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Facelift (Rhytidectomy)

A facelift, medically implied to as rhytidectomy, is a common cosmetic surgery that provides a more youthful facial glow by removing wrinkles on the face giving it a natural younger look. Thread lift is a non-surgical alternative to facelift where threads are sewn into the person’s facial skin.

A facelift is a cosmetic medical procedure designed to enhance the look of the face by correcting wrinkles between the mouth corners and nose and around the eyes. The procedure involves the tightening of underlying muscles, removal of excess fat and realignment of neck and facial skin. The procedure can be performed in conjunction with other procedures such as nose reshaping, eyelid surgery or an brow lift.

Who is a good candidate?

The best candidates for a facelift are women and men aged over 40 with deep creases around the nose and mouth and sagging skin but good bone structure. However, it is important to note that contrary to popular belief, there is no set age for a facelift, with patients ranging in age from 80 year olds through to people in their late 20s.

Face Lift

Preparation

Prior to the procedure, a surgeon will meet with the candidate to discuss the surgery, confirm the results that can realistically be achieved and outline the complications that can occur. It is essential that candidates have realistic expectations. Your surgeon will also perform diagnostic examinations and/or laboratory investigations prior to hospital admission and surgery. This is to ensure that you are fit for surgery. This is in line with standard hospital procedure.

You will be advised to do the following prior to surgery:

  • Cease taking aspirin, female hormones and birth control pills
  • Cease taking any medications that could affect blood clotting (this will need to occur two weeks prior to the procedure)
  • Cease smoking and to avoid passive smoking for a minimum of two weeks prior to and after the surgery.
  • Optional- some surgeons will prescribe Vitamin C and K to assist in the healing process. Some surgeons may also recommend taking antibiotics prior to surgery to reduce the chances of infection.

How the Procedure is Performed

General anesthesia will be administered for your comfort during the procedure. Depending on your facial structure will inform where the surgeon will place discreet incisions. Usually, these incisions will occur above the hairline, at the temples and continuing in a natural line in front of the ear. Some surgeons still choose to cut at the hair line, so it is advisable that you check this before your surgery. Some surgeons are very skilled at making the incisions in the ear cartilage and finishing behind the earlobe and lower scalp. Following the incisions, the skin on the face is lifted towards the neck, chin and cheeks. This allows access to the underlying muscles and tissue which can be repositioned as needed. Any excess skin can then be removed via liposuction. The facial skin is then realigned towards the incision, with any excess parts of it trimmed before closing the incision. Bandages and/or other appropriate dressings will be applied and you will be given clear instructions on how to take care of the area until you are fully recovered.

Limitation’s and Risks

There is risk in all surgical procedures and it is important that you are aware of the risks involved in your procedure before going ahead with the surgery. During your appointments you should discuss any concerns with your surgeon and not be afraid to ask questions. Your surgery will be unable to proceed unless you sign a pre-surgery consent form.

It is also your obligation to advise your surgeon of any important medical information that could affect your surgery and/or increase your levels of risk. The type of medical information that you should disclose includes medical complications, previous surgeries, current and recent medications and family disease.

Every patient is different with risks for each person varying based on different factors. The below risks can occur with undergoing a face lift.

  • Delayed Healing
  • Bleeding
  • Changes of asymmetry in hairline
  • Infection
  • Excessive scarring
  • njury to muscles and facial nerves
  • Loss of feeling (usually temporary but can become permanent)

Side Effects

As with any surgery, there are always possible risks and potential complications. These may include

  • Hair loss around the scars – this is usually temporary but can sometimes be permanent.
  • Loss of skin – this may be minor and heal by itself or may be larger and involve skin grafts
  • Deformity of the earlobe
  • Numbness around the ear and cheeks – which is common but usually subsides over the next few months
  • Asymmetry – between the left and right sides
  • Pigmentation – patients with darker complexions have the possibility of residual brown pigmentation.

Recovery Time

Whilst the benefits and final appearance of a face lift are incredible, it is important to note that recovery time is prolonged compared with non-surgical facial treatments.

During recovery, a bandage may be placed around your face to minimize bruising and swelling following the procedure. To drain any excess fluid or blood that may accumulate under the skin, thin tubes may be present.

You will be given clear instructions on how to take care of the drains and surgical site, what medications to take and how to take them to assist in the healing process and signs of things to look out for and when to contact your surgeon.

Ensure that you ask any questions of your surgeon so that you are well informed about the healing process.

Time needed to recover will depend on how extensive the incisions are made and the surgical technique used.

  • Back to work: Within 10 days to 2 weeks
  • More strenuous activity: Normal activities can be resumed within 2 weeks. Exercise can be resumed within 3-4 weeks after surgery.
  • Fading of scars: Your scars will be in areas that are hidden and with time, will fade

Note: This information acts as a guide to your possible treatment. Your individual concerns and specific medical history will need to be shared and discussed with your surgeon during your initial consultation.

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