A facelift (Rhytidectomy) is a surgical procedure to repair sagging, drooping, and wrinkled skin of the face and neck.
As you age, facial muscles loosen and skin becomes less elastic, creating folds and lines. A facelift operation can give you a more alert and youthful appearance by reducing saggy skin and wrinkles.
Facelifts can lift your whole face (a full facelift) or just your brow area, lower face, or neck. The effects of a facelift usually last for seven to 10 years but your face will continue to age. You'll get the best results if you maintain a stable body weight, have skin with good levels of elasticity, don't smoke and have good bone structure.
The operation can take up to six hours. There are different facelift techniques.
Traditional facelift: In a traditional facelift, your surgeon will make a surgical cut in your hairline, down past the front of your ears and then up into the hairline again behind the ears. Cuts may also be made under your chin if you want to lift a sagging jawline.
Your skin is carefully separated from the underlying tissues. Excess fat will be then removed or repositioned. The muscles or surrounding tissues in your face can also be tightened. Surgeon will finally lift your skin, pull it back and trim off any excesses.
Your skin is then stitched back to the line where the cut was initially made.
Afterwards, your face is wrapped in bandages. Depending on the exact procedure, these may run under your chin, around your ears and/or over your head. They are usually taken off after a day or two, before you go home.
Fine plastic drainage tubes may be left in the wounds, usually behind your ears, for a day or two afterwards. These allow blood and fluids to drain into a bag. Minimal-access cranial suspension (MACS): In this type of procedure, the surgical cuts are shorter than for a traditional facelift. The cuts are just made in your temple and in front of your ears. Excess fat is removed and the muscles are tightened using permanent stitches.
Keyhole surgery: In Keyhole surgery, your surgeon makes several incisions into your skin. Special operating instruments and a narrow, flexible, tube-like telescopic camera called an endoscope are passed through the cuts, and the surgeon does the operation by looking at pictures sent from the endoscope to a monitor.
This type of surgery leaves smaller scars and usually means a shorter recovery time. Its most commonly carried out for upper face or brow lifts. Your surgeon will let you know whether this type of surgery is suitable for you.
After the face lift procedure, the doctor may temporarily place a small, thin drainage tube under the skin behind the ear to drain any blood that might collect there. Your head will be wrapped loosely in bandages to minimize bruising and swelling. You will not face much discomfort after the surgery, and you can relieve any discomfort with medication. Some numbness on the skin is normal and will disappear in a few weeks or months.
Your head will be raised on two pillows (or at a 30-degree angle) for a couple of days after surgery to keep the swelling down. The drainage tube will be removed 1 - 2 days after surgery if one is inserted. Bandages are usually removed after 1 - 5 days. Your face will look pale, bruised, and puffy, but in 4 - 6 weeks it will look normal.
Most of the stitches will be removed in 5 days. The stitches or metal clips in the hairline might be left for a few extra days if the scalp takes longer to heal.
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