Facelift, or Rhytidectomy, improves the visible signs of aging in the face and neck, such as:
- Sagging in the midface.
- Deep creases below the lower eyelids.
- Deep creases along the nose extending to the corner of the mouth.
- Fat that has fallen or is displaced.
- Jowls created by the loss of muscle tone in the lower face.
- Loose skin and excess fatty deposits under the chin and jaw, which can make even a person of normal weight appear to have a double chin.
Full and mini facelifts will help improve these signs of aging. Procedures typically considered in conjunction with a facelift are a brow lift, to correct a sagging or deeply furrowed brow, and eyelid surgery to rejuvenate aging eyes.
Your consultation is your time to ask the doctor about the procedure you’re considering, how he thinks it will work for you and any concerns you may have. We suggest you come prepared with your questions on paper so you’re sure not to forget to ask the questions that are important to you.
Questions to Consider:
- What is the simplest and safest surgery to help me achieve my goals?
- How is the surgery performed?
- What is the expected length of operation?
- Are other options available?
- What results can I expect, and how long do the typical results last?
- Where will scars be located, and how noticeable will they be?
- Will scars fade over time, and how long will this take?
When you arrive at the office, you will be asked to fill out a few pieces of paperwork. It is very important when asked about medications to put down all medications you take, including any supplements or aspirin-type regimens, since these items can impact your blood clotting and pressure. In addition, you need to be truthful about your use of tobacco and alcohol since this will affect your recovery and incision healing.
Before you see the doctor, a nurse or nurse practitioner will do an initial exam. You may be able to get a number of your questions answered while with the nurse.
Your surgeon will discuss several factors regarding surgery during your initial consultation, including your procedure, location, anesthesia and recovery. In addition, the surgeon will inquire about your concerns, priorities and motivations for pursuing surgery, as well as your fears.
The doctors are sure to address reasonable expectations for the outcome of your desired procedure, and they should explain what is possible and what is not possible.
After your consultation with the physician, you will meet with the practice manager to discuss procedure costs.
There are a number of things to do prior to your procedure that will make your recovery as smooth as possible and ease your pre-procedure anxiety.
Your surgeon will give you instructions on what medications to stop taking and when prior to your surgery to prevent any unwanted side effects. Medications you shouldn’t take up to two weeks prior to your surgery include, but are not limited to, aspirin and products containing aspirin, alcohol and herbal supplements. Your surgeon may advise you to take Arnica Montana, Bromelain or vitamins A or K for swelling, bruising and to promote general healing.
It is important to remember to only take a supplement or herbal remedy if your surgeon advises it.
Your Pre-Op Checklist
- Take pictures and make notes to discuss with your doctor. You know what you want, and he knows how to make it possible.
- Make a list of post-op projects and gather what you need.Stop taking blood-thinning medications and supplements two weeks prior to surgery (aspirin, Motrin, fish oils, vitamin E) and don’t take them two weeks after surgery.
- Books to read
- Photo projects
- Vacation planners
- Start using anti-bacterial soap in the shower a few days before surgery and following surgery.
- Remove all fingernail and toenail polish.
- Fill prescriptions you’ll need, including antibiotics and pain medications.
- Purchase over-the-counter eye drops and eye gel for overnight (GenTeal seems best and it is found at major drug stores like Walgreens)
- Pick up Bacitracin for incision areas and Colace to keep your bowels moving during recovery.
- Clear your calendar for a month post-op
- Arrange for caretakers: you, kids, plants and pets need to be taken care of during your recovery. You will not be able to lift, reach, bend over or be too active for some time.
- Prepare your recovery area so your head is elevated. A recliner works wonders for this. Also stock your recovery area with:
- Remote control
- Reading material
- Any other item that will make you feel comfortable during your recovery
- Make a to-do list of things you want to get done prior to surgery and start! You won’t be able to accomplish as much post-surgery. Some items you may want to get done include:You will want to stock up on groceries or cook meals prior to your surgery. Many patients enjoy the ease of frozen meals, yogurt, pudding, fruits, soups and anything else that is easy to prepare.
- Clean the house
- Catch up on gardening
- Give the dog a bath
- Clean the litter box
- Wash your car
- Stock up on ice packs, frozen peas and frozen gel packs. You’ll want to use them early and often on your face, neck and ears. It will definitely feel good and keep the swelling down.
- Pack a receptacle with a lid and towel in your car for the ride home from the hospital just in case you feel nauseous. You may want to add a pillow and blanket, but be sure to set up on the ride home to help with the nausea and swelling.
- Get your hair and nails done since it will be a while before you can do either.
- Prepare Power of Attorney for Medical Care and Advance Directives, just in case. Give copies to your doctor and/or surgical center.
- Breathe and relax! Stress can adversely affect your recovery. Try to remember that you will heal, the soreness will subside and you will look great.
During Your Procedure
Anesthesia: You have the choice between intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.
The Incision: Your facelift depends on the amount of change you would like to see, and your choices are a traditional facelift, limited incision facelift or a neck lift.
A traditional facelift incision often begins in the hairline at the temples, continues around the ear and ends in the lower scalp. Fat may be sculpted or redistributed from the face, jowls and neck, and underlying tissue is repositioned;commonly the deeper layers of the face and the muscles are also lifted.
Skin is redraped over the uplifted contours and excess skin is trimmed away. A second incision under the chin may be necessary to further improve an aging neck. Sutures or skin adhesives close the incisions.
An alternative to a traditional facelift uses shorter incisions at the temples, continuing around the ear and possibly within the lower eyelids or under the upper lip.
Sagging jowls, loose neck skin and fat accumulation under the chin may be corrected with a neck lift. The neck lift incision often begins in front of the ear lobe and wraps around behind the ear ending in the lower scalp.
Closing the incisions: Once healed, the incision lines from a facelift are well concealed within the hairline and in the natural contours of the face and ear.
See the results: The visible improvements of a facelift appear as swelling and bruising subside. Your final result should not only restore a more youthful and rested appearance, but also help you feel more confident about yourself.
Recovery is an important part of any surgery, and you must take the doctor’s orders to heart if you want to heal as quickly as possible. Once your procedure is complete, a bandage is placed around your face to minimize swelling and bruising. In addition, a thin tube may be present to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect under the skin.
You will be given specific instructions that may include: how to care for the surgical site, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in overall health, and when to follow up with your plastic surgeon.
Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period.
- Where will I be taken after my surgery is complete?
- What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?
- Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery? When will they be removed?
- Are stitches removed? When?
- When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
- When do I return for follow-up care?
Results: It may take several months for swelling to fully dissipate and up to six months for incision lines to mature.
Life-long sun protection will help to maintain your rejuvenated appearance by minimizing photo-aging or sun damage. In addition, a healthy lifestyle will also help extend the results of your rejuvenated, more youthful appearance.
Your surgeon and the staff at ReGenesis Plastic Surgery and Skin Care Center will let you know about the risks involved with surgery, however, you need to know that with any surgery there are serious risks involved, which include:
- Unfavorable scarring
- Bleeding (hematoma)
- Poor wound healing
- Anesthesia risks
- Correctable hair loss at the incisions
- Facial nerve injury with weakness
- Facial asymmetry
- Skin loss
- Numbness or other changes in skin sensation
- Fatty tissue found deep in the skin might die (fat necrosis)
- Fluid accumulation
- Pain, which may persist
- Skin contour irregularities
- Skin discoloration, sensitivity or swelling
- Sutures may spontaneously surface through the skin, become visible or produce irritation that require removal
- Unsatisfactory results may include asymmetry, unsatisfactory surgical scar location, unacceptable visible deformities at the ends of the incisions (It may be necessary to perform additional surgery to improve your results)
- Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
- Possibility of revisional surgery