A facelift, also known as a rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure to improve the look of the entire face, restoring a smooth and youthful appearance by removing excess fat, tightening muscles and redraping the skin. If you are looking for a way to address facial aging in a way that is more permanent than other treatments, a facelift may be right for you.
The facelift corrects the following age-related issues:
- Drooping lower cheeks
- Nasolabial folds (deep wrinkles between the corners of the mouth and the corners of the nose) and other wrinkles
- “Turkey wattle” (loose neck skin) or double chin
- Sagging of loose skin on the face
- Sagging of fatty tissue in the face
You may be an ideal candidate for a facelift if you have excess sagging skin and facial wrinkles. As with all medical procedures, excellent candidates are those in good overall health and who have informed, realistic expectations.
An initial consultation with Dr. Minton is the first step to any procedure. There he will discuss your health history and closely examine your face to determine the precise changes to be made and techniques to achieve the most long-lasting and natural-looking results.
If a facelift is right for you, you will be asked to do the following:
- Fast for a minimum of 12 hours prior to the surgery
- Arrange for someone to take you home after the surgery
- Avoid medications like aspirin and warfarin
- Avoid smoking before and after the surgery
Also, if you want to dye or highlight your hair, it’s best to do it before the surgery. You will not be able to treat your hair for a month after the surgery.
THE FACELIFT PROCEDURE
A facelift is a very personalized 3-step process:
- Anesthesia. Before the start of the surgery, anesthesia is administered to the patient to ensure there’s no pain or discomfort during the surgery. The type of anesthesia will be determined prior to surgery.
- Incisions. There are many factors that determine the facelift techniques Dr. Minton will use, including the degree of change desired by the patient and the nature of those changes. Once incisions have been made (generally along the hairline and in the natural creases of the ears), the underlying muscle tissue and fat can be altered as needed.
- Adjustments. Once the incisions have been made, Dr. Minton uses tiny sutures to tighten and contour the muscles beneath the skin. He will also remove any excess fat before delicately redraping the skin so that lies smoothly and tightly over the new contours. Finally, he’ll trim any excess skin and seal the incisions.
- Sealing the incisions. The incisions will be sealed with the help of absorbable or normal stitches in order to help them heal and to keep out any germs, preventing infections.
AFTER THE PROCEDURE
After the facelift, a bandage is placed over the face to minimize bruising and swelling. Plastic tubes may be used to drain any excess fluid and blood to prevent complications.
Dr. Minton will provide careful instructions regarding how to care for the incisions, what medications need to be taken during recovery, follow-up appointments and any temporary lifestyle changes that will help with recovery.
In particular, you will need to rest your head at an incline for the first weeks to avoid swelling. This can be done with the help of multiple pillows placed beneath your head. You will also be asked to avoid any intense physical activities, exposure to the sun, excess touching of the face, medicines such as aspirin and ibuprofen and smoking.
As time progresses, you will see visible improvements which include a younger and more rested appearance.
How long does a facelift take?
A facelift usually takes anywhere between 2 ½ and 3 hours.
How much downtime can I expect after a facelift?
Your bandages will remain in place for 3 days. You’ll also need to keep your head elevated at all times, including at night, to minimize swelling. Most patients feel well enough to return to normal activities within 7 to 10 days; however, more strenuous activities should be avoided for about 4 weeks.
Will it hurt?
The patient doesn’t feel anything during a facelift. Post surgery, patients can experience swelling, bruising and discomfort that will steadily improve over the course of 3 weeks.
Can I have other procedures at the same time as a facelift?
Yes, some patients elect to have additional procedures while undergoing a facelift, such as a blepharoplasty (eyelid lift) or rhinoplasty. Having multiple procedures at once can limit the amount of downtime overall and provide more dramatic results, depending on the patient’s goals.
Will my scars be visible?
The goal for every facelift is to provide the patient with the most natural-looking and longest-lasting results. This includes making incisions in areas where they are not noticeable. Additionally, facelift scars tend to heal flat and close to the skin’s natural coloring, making them virtually invisible.
Is a facelift a better option than fillers or injectables?
Compared to using fillers and injectables for a liquid facelift, a surgical facelift yields more dramatic results that can last 10 to 15 years. (A facelift isn’t considered “permanent” simply because as you age, the appearance of your skin will naturally change.)
HAVE MORE QUESTIONS?
Our skilled, double-board certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Minton is available to discuss a facelift in greater detail during a consultation at our Savannah Facial Plastic Surgery offices in Savannah, Pooler or Bluffton. Arrange your consultation by contacting us today.
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