Facelift surgery, or a rhytidectomy, is designed to restore a more youthful appearance by removing major wrinkles and sagging skin. It involves tightening of the facial and neck (necklift) muscles as well as the removal of any excess skin. The skin begins 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 of the chin, jawline and neck become prominent.
There is much misunderstanding about the surgical procedure called “Facelift“. An appropriately performed face lift rejuvenates the aged area of the face from the level of the eyes to the lower border of the lower jaw (including jowls) and in front of the ears to the nose and corners of the mouth. A face lift does not rejuvenate the wrinkles of the upper and lower lips (accomplished by adjunctive procedures such as laser resurfacing, chemical peels and fillers). A facelift does not rejuvenate the upper eyelids, eyebrows or forehead (accomplished by an Endoscopic brow lift). A face lift does not rejuvenate the center of the neck (accomplished by a Cervicoplasty or necklift). Total facial rejuvenation usually requires a brow lift, a facelift and a neck lift with one or two modalities of skin resurfacing.
A facelift can make a patient look 10 years younger.
There are many types of facelifts performed by surgeons in the U.S and abroad. Depending on the patient and his or her goals the surgery is tailored to meet the needs of each individual. In all cases, the incisions are placed in areas where they will be well hidden. Consideration will be given to whether the patient is male or female, hair pattern, areas that need most correction, etc.
Surgical techniques have greatly improved over the past few years due to the popularity of a face lift procedure. This has encouraged patients to seek this operation at an earlier age. There is no upper or lower age limit for the operation. While correction is perfectly possible in the late sixties or early seventies, the earlier one has this procedure performed, the longer it will last. Indeed, patients in their late thirties have had facelifts with very satisfactory results. The goal of the procedure is to look 10-15 years younger with a more refreshed and revitalized appearance. A successful facelift should look natural and remain stable for more than 10 years.
Schedule a complimentary, private consultation with Dr. Merheb to discuss your concerns and how your goals can be achieved.
We will evaluate your medical history in order to determine your overall health.
Dr. Merheb 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.
Preoperative Instructions: Avoid drugs that contain aspirin several weeks prior to surgery to minimize excess bleeding. You may be required to take antibiotics to prevent infection. You may be instructed to shampoo your hair the night before surgery. A small amount of hair may be trimmed but not shaved around your ears and temples.
How is the procedure done?
A face lift is a surgical procedure performed in our office outpatient surgery suite. Incision is made in the temple hairline extending in front of the ear in a natural crease and continues around the ear ending into the hair of the scalp. The muscle and deep tissue is repositioned. The skin is re-draped over the uplifted muscle layer and the excess skin is trimmed. A facelift is frequently performed in conjunction with a necklift (Cervicoplasty) to rejuvenate the center of the neck, blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), Endoscopic brow 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. Stitches are used to close the incisions. The procedure may take up to 5 hours or longer depending on whether any other procedures are performed at the same time.
How will you look after surgery?
Dramatic as the end results are, this is not a simple procedure. It requires a week to 14 days of recovery. Dressings are removed the next day. Sutures are removed in five days. NO DRAINS ARE REQUIRED. Swelling and bruising vary but are usually gone within a week or two. Faint bruising may persist beyond two weeks but can be easily covered by make-up. Minimal discomfort can be expected following the procedure, which can be controlled with medications prescribed by your surgeon. 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 It must be recognized that marked degrees of skin laxity may not be entirely correctable with one operation. Some recurrent sagging can take place. Minor secondary procedures, generally under local anesthesia, might therefore be desirable to achieve maximum benefit.
It is necessary to have someone drive you home and stay with you for the first 24 hours.
Complications following facelift are rare. A skilled surgeon and a compliant patient can minimize complications. These 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 2 weeks of the surgery. The risk of wound complications increases in diabetics, persons with a history of radiation, autoimmune and collagen disease as well as in smokers.
By following pre- and post-operative instructions, you will minimize potential problems.
Recovery: What to Expect
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 nerve is bruised during surgery, resulting in temporary loss of function or sensation. However, actual permanent damage to the facial nerve is rare.
The healing process is gradual, so you will not notice final results for up to 6 months. A single procedure often achieves the desired results. Most patients who have had facelifts are pleased with their new, more youthful appearance.