Face Lift (Rhytidectomy)Learn about the factors that affect the cost of surgery
Face lift surgery, also known as a rhytidectomy, is a type of plastic surgery performed to improve the appearance of the face. During the procedure, excess skin or fat may be removed. Remaining tissues are lifted and contoured to provide a younger and rejuvenated appearance. Most face lift patients choose this procedure to counteract the signs of aging, such as sagging and wrinkled skin.
Are You a Good Candidate?
You may be a good candidate for a face lift if you are between the ages of 35 and 65 and have started to notice visible signs of aging such as facial lines, wrinkles, sagging skin, and deep facial folds (laugh lines). Facelifts results are best on those who still have some skin elasticity remaining. As we age, our skin naturally becomes less elastic. For this reason, patients who are over 65 may not achieve the results they desire, although many patients of this age have had successful outcomes.
Prospective patients should be realistic about the results a facelift can achieve. This procedure cannot make you look like an entirely different person, but it can turn back the clock on some of the signs of aging.
In general, facelift patients must be in good overall health and are at or near their ideal weight, although they can be performed on those who are moderately overweight.
The Different Types of Facelifts
There are many different types of face lift procedures. They differ primarily by the type of incision, area of the face, degree of invasiveness and the number of tissue layers treated. During a consultation your plastic surgeon will discuss which option is best for you. Some types of face lift techniques include:
- Deep Plane Face Lift
- SMAS (superficial musculo-aponeurotic system) Lift
- Mini or Short Scar Facelifts
- Midface or Cheek Lift
- Endoscopic Lift
- Thread Lift (Aptos or Feather Lift)
Most face lift techniques focus on the lower areas of the face, such as the jawline, jowls, and cheeks. Some facelifts can also focus on the middle of the face or the forehead. If you wish to focus extensively on the upper portion of the face, a forehead lift or brow lift may be the better option for you.
A typical facelift takes two or more hours depending on the extent of the procedure and the technique used by your plastic surgeon. The procedure is performed in a hospital or state accredited surgery center on an outpatient basis and patients are given general anesthesia. The following is a basic overview of how a facelift procedures are performed.
- The incision line is hidden in the scalp. It starts at the temples and continues around and behind each ear (incisions are made without clipping or shaving hair at the incision site).
- After making the incision, the surgeon raises the skin from the temples, cheeks, and neck.
- Then, your surgeon lifts and repositions the underlying connective tissue and removes excess fat and skin.
- Finally, the surgeon redrapes the skin over the new underlying structure and closes the incisions with stitches and small metal clips.
- Drainage tubes are inserted and bandages are applied.
- If this procedure is performed in conjunction with a neck lift, a small incision is made underneath the chin. The neck muscles are drawn together and stitched together at the middling forming a strong sling of muscles that supports the entire neck and jaw.
- Incisions are closed
Potential Risks, Complications & Side Effects
As with most surgical procedures, facelift surgery comes with potential risks and side effects. Some of these include:
- numbness, swelling or sensitivity
- Scarring or poor wound healing
- Nerve damage
- Facial asymmetry
- Lose skin
- Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
Before moving forward with face lift surgery, be sure you fully understand the potential risks associated with the procedure.
Choosing a Face Lift Surgeon
When looking for a facelift surgeon, make sure they are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), or other association such as the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), or American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). Although a membership in any of these societies or board certification does not guarantee a successful result most certifying boards require extensive medical training and rigorous surgical education which can ensure the most appropriate facelift techniques are used while reducing the risks of complications.