In time, gravity, sun exposure, and the stresses of daily life take their toll on our faces and necks. Deep creases appear beside the mouth, the jaw line slackens and jowls appear, and the neck develops loose folds and fat deposits, losing its youthfulness. Even the underlying muscle weakens. As Dr. Bershof explains, a 5280 Top Doctor Facelifts, this surgery can counteract these signs of aging by tightening skin & muscle, removing fat, and trimming excess skin, giving your face a fresher, youthful look. After surgery, some patients look 10-15 years younger.
A facelift, technically known as a rhytidectomy (literally, "removal of wrinkles"), rejuvenates the mid- to lower face as well as the neck. Facelifts are most effective for patients who want to correct:
- Midface sagging
- Deep wrinkles around the cheeks
- Deep creases from the nose and mouth (nasolabial folds)
- Jowls due to loss of muscle tone and skin integrity (marionette lines)
- Sagging areas of cheek (jowls) with loss of jawline definition
- Loose skin and fat under the chin, in the upper neck and along the jawline
Facelifts can produce a dramatic improvement in appearance for patients with the problems mentioned above. However, facelifts do not stop the aging process; in time, signs of aging will gradually appear once again. Interestingly though, although the aging process continues, it continues at a slower pace; the favorable scar that develops under the skin from the surgery acts as a replacement for the lost skin-muscle connection.
Neck Lifts (necklifts) are a subset of the facelift, focused more on rejuvenating the neck as well as the lower face (jawline).
Further, facelifts will not rejuvenate the lips, eyebrow, forehead, eyelids, nose, and the temple area. Patients who want to improve these areas, too, may consider combining a facelift with an eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty), forehead lift, rhinoplasty, lip fillers, cheek fillers, or Botox®.
Injectable soft-tissue fillers might include the Juvederm® line or Radiesse®. Medical skin care products and services can help prepare a patient’s skin for a facelift, and also help to maintain the results after surgery.
Candidates for Facelift
The best candidates for rhytidectomy:
- Wish to improve one or more of the signs of aging indicated above
- Are men or women whose faces have begun to sag, but whose skin still has some elasticity
- Are generally healthy
- Do not smoke
- Have realistic expectations
- Are considering a facelift for personal reasons, not because someone else is pressuring them to do so
During your consultation, Dr. Bershof will discuss whether a facelift is right for you.
Facelift Procedure - Techniques
Facelifts are an outpatient procedure with an over-night stay, performed in an outpatient surgical facility. Facelifts are almost always performed under a general anesthesia and typically take 4 hours, although if combined with other facial surgeries, such as an eyelid lift, can take longer.
The way a facelift is performed varies depending on the surgeon, the patient's facial structure, and the extent of correction desired. The three most common incision techniques are:
The "full" facelift for rejuvenating the face, jowls and neck, including fat sculpting, lifting and repositioning of muscle and deeper tissues, and skin trimming and re-draping. The incision begins at the temples and travels down in front of the ear, coursing around the earlobe, and then continuing up behind the ear to the lower scalp at the hairline, where the incision then courses along the posterior scalp hairline or slightly above the hairline. Sometimes, another incision is made under the chin.
For limited rejuvenation around the eyes and mouth, including nasolabial folds and other deep creases. Short incisions are made at the temples, down and around the ear.
A neck lift concentrates on jowls, loose skin on the neck, and fat under the chin, as well as the jawline and lower face. The incision is similar to a traditional facelift but not as extensive in the temple area. Additionally, the skin of the face is not lifted as much in a neck lift.
In all three methods, incisions are closed with various suturing techniques. Scars are hidden in the hairline and natural contours of the face.
Recovery from Facelift
After your facelift, Dr. Bershof will wrap the incisions in bandages and will place drainage tubes in the area. The tubes will be taken out the next day, as your surgical dressing is changed to a lighter, more streamline dressing. Stitches and surgical clips will be removed one week after the facelift.
At first, you will experience swelling, numbness, bruising, and a feeling of tightness or tension in the face and neck. Your face may look uneven or distorted as swelling is not always symmetric, and your facial muscles may feel stiff. Most of these usually resolve within 3-6 weeks, and sensation typically returns to normal within a few months. Scars become less red, raised, lumpy or itchy in time. Most patients feel comfortable in public 1-2 weeks after a facelift.
Many patients return to work by the 2nd-3rd week, although some sooner depending upon their job and amount of hair to cover healing incisions. Camouflage cosmetics can be used to minimize the appearance of bruising.
You should be gentle with your skin and hair as you recover. Due to the repositioning of the skin, men may need to shave behind the neck and ears where areas of beard-growing skin have been moved to.
Results of Facelift
Results of a facelift do not last forever. You may want to have another procedure in five or ten years. But in another sense, the effects are long-lasting; years later, your face will continue to look better than if you had never had a facelift.
Risks Associated with Facelift
Possible complications of facelift include: bleeding, infection, bruising, uneven swelling or discoloration, allergic reaction to the anesthesia, skin blistering (usually only seen in smokers), and temporary or permanent loss of sensation on or about the ears. Dr. Bershof will discuss the risks and benefits of a facelift with you before your surgery.