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Facelift (Rhytidectomy)

What is a Facelift?

As the aging process occurs, soft tissue of the middle and lower face descends. This leads to loss of middle face volume, appearance of jowls, and loss of facial definition. A facelift is a surgical procedure designed to re-elevate aging and drooping soft tissues of the middle and lower face. In addition, a facelift dramatically diminishes associated lines and wrinkles. The goal of every facelift is to create a more youthful shape and appearance of the face and overlying skin.

Who is a candidate for a Facelift?

You may want to consider a facelift if you have:

  • Loose and drooping skin of the middle and lower face
  • Appearance of jowls around the jaw line
  • Deep nasolabial folds and lines around the mouth and chin

How is a Facelift Performed?

A facelift can be performed under local anesthesia, but it is typically performed under general anesthesia to allow for improved patient comfort and improved surgical outcomes. Incisions are placed around the front of the ear and in the hairline behind the ear. Through these incisions, the skin of the middle and lower face is elevated. Underlying soft tissues are similarly elevated and repositioned at a higher position on the face. Excess skin is excised and a combination of surgical clips, absorbable sutures and permanent sutures are used to close the incisions. A facelift can be combined with a neck lift, blepharoplasty, brow lift, facial implant or fat grafting for comprehensive treatment of the aging face.

Although a facelift can re-elevate lax tissues and improve deep lines and wrinkles, it does not address the texture and quality of the skin. Following a facelift, adjunctive procedures including laser treatments and chemical peels can be used to resurface the skin, resulting in a significant enhancement of the overall results.

Risks

All surgery is associated with risks. Risks associated with facelifts include bleeding and hematoma (blood clot) formation. This risk is higher in patients with elevated blood pressure, therefore blood pressure is closely monitored and controlled in the perioperative setting. Nerve damage occurs rarely and is usually temporary, although it can result in permanent numbness and muscle weakness. Additional complications include skin necrosis, scarring, and need for revisional procedures. It is important to talk with Dr. Rovelo about the risks of your surgery and how the risks can be minimized to provide the best possible outcome.

Recovery

Facelifts are performed in the outpatient surgical setting and take about 4 hours to perform. Patients will have drains placed at the time of surgery and will frequently go to an aftercare facility following their procedure. Depending on drainage, the drains will often be removed the following day. Patients will wear a soft head wrap until seen in clinic several days later. The head wrap will frequently be continued until the one-week visit, at which time sutures and surgical clips will be removed. Swelling and bruising typically persist for 2 weeks, although residual swelling may take up to 6 weeks to fully resolve. Most patients can return to public life, light activity, and work after 2 weeks.