What Is A Facelift? Everything You Need To Know About Rhytidectomy
A facelift is one of the most popular and highly requested forms of plastic surgery. This surgical procedure is designed to correct signs of aging in the face and neck and create a more youthful appearance - but how does it actually work?
As we age, it's normal for our skin to lose elasticity, resulting in increased wrinkles and sagging skin. However, many people crave a brighter and more youthful appearance that can't be achieved with anti-aging skincare products alone.
This is where a facelift comes in. In this article, we'll delve into what a facelift is, how the facial rejuvenation surgery works, and what to expect from the procedure.
What is a Facelift (Rhytidectomy)?
A facelift is also known as a rhytidectomy. During this procedure, the surgeon makes incisions either behind the ear or in front of the ear to lift and tighten the skin, which creates a more youthful appearance. They may also remove excess facial skin and adjust the position of your facial tissues to achieve the desired look.
Many patients also opt to get a neck lift with their facelift, although they are two separate procedures. A neck lift uses similar techniques to tighten and remove excess skin from the neck.
How Does A Facelift Procedure Work?
Before you get a facelift, you'll have a consultation with your plastic surgeon. During the consultation, your surgeon will assess your overall health to make sure you're a good candidate for the surgery. They'll also talk to you about your goals and expectations for the surgery, walk you through the process, and answer any questions you may have.
Most facelift procedure are done under general anesthesia but some less-invasive options may use local anesthesia to keep you comfortable. The surgeon will start by making incisions near your ears and hairline. The exact position of the incisions will depend on the shape and structure of your face. with care to minimize visible scarring.
After the incisions have been made, your surgeon will carefully reposition the tissue and muscles of your face to achieve a tighter, more youthful appearance. In some cases, they may also need to remove excess skin and fat before closing the incisions or pair the surgery with CO2 laser resurfacing to minimize the appearance of wrinkles.
A facelift typically takes three to six hours to complete, but is done as an outpatient procedure. During the recovery process, you will likely experience swelling and bruising, as well as mild pain and drainage from the incision sites.
Your surgeon and their team will walk you through the recovery process before you leave the office. You'll typically need to wear bandages and take pain medication for several days after the procedure. You will also need to sleep with your head upright.
Recovery time varies between patients. However, most people are able to return to work or school one to two weeks after surgery. At this point, you'll likely have your first follow-up appointment where your surgeon will remove your stitches.
You'll need to refrain from strenuous exercise until your surgeon informs you it is safe to do so, which usually happens after about four to six weeks. At this point, most of the swelling and pain will have subsided. You'll see the final results of your surgery after about six months.
Types of Facelift Techniques
There are several different types of facelift surgeries. Your doctor will discuss all of the possible options with you during your consultation to help you identify which one is best for your needs. Here are some of the most popular types of facelifts.
A traditional facelift, often called full facelift, focuses on both the face and neck to correct sagging jowls and loose skin throughout the face. It's a good option for patients with large amounts of loose skin.
This cosmetic procedure uses incisions from the ear all the way up to the hairline. It often produces dramatic results, but also has a longer recovery process than some other types of facelifts.
The mini facelift is similar to a traditional facelift but is less invasive and less comprehensive. This procedure uses smaller incisions and focuses mainly on the cheeks, jawline and neck area. With a mini facelift, you'll experience a shorter recovery process with more subtle results.
Deep Plane Facelift
A deep plane facelift is the most invasive and comprehensive form of facelift available, and it often produces very dramatic results. Deep plane facelifts manipulate layers of deep tissue and muscle in the face to address severe sagging and rejuvenate the face. Out of all the facelift options available, a deep plane facelift lasts the longest.
A thread lift is an alternative to surgical facelift procedures. Sterile threads are inserted into the skin through very small incisions and anchored to your tissue. These threads are then pulled to lift the loose skin around the face.
This procedure is best for those looking for a non-surgical option with subtle, natural results and virtually no scarring. However, unlike a surgical facelift, the results are not as long-lasting.
Why Should I Consider Getting A Facelift?
While signs of aging are normal, many patients find that the wrinkles and loose skin that develop over time make them self-conscious. A facelift is a way to correct these signs of aging and help you feel more comfortable and confident in your facial appearance.
Many people use skincare products to try to correct wrinkles, fine lines, and skin laxity, but skincare alone does not generate the results that they're looking for. With a facelift, you can achieve more precise and dramatic results. Facelifts are also long-lasting and don't require much ongoing maintenance.
If you've been feeling unhappy or self-conscious of the way your face looks, or if your facial appearance is affecting your day-to-day life, it's worth scheduling a facelift consultation to learn more about the procedure and whether or not it's the right choice for you.
How Long do Facelift Results Last?
The results of a facelift can last for a number of years, usually between 7 to 10 years, however the natural aging process will continue as usual. The longevity of the results will depend on various factors, including the age, skin type, and lifestyle habits. In some cases, non-invasive treatments such as Botox, dermal fillers, lasers, and chemical peels can also help to prolong the effects of a facelift. Ultimately, the extent and duration of the results from a facelift will vary for each individual.
What Are The Risks Involved With A Facelift?
As with any type of surgery, there are some risks associated with getting a facelift. Your surgeon will discuss these risks with you before you decide on the procedure to ensure you are making a fully informed decision. Risks of facial plastic surgery include:
Infection: If your incisions aren't properly cleaned, they could become infected.
Scarring: In most cases, scars from your facelift won't be visible. However, it's possible that your incisions won't heal properly, resulting in larger scars than you'd like.
Nerve damage: This often comes with numbness or other changes in the sensation of your face.
Hematoma: This is when blood collects under the skin, and it is one of the most common complications of any facelift. A hematoma can be removed safely with surgery, but it needs to be addressed quickly.
Hair loss: Some patients experience temporary or permanent hair loss around their incision site.
While these risks and complications are rare, they are still very important to be aware of. This is why it is so important to choose a plastic surgeon you can trust with extensive experience and stellar credentials.
Am I A Candidate For Facelift?
Not every patient is a candidate for a facelift procedure. This is why the initial consultation is so important. During your consultation, your surgeon will work with you to make sure that the procedure is a good fit.
As with most other cosmetic surgeries, you'll need to be in generally good health, without any underlying conditions that could negatively impact the healing process. Smokers are also typically not eligible for the procedure. While age varies, most patients who receive them are between 40 and 60 years old.
Your doctor will also assess the quality of your skin during your initial consultation. If your skin is very thin and doesn't have much natural elasticity, they may not be able to perform the surgery successfully. You may also not be a good candidate for surgery if you've experienced extensive sun damage.
Your mental health and your expectations for the procedure are also important to consider when deciding whether or not to have surgery. While a facelift can help you feel more comfortable and confident in your appearance, it's not a cure-all for issues you may have in your life. It's very important to make sure that you have realistic expectations for the procedure.
How To Find A Facelift Plastic Surgeon
Since facelifts are an invasive procedure, it's very important to find an experienced surgeon that you feel comfortable with. Finding the right surgeon for your needs can be tricky - here's what to look for when making this decision.
Look for a board-certified plastic surgeon. More specifically, your surgeon should be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
Consider their experience. You'll want to consider how long the surgeon has been in practice and if they have experience working on facelifts like yours. Look at before and after photos from their past surgeries to see if you like the results they can provide.
Assess the facility. You'll also want to consider the facility where you'll be having the procedure. While some surgeons work in hospitals, most work in outpatient clinics. You should make sure that you're comfortable with the environment and the staff.
Have a conversation. It's very important to develop a good rapport with your surgeon, which is why it's so important to have a conversation with them ahead of time. Not only should your surgeon be able to answer your questions, but they should also make you feel comfortable and at ease with their demeanor.
If you're interested in a facelift or other form of plastic surgery, reach out to Dr. Orloff and the team at Burbank Plastic Surgery to schedule a consultation. As a leading plastic surgery provider in the Los Angeles area, we're here to help our patients feel happy and confident in their appearance.