A facelift, also referred to as a rhytidectomy or cervicofacial rhytidectomy, is one of the most commonly performed facial plastic surgery procedures. It is a surgery intended to reverse the signs of aging, which can result in remarkable improvement in your overall facial appearance.
The inevitable natural aging process results in increased facial wrinkles and sagging skin, particularly along the jawline and upper neck. Together, these changes can make you look years older than you actually are. Facelift surgery can counter these changes and create dramatic improvements in the middle of the face, along the jawline, and across the upper neck and chin. The end result is that you look naturally younger and well-rested.
Good candidates for the facelift include healthy men and women who are bothered by sagging, loose skin along the lower face and the upper neck. Patients may also have unwanted jowling along the jawline. The facelift does not improve deep smile lines known as nasolabial folds. These are better treated with a midface lift and/or volume enhancement with dermal fillers.
The Facelift Procedure
Using incisions hidden along the hairline and border of the ear, facelift surgery can effectively rejuvenate your face and restore that once youthful look. Although the term “facelift” implies lifting the entire face, the surgery actually targets the lower one-third of the face (below the eyes) and the upper neck. During the surgery, which can be done under a general or “twilight” anesthetic, excess skin along the cheek and neck is meticulously removed. The face and neck are then recontoured to provide a more youthful appearance. The surgery typically takes four to six hours to complete. If you have signs of extensive sun damage (finer wrinkles), additional procedures such as laser resurfacing may be recommended. Facelift is also commonly performed in conjunction with browlift and blepharoplasty for complete facial rejuvenation.
“I had a facelift which included having my eyelids lifted. i am much more confident and look more vibrant. Dr. Hilinski did an amazing job of making me look 10 years younger with out giving that pulled back look. Most people do not realize I had a facelift but say ‘wow you look fantastic you have lost weight?’ It has been over a year since the facelift I still look and feel fantastic!”
In patients who have previously undergone a facelift or those who require only limited enhancement, a “mini lift” may be more appropriate (see below). This is a minimally invasive version of the standard facelift procedure that allows much quicker recovery while still providing significant improvement.
Recovery from Facelift Surgery
While the facelift is typically performed in an outpatient surgery center, some facelift patients are observed overnight in the hospital for one day. Most patients demonstrate mild bruising and swelling during the first few days, which begins to subside after the first week. While patients typically experience discomfort rather than pain after the facelift, low-dose medication will be prescribed to control any pain or discomfort that occurs. The stitches are removed within five to six days.
A dramatic improvement is often seen once the bandages are removed at the one week postoperative visit. Healing continues for several weeks as the shape of your face begins to see even more refinement. Most patients are presentable in public after seven to ten days, at which time work can be resumed. Make-up can be worn at this time to help conceal any remaining bruising. Patients who are not bothered by the bandages may be able to return to work sooner.
About the Mini Lift
Ever give your face and neck a little tug while looking in the mirror? Like what you see? If so, you may want to consider a “Mini Lift” procedure by Dr. Hilinski.
The “Mini Lift”, also referred to as a mini facelift or an S-lift, is an alternative to the traditional, more formal face and neck lift procedure. Many patients seeking a more rejuvenated look do require a formal face and neck lift in order to achieve their desired results. These patients usually have more advanced signs of aging that require more extensive work, including surgery in the operating room under a general or twilight anesthesia. Some patients, however, do not necessarily need or want a formal face and/or neck lift procedure. In addition, some patients do not wish to undergo a deep anesthetic. The “Mini Lift” is an office-based procedure done under local anesthesia that is an alternative answer for these patients still seeking a more youthful look.
The “Mini Lift” can rejuvenate the lower face and upper neck to provide a more youthful and rested appearance. The best candidates include healthy men and women who are bothered by sagging, loose skin along the lower face and upper neck and sometimes unwanted jowling along the jawline. The procedure is intended to target early jowling, an aging lower face and excess sagging along the neckline (see diagram below).
These common problem areas combine to give the overall appearance of unwanted premature aging.
A “Mini Lift” can help rejuvenate the lower face and upper neck by resuspending or lifting the soft tissue layers of the face and neck. Incisions are hidden in the hair and within the creases around the ear. The lower face and upper neck skin is then lifted in layers and repositioned into a more youthful contour. The surgery typically takes three to four hours to complete. Because the “Mini Lift” can be done in a minimally invasive fashion (compared to a formal face and neck lift), patients can opt to have the procedure done in the office under local anesthesia. Some patients elect to have additional oral sedative medication to further relax them. Because the “Mini Lift” is done without using a hospital operating room and anesthesiologist, cost savings to the patient can be substantial.
Patients are able to go home shortly after the procedure with a light bandage wrap. Bruising and swelling are fairly limited to the first few days following the procedure. There is generally more discomfort than pain associated with the mini facelift and this is well-controlled with low-dose prescription medication. Sutures are removed within five to six days, at which time a lighter, removable bandage is applied. Within 7-10 days, patients are typically presentable in public. Make-up can be worn at this point to help camouflage any remaining bruising. Patients are usually able to return to work within five to ten days, and often sooner for patients not bothered by the bandages.