As the years go by, the skin begins to loosen on the face and neck. Crow’s feet appear at the corners of the eyes. Fine forehead lines become creases and then, gradually, deeper folds. The jawline softens into jowls, and beneath the chin, another chin or vertical folds appear at the front of the neck. Heredity, personal habits, the pull of gravity, and sun exposure contribute to the aging of the face. It is obvious why rhytidectomy, also known as a facelift, has become the third most desired facial plastic surgical procedure.
- Performed at Stony Point Surgery Center
- Usually recommended for patients over 60 years old
- Step 1 – The surgeon begins the incision in the area of the temple hair, just above and in front of the ear, and then continues around the lobe, circling the ear before returning to the point of origin in the scalp
- Step 2 – The skin is raised outward, then repositioned and tightened beneath underlying muscle and connective tissue. Some fat may be removed, as well as excess skin. After any excess skin is trimmed, the incision site is closed with fine sutures and/or metal clips, which permit surgery without having to shave the patient’s hair
- Step 3 – A dressing is applied to protect the entire area where the incisions have been made
- Performed in our office
- Usually recommended for patients age 40 to 60 with mild jowls or loose neck skin
- Might be recommended for older adults who wish to avoid general anesthesia
- Procedure is performed through small incisions under local anesthesia and is designed to allow quick return to activity
- For men, the incision is aligned to accommodate the natural beard lines
- For woman, the incision is aligned with the hairline and in natural creases of the skin for camouflage
A facelift cannot stop aging, nor can it turn back the clock. It can help one look more youthful and healthy; therefore, increasing one’s level of self confidence in the process.
This procedure is performed on patients in their thirties or on those who are in their eighties. There is no ideal in a facelift – skin type, ethnic background, degree of skin elasticity, individual healing, basic bone structure, as well as a realistic attitude are factors that should be discussed prior to surgery.
- Liposuction to the face & neck to remove excess fatty deposits
- Chin implant
- Neck Lift
- Good overall health and psychological stability
- Possess realistic expectations regarding the procedure and full understanding as to its limitations
- Must be able to effectively communicate and develop a clear surgical plan of action with your potential surgeon
Successful facial plastic surgery is a result of good rapport between patient and surgeon. Trust, based on realistic expectations and exacting medical expertise, develops in the consulting stages before surgery is performed.
Depending on the extent of the surgery, the process can take anywhere from 3 to 8 hours.
We can either perform the procedure in-office under local anesthesia with an accompanying oral sedative or the procedure can be performed under general anesthesia at Stony Point Surgery Center (depending on patient preference).
Insurance does not cover surgery that is done purely for cosmetic reasons. Surgery to correct or improve genetic deformity or traumatic injury may be reimbursable in whole or in part. It is the patient’s responsibility to check with the insurance carrier for information on the degree of coverage.
Risks of Facelift
Bleeding, bruising & pain are expected for usually up to 3 weeks following surgery.
Numbness, tingling or altered sensation is expected in the region of any skin incision. Any skin that is elevated and moved will necessarily have the nerves to that skin severed.
Damage to the facial nerve is a potential risk due to the location of the incision points.
Scarring is a possibility. However, your physician will strategically place the suture lines in locations where they are least likely to be noticed – usually in the creases of the hairline
Anesthesia, including local anesthesia with sedation, does carry significant risk, including death. Fortunately, the overall risk of general anesthesia in a healthy individual is not significantly greater than the risk of operating an automobile.
Acquire the following items:
- Various clean, comfortable clothing options that are not pull overs (open buttons in the front is best)
- Non-irritating baby shampoo & body soap
- Prescription pain medication (if indicated)
- Bendable straws, disposable dishes, & microwavable meals
- Ready to eat, healthy snacks (low sodium & high fiber to reduce additional swelling or constipation due to pain medications)
Prepare a designated resting-space where you can spend your first few days of recovery. Here are some items to include:
- A comfortable lounge chair that is easy to get in & out of plus allows you to elevate your head
- Clear path to the bathroom
- TV, laptop, or audiobook for entertainment
Additional actions to take in preparing for your recovery:
- Make sure your fridge is completely stocked & all laundry is up to date
- Place all food items, toiletries, clothes, etc. above waist level to prevent yourself from needing to bend down
- Analyze your calendar to make sure that you do not encounter any scheduling surprises while recovering
- Pay your bills
- If you have pets or children, arrange for someone to stop by and care for them if needed
The person who will care for you during the initial recovery period should be able to do the following:
- Read, write, and follow instructions
- Safely drive
- Help with physical task(s)
- Provide emotional support if needed
Things to organize for your caregiver prior to surgery:
- Important contact numbers – close family, medical provider(s), & employer
- Pharmacy address of choice
- Location of prescriptions, ice packs, dressings, or other recovery materials
- Instructions from surgeon
- Any specific home care related instructions (alarm code, pet’s schedule, etc.)
Avoid using any agent that may induce bleeding or bruising beginning 1 week prior to treatment (unless medically necessary).
Arrange to bring a designated driver on the day of surgery.
To book your surgery date, a 10% deposit is required. The total remaining balance is due at least three days prior to the scheduled surgery date.
Day of Surgery
Getting Ready Tips – Shower the morning of your procedure and wash your hair. Do not wear any earrings. Make sure your face is clean and completely free of any makeup. Wear a comfortable top that is easy to wash & that doesn’t need to be removed over the head.
Arrive as instructed by SPSC for procedures that will take place in the OR. The surgery center will reach out to you the day before your procedure with detailed instructions regarding arrival time, etc.
Your designated driver must arrive to the facility with you for check-in.
Procedure will take approximately 3 to 8 hours depending on specific surgical approach exercised.
After your Surgery
Things to Remember
Keep head elevated as much as possible to minimize swelling.
Wash hair with non-irritating shampoo (Ex. baby shampoo).
Opt for cold or lukewarm water when cleaning & lower heat hair dryer setting.
Avoid the following until skin has fully healed – hot water, pools, or excessive perspiration.
Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen for discomfort.
Watch for any signs of potential infection (fever, chills, oozing drainage, etc).
- Expect the following – moderate pain, swelling, bruising, off balance gait, & lethargy
- You will need the support of friends or family to care for you on the first night
- Stay on top of your pain medication schedule to effectively manage discomfort
- Avoid unnecessary physical activity
Days 1 to 3
- Surgical dressing & drainage tube removed
- Use a cool compress as needed and avoid the application of heat
Days 4 to 6
- Peak of swelling and residual bruising
- Normal if one side of face is more swollen or bruised than the other side
- Most people no longer need prescription pain medication
- Light housework is permitted
- Sutures and staples removed
- Possible swelling, bruising, numbness, or tingling
- Most patients return back to work by this time period
- Many use makeup to easily cover up any bruising or swelling
- Light walking and daily activities permitted
Week 3 to 4
- Possible residual swelling and tightness
- Incision sites are typically red or pink shade (will fade in the coming weeks)
- Most begin to see noticeable improvements in their appearance
- People begin to feel back to normal again
Week 5 to 8
- People begin to feel more confident displaying their new look
- Makeup is usually no longer needed to cover lingering bruises or swelling
- Occasionally, there will be subtle, lingering swelling, bruising, or numbness that lasts for several months to a year
- Permitted to resume vigorous exercise or weight-lifting
- Aging process continues after surgery and therefore, some relaxation of tissues will occur over the first few weeks
- Scars are usually not noticeable after enough time has passed for them to mature. In any case, they are easily disguised in natural skin creases, by the hair, or, in persistent cases, by makeup until total healing has occurred