A facelift (rhytidectomy) operation is performed to raise and tighten the facial skin thereby eliminating or decreasing overhanging folds or lines. A facelift (rhytidectomy) also aims to correct the effects of aging by tightening and relocating muscles which have stretched and drooped and by removing redundant deposits of fat.
The standard facelift (rhytidectomy) operation is effective in the neck, chin, cheeks and temporal regions. A facelift is the best solution for you if you are faced with a sagging forehead and brow or heavy upper eyelids or sagging cheeks or jowls or a deep nasolabial fold.
What is the actual procedure?
The facelift operation usually takes between two and three hours to complete and is performed under general anesthetic although some patients prefer to have local anesthetic with sedation (twilight anesthetic).
Before any incisions are made the surgeon will inject local anesthetic and adrenaline solution beneath the skin. The incision begins in the temple behind the hairline, curves downwards to the top of the ear and then follows the crease in front of the ear. It then proceeds underneath the earlobe and turns upwards in the groove behind the ear to finally extend horizontally inside the hairline towards the back of the head.
The skin of the face and neck is gently lifted from the underlying deeper tissues to free it and allow it to be stretched and pulled upwards. Any excess fat in the neck that causes a double chin is removed by liposuction. The superficial muscles of the lower portion of the face and neck are tightened to firm the jawline, cheek, and midface.
Once the lifted skin is suitably pulled and stretched upwards, the excess is trimmed and the skin edges are then stitched or stapled. Before closing the incisions, drains (thin plastic tubes with small holes) are positioned under the skin to suck out any secretions of blood or serum which could collect under the skin. The purpose of these drains is to reduce bruising and facilitate healing.
Finally, dressings are applied over the incision lines and the face is bandaged.
What can I expect after the procedure?
Many patients experience a sensation of tightness or numbness. This is due to slight damage to the nerve fibers. After 6 to 12 weeks the nerve fibers will all grow back. Many patients lose weight from a decrease in appetite as well as an increased metabolism from healing. Having a drain under the skin flaps for 24 hours reduces the severity of bruising. Full recovery can take several weeks but you should be fit to continue your normal activities within a few days and be confident to appear in public after about a week. You can look years younger and this can be a great boost to your confidence. The improvement in appearance can be dramatic and is usually even more so when combined with the removal of eye bags (blepharoplasty), dermabrasion or other surface skin treatments to the upper lip.
Is there any other non-invasive procedure instead of a facelift?
Once significant sagging or ageing occurs there is no current non-invasive technology available which can effectively lift the sagging tissues of the face. A facelift is currently the only effective option.