What is Rhytidectomy?
As we continue to live longer, healthier lives, more and more people are eager to “look as young as they feel.” As a result, facelift surgery has become increasingly popular among women and men. The medical term for this procedure is rhytidectomy, meaning “removal of wrinkles.” What facelift surgery does is remove or reposition excess sagging skin and soft tissue in the face and neck. The effect is as if you turned back the hands of a clock, often making you look as you did ten or sometimes fifteen years in the past.
The major areas addressed by the facelift operation are the eyebrows, the cheek and jowl regions, and the neck. Eyelid surgery and skin resurfacing, while sometimes done at the same time as a facelift, are separate procedures.
We strongly believe in achieving a natural-appearing, rejuvenated look in facelift surgery, as opposed to an excessively tightened, “windblown” appearance. The goal is to make you look as you did at a younger age, not to make you look like a different person.
Many patients benefit from eyelid surgery or blepharoplasty which can be done at the same time as the facelift. Another common adjunct is laser resurfacing which can address the wrinkles around the lower eyes and mouth (this skin is not tightened by the facelift).
The incisions for facelift surgery are nearly all hidden behind the hairline, and those that are not are placed within natural skin folds or behind the ear. When healing is complete, these incisions are usually very difficult to see.
The deep layer or superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS for short) is tightened and resuspended, restoring a refreshed, youthful appearance, without stretching the overlying skin.
During your consultation for facelift surgery in our, photographs will be taken for imaging purposes as well as for photo documentation. Rest assured, your photos will not be shown to any other persons without your express permission.
After you have had an opportunity to express your concerns and areas of desired improvement, your face and neck will be carefully examined, including skin and muscle tone, bone structure, fat distribution, etc. The position of your brows and cheek pads will be assessed to determine if you are a candidate for browlift or possibly midface lift. As your surgeon, I may suggest additional or alternate procedures to complement your desired changes. Some common adjunctive procedures to facelift surgery are eyelid surgery, skin resurfacing, and lip augmentation, any of which may be performed at the same time.
During your facelift surgery consultation you will have several opportunities to ask questions, and following the consultation our patient care coordinator will guide you through the surgery preparation and recovery processes.
Facelift surgery is commonly performed in an outpatient surgery center. A mini-lift or lower facelift can often be performed with local or light anesthesia, whereas IV sedation or general anesthesia is common for longer procedures.
There are several variations to the facelift procedure. A “mini lift” may encompass only the cheek and jowls, and can be a conservative but effective alternative for younger patients. A “lower facelift” will include the neck as well, which may require skin and muscle tightening as well as liposuction. A “full facelift” will incorporate the upper third of the face or brows. A “midface lift” addresses the cheek pad and nasolabial folds, and may be part of an overall facelift.