Facelift (aka Lower Facelift/Rhytidectomy)
Purpose : To improve the overall appearance of the face and neck.
Incision : Located around the ears and in the hair behind the ear.
Anesthesia : Local anaesthesia plus IV sedation
Recovery : Depends on patient.
- Typically 2-3 weeks before regaining normal appearance, depending on any other procedures done in conjunction with this procedure
- Final healing takes around 6 months
Cost : $$$$$
Overview: The primary goal of a facelift is to reduce the overall signs of aging in the face, particularly in the jowls and neck. During a facelift, tissue layers are separated, which elevates deep tissues, removes redundant skin, contouring and removing fat.
Approach: During this procedure, a substantial amount of time is spent attending to fat in and around the patient’s face and neck, which plays an important role in the shape of the face. Fat is removed from some areas and added to others to create an attractive, youthful appearance. It is important to retain a proper amount of fat to maintain healthy skin and add contour to the face. By lifting and reshaping tissues rather than stretching them as some facial plastic surgeons do, I am able to avoid the swept look that some patients experience after a facelift. Incisions are fashioned to be as subtle as possible, and no hair is removed in the process. All incisions are sutured following the procedure, and staples are never used.
Anasthesia Options: Patients are able to choose between local anesthesia only or IV sedation for their procedure. Local anesthesia involves around 10 seconds of pain as the anesthetic is infiltrated into the tissues. The advantage to local anesthesia (alone or in combination with a “valium” pill) is the minimal recovery from anesthesia. Another advantage to local anesthesia is that a patient is awake and able to view different size implant test fittings during the procedure using a mirror. IV sedation allows the patient to sleep throughout the entire procedure for an anxiety and pain free experience.
- The week following the procedure, patients should remain sedentary
- After one week, a very gradual return to activity ensues
- Patients may gradually return to full activity in around one month
- Full recovery typically takes +/- 6 months, depending on patient
- Patients are prescribed pain medications as well as sedatives to minimize discomfort
- Sutures are removed one week after surgery
After surgery, a dressing is placed around the patient’s head. It does not cover the patient’s eyes, nose, or mouth, allowing them to see, talk, and eat. The head dressing is removed the day after the procedure, and a member of our team will shampoo the patient’s hair and give instructions for tending to the incisions. A drain is used in recovery for one night after the surgery.
This procedure rarely results in extensive pain, however some find the snug head dressing a bit uncomfortable. Patients wear an elastic band for 4 days following procedure, which can be removed while bathing.
Activity after the surgery is limited. Patients may move about at will but should abstain from any sort of strenuous activity. Eventually, patients can slowly begin to participate in activities that involve the pulling of the neck and shoulder area (tennis, golf, weight lifting). Driving should be limited, as it requires excessive neck movement.
The incision lines are visible for the first few months, and can be disguised with makeup. Patients typically experience numbness in the cheek and neck area that can last for several months. While subtle swelling can persist for about 6 months, the bulk of the swelling will subside within 6 weeks.
Risks: Risks that could potentially occur with this surgery include:
- Excessive bleeding
- Anesthesia complications
- Nerve injury
- Insufficient blood flow to the facial skin, called skin flap ischemia or skin flap necrosis.
Necrosis is a permanent injury, while ischemia is temporary. Life threatening complications associated with this surgery are generally limited to anaesthesia, which is why we use the least amount of anaesthetics possible while ensuring sound sleep during the procedure.