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Rhytidectomy (Facelift)


Definition
Surgery to repair sagging, drooping, and wrinkled skin of the face and neck, to improve visible signs of aging, poor diet, or heredity; it is performed by removing excess fat, tightening underlying muscles, and redraping facial and neck skin. A facelift restores smoother, more pleasing contours to your face and neck. It can help you look as good as you feel, and perhaps feel younger than you are.

Frequently Asked Questions and Issues on Rhytidectomy (Facelift):

Am I a good candidate for a facelift?
One or more of the following conditions may indicate that you are a good candidate for a facelift:

  • a deep line, or fold, running from the corner of your nose to the corner of your mouth.
  • jowls, or loss of a well-defined jawline associated with youthfulness.
  • deep wrinkles in the cheeks and sagging of the "highlight" areas of the cheekbones.
  • loose skin, wrinkles, vertical "cords" or excess fatty tissue in the neck.

A facelift can improve all of these problems. It cannot, however, correct conditions such as sagging eyebrows, excess skin and fatty deposits in the upper and lower eyelids, or wrinkles around the mouth. Your plastic surgeon can provide further information if you have an interest in other procedures to treat these areas.

Your Personal Consultation
During the initial consultation, you may be asked to look in a mirror and point out those areas of your face which you would like to see improved. You should be very frank in discussing what you hope to achieve with surgery. This will help your surgeon to understand your expectations and determine whether they can realistically be achieved.

How will my plastic surgeon evaluate me for facelift surgery?
In evaluating you for facelift surgery, your plastic surgeon will assess the thickness, texture and elasticity of your skin, and the severity of wrinkles and folds. Your hairline will be examined to determine where incisions can be discreetly placed. All of these factors, as well as your bone structure and underlying tissues, will be considered in developing an individual surgical plan.

Your plastic surgeon may discuss with you additional procedures that can be performed along with a facelift in order to address all the concerns you have identified. For example, a facelift is frequently combined with a forehead lift, eyelid surgery, nose reshaping or skin treatments such as a chemical peel, dermabrasion or laser resurfacing.

How a Facelift is Performed?
Because of individual factors, not everyone will achieve the same results from a facelift. Your plastic surgeon will select the surgical technique that he or she feels will obtain the best outcome for you.

Where are the facelift incisions placed?
Although there are many variations to the facelift procedure, generally an incision is hidden in the natural contour of your ear, then extends around the earlobe and back into the hairline. Following surgery, incisions can be easily concealed by your hair or with makeup. There may also be a small incision hidden underneath your chin.

How is my plastic surgeon able to restore a firmer, fresher look to my face?
Through the discreet facelift incisions, your plastic surgeon is able to free the skin from the underlying tissues to the extent necessary for the particular surgical technique selected. After the skin has been pulled up and back, the excess is removed. In some instances, the deeper tissues may also need to be repositioned in order to restore a more youthful contour to your face. If necessary, a small incision beneath the chin permits the removal of fatty tissue in that area and smoothing of the cord-like structures of the underlying muscle in the neck.

Understanding Risks
Fortunately, significant complications from facelifts are infrequent. Every year, many thousands of people undergo successful facelift surgery, experience no major problems and are pleased with the results. Anyone considering surgery, however, should be aware of both the benefits and risks.

I understand that every surgical procedure has risks, but how will I learn more so that I can make an informed decision?
The subject of risks and potential complications of surgery is best discussed on a personal basis between you and your surgeon, or with a staff member in your surgeon's office.

Some of the potential complications that may be discussed with you include hematoma (an accumulation of blood under the skin that may require removal), infection and reactions to anesthesia. While plastic surgeons are trained in techniques for safely manipulating facial skin and tissue, injury to underlying structures is possible, though it is usually only temporary. Facelift incisions are most often inconspicuous, but this is not entirely predicable due to individual variations in healing.

You can help minimize certain risks by following the advice and instructions of your plastic surgeon, both before and after surgery.

Your Surgical Experience
The goal of your plastic surgeon and the entire staff is to make your surgical experience as easy and comfortable for you as possible.

How should I prepare for surgery?
If you are a smoker, you will be asked to stop smoking well in advance of surgery. Aspirin and certain anti-inflammatory drugs can cause increased bleeding, so you should avoid taking these medications for a period of time before surgery. your surgeon will advise you and provide additional preoperative instructions. If your hair if very short, you may want to let it grow enough to cover your incisions while they heal. If you are overweight you have a realistic desire to lose more that 15 pounds, you should discuss this with your surgeon.

If your facelift will be performed on an outpatient basis, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home and to stay with you at least the first night following surgery.

What will the day of surgery be like?
Your facelift may be performed in a hospital, free-standing ambulatory facility or office-based surgical suite.

Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. You and your plastic surgeon will have decided in advance what type of anesthesia is to be used, either intravenous sedation or general anesthesia. For your safety during the operation, various monitors are used to check your heart, blood pressure, pulse and the amount of oxygen circulation in your blood.

When surgery is completed, you will be taken into a recovery area where you will continue to be closely monitored. A bandage may have been wrapped around your face to be closely monitored. A bandage may have minimize swelling. Sometimes small tubes will have been inserted beneath the skin to drain away fluids that might otherwise accumulate, but you will not feel these at all. It fact, there is surprisingly little discomfort from the surgery.

You probably will be permitted to go home after a few hours, although some patients may stay overnight in the hospital or surgical facility.

How will I look and feel initially?
It is important to realize that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly among individuals.

After surgery, you will be asked to restrict your activities and simply relax for a few days. Elevating your head when you sleep will help to minimize swelling and bruising. Remember, you must not take aspirin or certain anti-inflammatory medications, and you should not smoke or be exposed to heavy secondary smoke for a while.

Any bandages and drain tubes will usually be removed in one or two days. At that time, you will notice puffiness and discoloration which may be more pronounced in some portions of your face than others. Do not be alarmed by any unevenness or temporary asymmetry caused by this variance in swelling and bruising, which is perfectly normal. Generally, the greatest amount of swelling occurs 24 to 48 hours after surgery, but it may take several weeks before all puffiness is resolved. Most bruising will disappear within two weeks. After a few days, you will be permitted to wear makeup which will help conceal and discoloration. You will also experience some numbness in the facial area, which may be present for several weeks or longer. Your stitches will be removed from four to seven days after surgery.

When can I resume my normal activities?
Straining, bending and lifting should be avoided during the early postoperative period. In many instances, you will be able to resume most of your normal activities within two weeks and begin to exercise three to four weeks after surgery. You will be instructed to temporarily avoid exposure to direct sunlight and, for the long-term, to be conscientious about the use of a sunblock to protect your skin.

Results of Your Facelift
The results of your facelift may be dramatic or subtle, depending on how you look before surgery as well as the specific goals that you and your plastic surgeon have established. Since the healing process is gradual, you should expect to wait at least several weeks for an accurate picture of your "new look." Additional minor changes, or settling, may occur over several months.

How long will the results last?
How long the results of your facelift will last depends of many variables including your heredity and lifestyle factors. Even though the aging process continues, patients are usually happy with their appearance for many years following a facelift. Some patients find that they want to make additional improvements at a later time.

Maintaining a Relationship with Your Plastic Surgeon
You will return to your plastic surgeon's office for follow-up care at prescribed intervals, at which time your progress will be evaluated. Once the immediate postoperative follow-up is complete, many surgeons encourage their patients to come back for periodic checkups to observe and discuss the long-term results of surgery.

Please remember that the relationship with your plastic surgeon does not end when you leave the operating room. If you have questions or concerns during your recovery, or need additional information at a later time, you should contact your surgeon.

This information is only intended as an introduction to this procedure. It should not be used to determine whether you will have the procedure performed nor to guarantee the result. The best method of determining your options would be to consult surgeons who are accessible to you to answer all your questions. If you have any questions or clarification from the above literature or would like to know more about this clinical procedure, click here to find ways to contact Dr. Abraham. Please read our disclaimer for your guidance.


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