A facelift, or rhytidectomy, is a plastic surgery procedure designed to make people look younger. It is often performed in conjunction with blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery. Different types of facelifts exist, mostly due to the type of incision and what area of the face is being treated. A consultation with a doctor will determine what kind of facelift is best.
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Facelifts usually involve the removal of excess facial skin and redraping the remaining skin on the patient’s face and neck. Sometimes underlying tissues are also tightened and some fat is removed. First, anesthesia will be administered. Then your doctor will make an incision based on what type of facelift you are getting. These incisions are usually made along the hairline or another location where the skin naturally creases and the incision won’t show. In some cases, a second incision is made under the neck. A limited incision may also be considered for patients with less skin relaxation. If you need a neck lift, an incision is made in front of the earlobe and continues around the back of the ear, underneath the earlobe.
Once the work is complete, the incision will be closed with sutures. Sometimes, those sutures dissolve. In other cases, your doctor will need to remove them.
Rhytidectomies are usually outpatient procedures, though occasionally patients can spend a night in the hospital. They are done under general anesthesia or with an intravenous sedative and local anesthesia.
Your surgeon will have specific instructions regarding your post-surgery recovery period. This will include what medicines you should take, how to care for the surgical site itself, and any specific issues you should monitor for. Your doctor will also discuss with you when you can resume normal activity, such as exercise and the application of makeup.
Patients’ faces are bandaged after surgery, and the dressings are usually removed after one or two days. Any drainage tubes would also be removed then. Stitches would be removed after five to 10 days.
Swelling and bruising is common, and cold compresses can help relieve those side effects. Patients often find their faces feel stiff and look strange at first. Skin can often feel numb, rough, or dry for a few months after surgery.
Generally speaking, for the first few days you will likely take prescription pain medication. You will spend most of the time resting, and will likely need assistance from your family in performing general tasks. You will have a follow-up appointment with your doctor the day after surgery for an overall evaluation of the surgical area.
By the fourth day, the swelling will likely go down, and you will be able to start moving around a little.
By the end of the second week, many patients are able to return to work and go for walks.
By the third or fourth week, most swelling will have disappeared and you can take part in physical activity again.
It is important to avoid smoking and second-hand smoke for two to four weeks before and after surgery. Tobacco smoke increases the risk of skin and tissue death, will delay the healing process, and make scarring worse.
CEENTA has physicians in the SouthPark location offering rhytidectomy consultations. They are trained in the most up-to-date technology and treatment options and will come up with a care plan personalized for your needs.