A facelift, sometimes called a rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure that lifts up the skin or underlying tissues of the face to reduce the visible signs of ageing. Our skin naturally becomes more elastic as we age, and the muscles in your face can become looser. This results in the development of some common signs of ageing, such as wrinkles and deep creases. Some of these can be improved with this procedure, resulting in a smoother, more youthful appearance.
It is important to take the time to seriously consider this type of surgery before deciding to have it, and it’s essential that you have a thorough consultation with the cosmetic surgeon prior to the procedure. You should discuss what you hope to gain from the surgery, and make sure you understand what is realistically achievable.
A facelift is most effective at removing wrinkles, creases and loose skin from areas of your face below the eyes, such as your cheeks, jaw and neck. Procedures that are often performed alongside a facelift include a brow lift and eyelid surgery. Together, these surgeries are more effective at reducing signs of ageing and restoring a youthful look to your face.
There are various different ways the procedure can be performed, but the surgery itself is usually conducted under a general anaesthetic. The traditional facelift involves an incision that begins just above the hairline at the temples, then continues down under the ear before ending back in the hairline on the lower scalp. Fat and underlying tissues can be redistributed before the skin is repositioned and stitched back in place. Sometimes a smaller incision will be sufficient, but it depends on the degree of change you would like to see.
Your surgeon will begin by taking many photographs of you and thoroughly examining your face. If you smoke you will be asked to stop prior to the procedure, as it can increase the risk of complications and slow down the healing process. If you are taking certain medications, such as those containing aspirin or non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs, then you will be told to stop around two weeks before the surgery. Your surgeon will discuss this in greater detail with you when he reviews what medications you are taking.
Closer to the actual date of the procedure you will receive specific instructions regarding what to do on the day, this will typically include having nothing to eat or drink for at least 6 hours before surgery.
For a short after the procedure your face will be wrapped in bandages to help control the short term bruising and swelling, but these are usually removed after one or two days. Although an overnight stay in hospital is sometimes recommended, it’s important that you have someone to help take you home if you are allowed to do so. As general anaesthesia can seriously impair your decision making and coordination, you should arrange for a friend or relative to stay with you for up to a day after the surgery. Your surgeon will tell you how long the stitches will take to dissolve if dissolvable stiches were used. Otherwise, non-dissolvable stiches are usually removed after a week.
The visible improvements of the facelift will become increasingly clear as the swelling subsides, a process that typically takes around two weeks. During this time, you will have to avoid any strenuous activity. Propping your head up when you lie down can help ease the swelling, and over the counter medications such as paracetamol and ibuprofen can be used if you require pain relief.
As with any surgery there are risks involved, and your surgeon will explain these to you in detail before the procedure. Some that are more specific to a facelift include: reduced hair growth on your temples and around your scars, an asymmetrical facial appearance or damage to the nerves in your face causing muscle weakness.
This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Doctify Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. In the event of an emergency, please call 999 for immediate assistance.