Many factors cause the skin to wrinkle and sag (i.e., exposure to the sun, genetics as well as the natural aging process). Children and young adults have smooth, round faces due to fatty tissue that is evenly distributed throughout the contours of the face. As you age, the skin sags and fits more loosely. These folds become prominent, especially around the chin, the jaw line, and along the neck.
An oral surgeon performs rhytidectomies, or facelifts, to enhance your appearance and correct these conditions. A facelift involves tightening of the facial and neck muscles as well as the removal of any excess skin. The procedure is often performed in conjunction with additional cosmetic surgeries such as blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), forehead lift, chin augmentation, liposuction, and/or rhinoplasty (nasal surgery). These procedures can be performed any time after signs of aging appear in order to attain a more youthful appearance.
We will evaluate your medical history in order to determine your overall health. Your surgeon will discuss with you how your face can look and what you can expect from surgery. Our objective is to create a natural appearance that is pleasing to you. Photographs and computer imaging are performed to determine the amount of improvement after surgery.
We will provide you with preoperative instructions that may include the elimination of specific drugs containing aspirin several weeks before surgery to minimize excess bleeding. Antibiotics may also be prescribed to prevent infection. You may be instructed to shampoo your hair the night before surgery. A small amount of hair may be shaved around your ears and temples.
A rhytidectomy can be performed under IV sedation or general anesthesia in our state-of-the-art surgical facility. These options will be discussed in detail with you. Premedication is administered for relaxation. Incisions are made inside the hairline at the temple, running in front of the ear then around the earlobe and behind the ear, ending in the hair of the scalp. The loose skin is separated from underlying tissue and is pulled up and back. Excess skin is removed. Sagging muscles and connective tissues are tightened. In some cases, fatty deposits are removed from beneath the chin and neck. Small sutures are used to close the incisions. The procedure may take up to five hours depending on whether any other procedures are performed at the same time.
It is recommended that you stay one night in the recovery care center to receive specialized care from the nursing staff. Bandages are applied to the area of surgery and are removed within a few days. Pain is moderate and controlled with oral medications. Your sutures are removed within the first five to ten days. In order to minimize scarring, the doctor may remove the sutures in stages. Scarring fades quickly. Swelling and discoloration decrease within two weeks. Tightness in your face will be present for several weeks and there may be slight changes in your hair pattern around the incision.
It is recommended that you avoid the sun for several weeks after surgery. Healing is gradual so you will not notice final results for up to six months. Improvement varies, depending on the your initial condition. In most cases, a single procedure achieves the desired results. Most patients who have had facelifts are pleased with their new, more youthful appearance.