Facelift and Neck Lift
The most common complaint in patients who undergo a facelift, or rhytidectomy, is that they don’t look as young as they feel. As we age, gravity loosens the ligaments that suspend our face, while the skin of our face and neck continues to grow. A facelift can help to remove excess skin and soft tissue and re-suspend the facial muscles, ligaments and soft tissue of the face and neck. The result is a more refreshed, youthful and natural appearance. Our Board-Certifed Plastic Surgeons pride themselves on not producing stretched, pulled back appearances that you often see in Hollywood stars. In fact, the secret to a good facelift is not appearing if you had anything done. Your friends might not be able to put their finger on it but will simply ask you why you look so refreshed.
Most people are unhappy with the sad and tired appearance of their face. Sagging cheeks and jowls with large wrinkles are the most common indications for a facelift. A facelift typically sets back your appearance 7-10 years. Although it does not stop the aging process, you will always appear 7-10 years younger. After this time, some patients request a “tuck up” procedure, which can help dramatically bring you back to near your original results.
A facelift is performed under general anesthesia which is administered from a Board-Certified Anesthesiologist. Local anesthesia is also used during surgery to help postoperatively with pain. The layers are of the face are first meticulously dissected. They are then suspended in multiple directions to help lift the structures of the face and neck. The excessive fat and skin are removed. The cheek is also re-suspended. The incisions are closed with a perfect technique to help hide the evidence of surgery. The hairline is also preserved so that there is freedom to keep your hair as you please. If you wish, other procedures can be done at the same time as a facelift, such as an eyelid surgery and a forehead lift.
After the surgery is complete, you will have the choice to stay overnight or go home. It is not necessary to stay overnight, but some patients prefer it. A pressure dressing is applied in the operating room that is removed the following day. Then a more breathable pressure dressing is applied that should be worn for about one week, day and night. The sutures are removed between days 5-7. Most patients do not complain of pain during the recovery period. Regular visits are scheduled to check on the surgical site and to help avoid any potential complications. Swelling and mild bruising are expected and typically begins to recede at one week. A short course of steroids may be prescribed to help to bring the swelling down more quickly. Antibiotics and pain medication are also prescribed. Most patients will require a downtime of 10-14 days. If you have a major event, you can expect to have great results by 30 days, although at 90 days, the results are fully achieved.
If a full facelift is not right for you, then there are options that are both surgical and non-surgical. A mini-facelift involves less facial dissection, which in turn results in less swelling and less downtime. The results are not as significant as a full facelift, but this might be appropriate for someone who is more interested in prevention of aging, or someone with minimal signs of aging. There are also some medical conditions in which this might be the better option. A lower facelift only addresses the lower jowls and neck and might be appropriate for someone with minimal upper face aging.
Additionally, if surgery isn’t for you there are a host of injectables and fillers, as well as skin resurfacing procedures that can help achieve your goals. Please ask us about your non-surgical options.
Patients often ask about the “Lifestyle Lift” which has been aggressively marketed as a quick lift with minimal downtime. While it is true, the results are minimal compared to true face and neck lift, and often short-lived. The results last anywhere from 6 months to 2-3 years. And after spending significant sums of money, patients are often unhappy at how minimal the results are.