A rhytidectomy is the medical term used to describe a face and neck lift. 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 becomes jowly, and the neck develops loose folds and fat deposits. Facelifts counteract these signs of aging by tightening muscle, removing fat, and trimming excess skin, giving your face a fresher, youthful look. After surgery, some patients look 10-15 years younger. There are different types of facelift procedures that can be performed to achieve these goals. The procedure selected is based on the degree of aging, desired result, and the expectations of the patients.
Facelifts are most effective for patients who want to correct:
- Midface sagging
- Deep creases under the eyes
- Deep creases between the nose and mouth (nasolabial folds)
- Jowls due to loss of muscle tone
- Sagging areas of fat
- Loose skin and fat under the chin and jaw
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.
Further, facelifts will not rejuvenate the brow, eyelids, nose, and some of the midface. Patients who want to improve these areas may consider combining a facelift with a brow lift or eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty). Injectable soft-tissue fillers, facial implants and skin resurfacing can also enhance the effects of a 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. Jim Parry will discuss whether a facelift is right for you.
Facelift Procedure Techniques
The mini facelift is the simplest of the facelift types. The benefits of a mini facelift include shorter operative and recovery time. The procedure uses short incisions, involves minimal repositioning, and lifts the underlying muscular and fibrous layer (SMAS).
Standard SMAS (Submusculoaponeurotic System) Facelift
The standard SMAS facelift is the most common type of facelift performed today for facial rejuvenation. The SMAS facelift concentrates on tightening the underlying fibrous and muscular layer which results in better repositioning and lifting of deep- sagging facial soft tissue.
The deep-plane facelift addresses deeper facial structures. It is performed deep in the SMAS layer and is effective in restoring the nasolabial folds and mid-face region by directly repositioning the cheek fat pads and restoring the shape of the cheekbones. In addition, the deep-plane facelift results in less unnatural tightening or pulling of the skin as well as a smoother neckline than other facelift procedures. It is more technically challenging than a standard SMAS facelift and should only be performed by highly skilled surgeons with proper training, experience and a keen knowledge of deeper facial anatomy.
The mid facelift addresses the middle region of the face, which encompasses the area just below the eye to the jaw bone. It is used to reposition and tighten the fat pads of the cheek to reduce the nasolabial folds, as well as refine the cheekbones.
The neck lift addresses the loose, sagging skin and muscles of the neck which can result in the appearance of bands on the neck. A neck lift includes both a cervicoplasty to remove the excess skin and a platysmaplasty to address the loose muscle of the neck. Liposuction is often used in conjunction with the neck lift to remove excess fat as well. Most frequently, a neck lift is done in conjunction with a facelift to optimize the results of both procedures.
In all the methods, incisions are closed with stitches. Scars are hidden in the hairline and natural contours of the face.
After your rhytidectomy, Dr. Jim Parry will wrap the incisions in bandages and may place drainage tubes in the area. The tubes will be taken out the next day, when your hair will be carefully washed. If surgical clips are used to hold the incisions closed, they will be removed one week after the facelift along with your stitches.
At first, you may experience swelling, numbness, bruising, and a feeling of tightness or tension in the face and neck. Your face may look uneven or distorted, 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. Many patients return to work by the third week. You should be gentle with your skin and hair as you recover. Men may need to shave behind the neck and ears where areas of beard-growing skin have moved.
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 permanent; years later, your face will continue to look better than if you had never had a facelift.
Possible complications of a facelift include: bleeding, infection, bruising, uneven swelling or discoloration, skin blistering (usually only seen in smokers), and temporary or permanent loss of sensation in the face. Dr. Jim Parry will discuss the risks and benefits of a facelift with you before your surgery.
Memberships & Affiliations
- American Academy of Dermatology
- American Medical Association
- American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery
- American Society of Dermatologic Surgery