Facelift surgery, or a rhytidectomy, is designed to restore a more youthful appearance by removing major wrinkles and sagging skin in the lower face and neck. It involves tightening of the facial and neck muscles as well as the removal of any excess skin.
Skin can begin to wrinkle and sag as a result of age, sun exposure, and genetics. Children and young adults have smooth, round faces due to evenly distributed fatty tissues in facial contours. Over time, the skin sags and folds around the chin, jawline and neck.
Not only does a facelift improve facial appearance, but it also has a dramatic effect on the neck, enhancing its contour and profile. A facelift can make a patient look five to ten years younger. Dramatic as the end results are, this is not a simple procedure. It requires a week to ten days of recovery.
To begin, we evaluate your medical history in order to determine your overall health. We will discuss with you how your face can look and what you can expect from surgery. Our objective is to create a natural appearance that is pleasing to you. Before and after photographs will reveal what the surgery has accomplished.
Prior to your surgery, you should avoid drugs that contain aspirin for several weeks beforehand in order to minimize excess bleeding. You may be required to take antibiotics to prevent infection.
A facelift is frequently performed in conjunction with blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery, forehead lift, chin augmentation, and/or liposuction, to create an overall rejuvenation of the face. The procedure can be repeated as gravity continues its effects after the first surgery.
Patients are typically under general anesthesia during facelife surgery; however, it can sometimes be performed using local anesthesia with IV sedation. Your Tulsa cosmetic surgeon will make incisions inside the hairline at the temple, in front of the ear, then around the earlobe and behind the ear, ending at the scalp area. Excess skin is removed, and sagging muscles and connective tissues are tightened. In some cases, fatty deposits are removed from beneath the chin and neck. Incisions are closed with small sutures. The procedure may take up to five hours depending on whether any other procedures are performed at the same time.
It will be necessary to have someone drive you home and stay with you for the first 24 hours. Initially, you will have a large dressing wrapped around your head. On rare occasions, we may have to place surgical drains attached to bulbs hanging at your neck. If these are placed, they will be removed in approximately 24 hours. Stitches around the ears are dissolvable and do not require removal. The scalp sutures will be removed in 7-10 days.
To minimize scarring, the doctor may recommend scar care products such as Scar Guard®. Scar Guard® is available in our office, and our staff would be glad to tell you more about it. The facelift scars tend to fade quickly, and the swelling and discoloration should decrease within two weeks. Tightness in your face will be present for several weeks, and there may be slight changes in your hair pattern around the incision. We recommend that you avoid the sun for several weeks after surgery. After you have healed, you should always protect your skin with sunscreen when you are outside.
Complications following facelift surgery in Tulsa, OK are rare but can include bleeding, infection, loss of skin behind the ears, facial nerve injury, discoloration of the skin, numbness, asymmetry, and scarring. Infection is rare due to the large blood supply to the face. As mentioned, the risk of bleeding is greater if you take aspirin or blood thinners within two weeks of the surgery. The risk of wound complications increases in smokers, diabetics, people with a history of radiation therapy, or those who have autoimmune or collagen diseases. In the weeks following surgery, the facial skin and area around the ear may be numb. There may also be some temporary discoloration as healing begins, which may take a few months to disappear. Occasionally, the facial nerves may be bruised during surgery, resulting in temporary loss of function or sensation. However, actual permanent damage to the facial nerve is rare.
The healing process following a facelift is gradual, so you will not notice final results for up to six months. A single procedure often achieves the desired results. Most patients who have had facelifts are pleased with their new, more youthful appearance.
Patients often ask about how long the facelift will last. There will be some relaxation of the skin and facial muscles within the first year. You do continue to age, and the procedure does not prevent generalized facial aging. You should, however, still be looking better years after the operation. Some patients choose to do a mini-tuck under local anesthesia or sedation within a couple of years in order to maintain their results.