniques used to reposition facial and neck tissues vary. Depending on your face shape, problem areas, and desired results, the plastic surgeon determines the best location for the incisions so scarring is minimal. With the traditional facelift, you are given a local anesthetic to help with postoperative pain and incisions are made at the hairline, starting at the temples and continuing around the front of the ears ad in the lower scalp. With a limited-incision facelift, the doctor only makes small incisions in the hairline and around the ear.
After making incisions, the doctor redistributes and sculpts facial, neck, and jowl fat to the underlying tissues. To remove excess fat, liposuction may be used. The doctor inserts a small hollow cannula and uses suction power to remove fat cells. The fat can be used to plump hollow areas of the face. After all changes are made, small drains may be inserted, and the incisions are closed using sutures. The doctor will apply bandages and a compression wrap to the face.
You are monitored in the recovery room for around 45 minutes. Expect to have some soreness, bruising, and swelling. You will rest with your head elevated at home to decrease fluid accumulation, and use cold packs to help with discomfort (20 minutes on/off, DO NOT leave them on while you sleep). You are not permitted to soak in a tub or sauna until wounds have healed, and expect to return to the surgeon’s office for bandage, drain, and suture removal in 1-7 days. It is important to move about your home, but avoid strenuous activities for 4-6 weeks.
In a recent study of patients who had facelifts, researchers found that all patients were satisfied with their physical appearance and would have the procedure again. The clients reported improved facial appearance, enhanced quality of life, and better psychological well-being. Overall on average, patients felt they appeared 7 years younger than their real age.
Sinno S, Schwitzer J, Anazai L, & Thorne CH (2015). Face-Lift Satisfaction Using the FACE-Q. Plast Reconstr Surg, 136(2), 239-242.