The definition of a Rhytidectomy, or what is commonly termed a “facelift,” has changed somewhat in recent years, as more non-invasive surgical methods have emerged. Whether these newer methods are better than traditional practices still is a matter of individual preference. Rhytidectomy, in its truest sense, refers to a surgical method of tightening the skin of the face, neck and underlying muscles by making incisions and excising excess tissue to yield a more youthful appearance. However done, the objective of such a procedure is to reduce or eliminate deep lines and sagging skin on the face that are often caused by sun damage, aging, stress and even smoking. Depending on what is needed, either a full facelift or a partial facelift is done.
WHAT IT DOES: Reduces or eliminates deep lines and sagging on the face and neck, that are often caused by sun damage or aging.
BEST CANDIDATES: Men and women who have sustained premature aging because of sun exposure, or have wrinkled skin, deep facial lines, or sagging, excess skin.
LENGTH OF SURGERY: On average, two to four hours
RECOVERY: Dressings may typically be removed within 24 hours of surgery, although it is common to redress the surgical incision area with smaller bandages that can often be flesh-colored to camouflage their appearance. Sutures are usually removed within a week with swelling lasting no more than two weeks, but this can vary depending on individual case.
BACK TO WORK: Normally this varies with each patient. As swelling and bruising may be visible, it can be from five to ten days, sometimes more.
As men and women normally age their skin begins to show the effects of decreased collagen production as well as the effects of accelerated skin damage due to sun exposure or harsh climates. The result is that the texture of the facial dermis changes. Wrinkles form when one frowns, or smiles, and facial muscles begin to naturally sag and droop. Depending on individual circumstances, a facelift can reduce the visible lines and sagging skin on one’s face and yield a more youthful look.
The procedure involves making an incision behind the hairline, near the temples. In most cases, the surgeon will tie back the hair in this region to expose the scalp, giving him the ability to make an incision within the hair strands, yet be able to close the incision after the procedure and easily cover sutures within the hairline. The incision he makes will continue downward, just in front of the ear, terminating just behind the ear lobe, where any scars, if visible at all, would be least noticeable. Once the entry incisions have been made, the facial skin is separated from the underlying muscle and retracted up and back. Underlying muscles are tightened then excess skin is removed, eliminating wrinkles and excess folds. Surplus tissue is then carefully excised and the area closed with small suture layers. Immediately afterwards, and for a few months after the procedure one may feel numbness in the general area, but as innervation proceeds during the healing process this will go away. Any minorincision lines also will fade in most instances.
During the recovery process, generally you will feel little pain, and any discomfort you do feel can be easily controlled with medications that your surgeon will prescribe. Bruising is slight, as is swelling. The area should be kept clean and you should avoid any exposure to sunlight as this can exacerbate scarring.