A facelift, or rhytidectomy, is a procedure in cosmetic surgery that aims to give a more youthful appearance to the face.
It reshapes the lower half of the face by removing excess facial skin.
Rhytidectomy can tighten loose, hanging skin around the jaw line, also known as “jowls.” It can also remove deep creases around the mouth and nose, and excess, hanging skin and fat under the chin and in the neck.
The procedure can also tighten the underlying tissues, and it may be combined with surgery to enhance the forehead, cheeks, brows, and eyelids.
In the United States, 107,261 women and 13,702 men had surgery for a facelift in 2016. Among men, it was the fifth most common type of aesthetic surgery.
What is a facelift?
Facelift surgery is usually done as an outpatient procedure. It may involve a local anesthetics and sedatives or general anesthesia.
The procedure can take from 2 to 5 hours, and the person can normally go home on the same day after surgery.
In a traditional facelift, the surgeon makes an incision in front of the ear, extending up into the hair or hairline as well as behind the ear into the hair-bearing scalp.
The surgeon lifts the skin off the deeper facial muscles and fat, gently pulls the skin in an upward and posterior direction, and removes the excess skin. They may tighten the deeper tissues of the face.
A small incision, or cut, may be made under the chin to tighten the skin and deeper tissue of the neck. This is known as a neck lift.
The incisions are then closed with sutures and possibly staples. A drain may be placed under the skin behind the ear for one or two days, to remove any excess blood and fluids. Bandages are applied.
What to expect
Before surgery, the plastic surgeon will review the patient’s medical history.
They will look at:
- blood pressure
- blood clotting
- cigarette smoking
- drug use
- skin condition
The doctor and patient will discuss what the surgery will involve, where it will take place, the type of anesthesia used, the recovery, and potential complications that may develop.
They should also examine the goals and expectations of the surgery, according to the skin type and bone structure.
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