*Content provided by the American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS)
What is a Facelift?
The loss of youthful contours in the face can be due to a variety of factors, including heredity, gravity, environmental conditions, and stress. A facelift, or rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure that improves visible signs of aging in the face and neck, such as:
Sagging in the middle of your face
Deep creases below the lower eyelids
Deep creases along the nose extending to the corner of the mouth
Fat that has fallen or has disappeared
Loss of skin tone in the lower face that creates jowls
Loose skin and excess fatty deposits under the chin and jaw can give even a person of normal weight the appearance of a double chin
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
Rejuvenation procedures typically performed in conjunction with a facelift are brow lift, to correct a sagging or deeply furrowed brow, and eyelid surgery to rejuvenate aging eyes.
What it won’t do: As a restorative surgery, a facelift does not change your fundamental appearance and cannot stop the aging process. A facelift can only be performed surgically; non-surgical rejuvenation treatments cannot achieve the same results, but may help delay the time at which a facelift becomes appropriate and complement the results of surgery.
Step 1 – Anesthesia
Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.
A variety of other procedures can further enhance the outcome of a facelift. They include:
Facial implants or fat transfer
Soft tissue augmentation to recontour the facial structure
Resurfacing techniques to improve the tone and texture of facial skin
Wrinkle reduction by injection of fat or fillers
Step 2 – The incision
Depending on the degree of change you’d like to see, your facelift choices include a traditional facelift, limited incision facelift or a neck lift. A traditional facelift incision often begins in the hairline at the temples, continues around the ear and ends in the lower scalp. Fat may be sculpted or redistributed from the face, jowls and neck, and underlying tissue is repositioned, commonly the deeper layers of the face and the muscles are also lifted. Skin is re-draped over the uplifted contours and excess skin is trimmed away. A second incision under the chin may be necessary to further improve an aging neck. Sutures or skin adhesives close the incisions.
An alternative to a traditional facelift uses shorter incisions at the temples, continuing around the ear and possibly within the lower eyelids or under the upper lip.
Step 3 – Closing the incisions
Once healed, the incision lines from a facelift are well concealed within the hairline and in the natural contours of the face and ear.
Step 4 – See the results
The visible improvements of a facelift appear as swelling and bruising subside. Your final result should not only restore a more youthful and rested appearance, but also help you feel more confident about yourself.