What is a Facelift Surgery (Rhytidectomy)?
Aging happens to all of us. The passage of time, the effects of the environment, how we take care of ourselves, and many other factors can affect how aged we look, particularly when it comes to the skin of the face. Wrinkles, lines, and creases occur. Sagging or drooping skin may be apparent. Folds and fat deposits can appear on the face and neck. All of these things can create an appearance that many people find unsightly and that they would like to find a way to correct or repair. Cosmetic surgery is an option to fix these problems. And a facelift is a way to fix them all at the same time.
A facelift is also known as a Rhytidectomy, and it is probably the most well-known cosmetic surgery option in the world. Everyone has heard of it, and many of us know someone who has had one. The results can be dramatic, taking 10 or even 15 years off someone’s appearance. It is the most extensive way to correct most of the common problems of aging that appear on the face and in the neck. While it cannot actually stop the aging process, it can make a significant difference in how old someone looks by restoring a far more youthful appearance.
Facelifts can be combined with other cosmetic surgery procedures for an even more dramatic decrease in the appearance of aging. Potential complementary surgeries include brow lift, eyelid surgery, or rhinoplasty/nose reshaping. Alternately, a facelift can be confined to just the neck or just the upper part of the face, if that is where your primary concerns lie.
A facelift can only be performed surgically by a professional plastic surgeon, such as the ones here in our San Antonio office. The basic procedure of a facelift is much as is stated in the name. The skin on your face will be surgically “lifted” in order to tighten both skin and the tissues beneath the skin, allowing for the skin to be repositioned in a smoother way over the contours of the face. In a traditional full facelift, incisions are made in the hairline by the temples. The incisions continue around the ear to the lower scalp. Sometimes, fat is sculpted or redistributed from one area of the face to another. Tissues and skin are repositioned and facial muscles are lifted. The skin is then put back into place over the new contours, and any excess skin can be trimmed away. In cases where a neck is also being lifted, a second incision is made beneath the chin for improvements in the neck. Incisions will be closed with either sutures or skin adhesive, depending on what your surgeon deems best for your surgery.
Because this is a surgical procedure, there is recovery time to consider. Bandages will be placed on and around your face in order to keep swelling and bruising to a minimum as you heal. You may also have drainage tubes to deal with any excess blood or fluid that collects under the skin as a result of the surgery. Your surgeon will inform you of what steps you need to take in your recovery both before and after your surgery so that you are as prepared as possible to continue the healing process once you leave the hospital or surgical center. The full results from your facelift can take a few months before they are entirely apparent and before all residual swelling is gone.