A facelift, or rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure that improves visible signs of aging in the face and neck, such as:
- Relaxation of the skin of the face causing sagging
- Deepening of the fold lines between the nose and corner of the mouth
- Fat that has fallen or has disappeared
- Jowls developing in the cheeks and jaw
- Loose skin and excess fat of the neck that can appear as a double chin or “turkey neck”
The loss of youthful contours in the face can be due to variety of factors, including thinning of the skin, loss of facial fat, gravity, sun damage, smoking, as well as heredity and stress.
Other procedures that might be performed in conjunction with a facelift are brow lift and eyelid surgery to rejuvenate aging eyes. Fat transfer or fillers may be suggested to replace the lost fatty volume. Skin treatments such as IPL, dermabrasion, peels or laser may be offered to improve the quality and texture of the skin.
Who is a good candidate for a facelift?
Facelift surgery is a highly individualized procedure. You should do it for yourself, not to fulfill someone else’s desires or to try to fit any sort of ideal image.
Who is a good candidate for facelift surgery?
In general, good candidates for a facelift include:
- Healthy individuals who do not have medical conditions that impair healing
- Individuals with a positive outlook and realistic expectations
What should I expect during a consultation for a facelift?
During your facelift consultation be prepared to discuss:
- Your surgical goals
- Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
- Current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drug use
- Previous surgeries
Your surgeon will also:
- Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
- Discuss your facelift options
- Examine and measure your face
- Take photographs
- Recommend a course of treatment
- Discuss likely outcomes of a facelift and any risks or potential complications
- Discuss the type of anesthesia that will be used
The consultation is the time to ask your plastic surgeon questions. To help, we have prepared a checklist of questions to ask your facelift surgeon that you can take with you to your consultation.
It’s important to understand all aspects of your facelift surgery. It’s natural to be nervous about it, whether it’s excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don’t be shy about discussing these feelings with your plastic surgeon.
What are the risks of facelift surgery?
The decision to have plastic surgery is extremely personal and you will have to weigh the potential benefits in achieving your goals with the risks and potential complications of facelift surgery. Only you can make that decision for yourself.
You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure and any risks and potential complications.
Facelift risks, while rare, include:
- Anesthesia risks
- Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
- Facial nerve injury with weakness
- Fluid accumulation
- Numbness or other changes in skin sensation
- Persistent pain
- Poor wound healing and skin loss
- Prolonged swelling
- Skin irregularities and discoloration
- Sutures may spontaneously surface through the skin, become visible or produce irritation that require removal
- Temporary or permanent hair loss at the incisions
- Unfavorable scarring
- Unsatisfactory results may include asymmetry, unsatisfactory surgical scar location and unacceptable visible deformities at the ends of the incisions
These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It is important that you address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon.
How should I prepare for a facelift?
In preparing for a facelift, you may be asked to:
- Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
- Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
- Apply certain products to the facial skin preoperatively
- Stop smoking
- Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding and bruising
A facelift may be performed in an accredited office-based surgical facility, licensed ambulatory surgical center, or a hospital. You must arrange for a friend or family member to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you the first night following surgery.
What should I expect during my facelift recovery?
Following completion of a facelift, a bandage might be placed around your face to minimize swelling and bruising. Small tubes may be present to draw off any excess blood or fluid.
You will be given specific instructions on how to care for the surgical site and drains, medications to apply or take orally, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health and when to follow up with your plastic surgeon.
Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your recovery period.
- Where will I be taken after my surgery is complete?
- What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?
- Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery?
- When will they be removed?
- When will the stitches be removed?
- When can I wash my face and wear make-up?
- When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
- When can I color my hair or get a haircut?