The face lift is probably the most well known cosmetic surgery. It’s proper name is ‘rhytidectomy’ and in recent years has grown in popularity. What was once a treatment afforded only by the rich and famous, is now an option for much of the general population.
The traditional facelift – or rhytidectomy, to use it’s proper name – staves off facial aging in a way that other facial treatments do not. Whereas non-surgical facelift options last for a limited period of time only, the surgical face lift can last for a decade.
When deciding whether a facelift is right for you, it is important to get all of the facts. The facelift is considered major surgery and is a decision that is not to be taken lightly. The healing process can be lengthy and require a considerable amount of time off work. There are other procedures that prevent facial aging for a shorter amount of time and you may want to consider these first. Such procedures include fillers or injections of fat to add volume to the face, but the results are not as effective as a rhytidectomy.
The facelift targets sagging, aging facial skin. An aging face has five main components: Gravity, a loss or lack of skin elasticity, a loss of volume in the face and cheeks, changes in pigmentation (age spots), and fine lines/wrinkles.
These five components can be treated with many different procedures. Hollow cheeks, wrinkles, and folds can be treated with injectables. Collagen injections and Botox can also be used to treat wrinkles, as can laser skin resurfacing. This type of skin resurfacing technique can also be used to treat pigmentation changes. Laugh lines (nasolabial folds) can be filled out with injectables; the two mains types of injectables are Juvederm and Restylane. The lack or loss of skin elasticity, and the effect of gravity on the face, can only be treated with a facelift.
Before your face lift surgery (Rhytidectomy),you will have an initial consultation with your surgeon to determine whether you are a suitable candidate for this procedure. During this consultation you will be asked to give details of your medical history. An assessment of your bone structure will be carried out. This assessment will also include an evaluation of your skin elasticity, any folds and wrinkles, and your hairline (to determine where the incision will be made). You can expect that your surgeon will also take some photographs.
This is your opportunity to discuss any concerns you have and ask any burning questions. Your surgeon will discuss your expectations with you and talk through what you can expect during and after the face lift procedure.
Facelifts can achieve many different results. If you are concerned about sagging, creases below the eyelids or along the nose, or loose skin under the jaw and chin, then it is reasonable to expect that a face lift will correct the problem.
If, after discussing your hopes, concerns, and expectations, you are happy to go ahead with a facelift, your surgery will be scheduled. Your surgeon will talk through some instructions or guidelines for you to follow in the run up to surgery, so it is important that you understand these instructions.
The guidelines you are asked to follow may include that you stop taking some of your medication, as it may increase the risk of bleeding during surgery. For this reason, it is important to share all details of your medication with your surgeon, including any herbal remedies you might be using. Your surgeon may ask that you bring everything you are taking with you when you meet, along with any supplements and vitamins. This is to ensure that nothing you are taking will present, or increase any risks during the procedure.
Your surgeon may recommend that you begin taking certain medications in the weeks before surgery. Certain homeopathic remedies can help reduce facelift swelling and bruising.
You will be given advice about what to eat and drink, and what to avoid. You may also be asked to quit smoking, in which case you may want to ask about what nicotine replacement products are available.
There are many types of facelift(Rhytidectomy) and so the procedure will differ depending on which type of facelift is being carried out. There are quite a few similarities however.
While a facelift (rhytidectomy) does not usually require a lengthy stay in hospital, it is considered major plastic surgery and as such can sometimes require an overnight stay.
You may experience some discomfort, which can be easily managed with prescription pain relief. There may also be some puffiness and swelling after facelift around the eyelids. Athough a large amount of dressing is applied, it is usually removed within a day. An elastic wrap will be applied at this point.
It is important to be aware of what you can expect to see after the procedure. There will be heavy bruising to the face and tubing may be needed – in some cases, for several days – to drain excess blood. You will also be unable to wash your hair for the first couple of days immediately after surgery.
After two weeks, swelling after facelift should have subsided enough for you to engage in some activity, although it may take as long as 6 weeks before you are able to engage in any strenuous activity. You can still expect, at least for a number of months after surgery, that your skin will feel rough to the touch.
Healing time can take anywhere up to 3 months and the general rule of thumb is that the longer you leave it, the better the results of your facelift surgery will be.
As with all procedures, there are some associated risks of a face lift surgery to be aware of including; scarring, hematoma, infection, nerve damage, skin necrosis, loss of hair, amongst others.
Your surgeon will be able to give you a detailed account of what the potential risks of rhytidectomy are. Risks can be mitigated by following the advice of your surgeon both before surgery and afterwards. Ensuring that you make your plastic surgeon aware of all medications you are taking can help them plan for, and avoid potential problems after your face lift procedure. Remember that the surgeon will want details of herbal remedies, supplements and vitamins you have been using too.