Aging of the face is inevitable. As the years go by, the skin begins to loosen on the face and neck. Crow's feet appear at the corners of the eyes. Fine forehead lines become creases and then, gradually, deeper folds. The jawline softens into jowls, and beneath the chin, another chin or vertical folds appear at the front of the neck. Heredity, personal habits, the pull of gravity, and sun exposure contribute to the aging of the face. As the aging population grows, it is obvious why rhytidectomy has become the third most desired facial plastic surgical procedure.
If you ever wondered how a rhytidectomy, or facelift, as it is commonly called, could improve your looks or self-confidence, you need to know how a facelift is performed and what you can expect from this procedure. This pamphlet can address many of your concerns and provide you the information you need to begin considering facelift surgery.
Successful facial plastic surgery is a result of good rapport between patient and surgeon. Trust, based on realistic expectations and exacting medical expertise, develops in the consulting stages before surgery is performed. Your surgeon can answer specific questions about your specific needs.
Before deciding on a facelift, you should discuss with your facial plastic surgeon whether the overall effect will be more successful if additional changes are made in the chin and neck areas through other facial surgery. Many patients decide to have facial liposuction to remove excess fatty deposits in conjunction with a facelift. If several flaws need correction, more than one procedure may be necessary for the best overall result.
After the decision to proceed with a rhytidectomy is made jointly by you and your surgeon, the surgeon will describe the technique indicated, the type of anesthesia, the surgical facility, any additional surgery, the pros and cons to include possible complications, and costs of the procedure.
After trimming the excess skin, the surgeon closes the incisions with fine sutures and/or metal clips, which permit surgery without shaving hair from the incision site. Depending on the extent of the surgery, the process can take from two to four hours. When the procedure is performed with a combination of mild sedatives, local anesthesia, and a mild intravenous anesthesia, the patient will experience little discomfort. Some surgeons prefer to use general anesthesia for facelifts. Following the surgery, the surgeon will apply a dressing to protect the entire area where the incisions have been made.
In some cases, a drainage tube may have been inserted during surgery. This will be removed on the first or second day after surgery. All sutures and staples are usually removed within five to 10 days following surgery. Surgeons generally recommend that patients avoid vigorous activity. Patients should prearrange for post-surgery support from family and friends.
Recovery usually takes two to three weeks, though many patients go back to work in two weeks. Scars are usually not noticeable after enough time has passed for them to mature. In any case, they are easily disguised in natural skin creases, by the hair, or, in persistent cases, by makeup until total healing has occurred. Bear in mind that the aging process continues after surgery and that some relaxation of tissues will occur over the first few weeks.
Facial plastic surgery makes it possible to correct many facial flaws and signs of premature aging that can undermine self-confidence. By changing how you look, cosmetic surgery can help change how you feel about yourself.
Insurance does not generally cover surgery that is done purely for cosmetic reasons. Surgery to correct or improve genetic deformity or traumatic injury may be reimbursable in whole or in part. It is the patient's responsibility to check with the insurance carrier for information on the degree of coverage.
© Copyright 2000 American Academy of Facial and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery
|Copyright © 2001-2008 - Deborah Watson, M.D.|