Rhytidectomy, or more popularly known as facelift, is an invasive cosmetic procedure meant to mask and reverse the signs and traces of aging on the face and neck. Depending on the age of the patient and level of change requested, the surgeon may perform one of the following procedures: a full facelift, a limited (via hairline or ear) facelift, or a neck lift.
The procedure begins through an incision made near the hairline above the temple. It can extend down right until the ear region. Surgeons also have the option of making multiple smaller incisions, usually behind the ear or under the chin, for a more targeted approach.
Sculpting a more youthful looking face can be quickly achieved by removing or redistributing glandular and fat tissues from the face, neck and chin. Muscles and deeper tissue layers may also be lifted for an immediate rejuvenation - not only are the effects more pronounced, they also last longer.
The skin around the face is then tightened towards the incision points and the excess skin is removed. Once completed, skin adhesives, sutures, barbed sutures and absorbable tacks are used to hold the newly sculpted face and close the open incisions. The barbed sutures and absorbable tacks are considered ground breaking innovations in facelift surgery. Not only do they spur faster healing, they also help to redistribute the dynamic tension better across the face, which helps to maintain and preserve fine facial contouring and sculpting.
The entire surgery can be performed in under two and a half hours (rarely over three hours), and patients have the option of being sedated using either local or general anaesthesia.
While the majority of patients will not experience most of the complication listed below, take the time to discuss them with your surgeon to ensure you are aware of all the risks involved in the surgery.
• Hematoma: Hematoma is a condition where patients experience a prolonged period of heavy bleeding after surgery. It can be caused by health-related issues such as high blood pressure, medication incompatibility (aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or surgical mistakes (extremely rare). Treatment may include drainage of accumulated blood from under the skin. In serious cases, patients may also need a blood transfusion to replenish the lost blood.
• Infection: Unless patients are extremely careless in managing the incision wounds, infections occur very rarely. Infections can be treated with a simple course of antibiotics.
• Internal Damage: All types of surgery have the potential of causing internal nerve and structural damage. For facelifts though, the effects may be more noticeable, since the human face are very sensitive to even the slightest variation in nerve and musculature deficiencies.
• Scarring: While most scars tend to fade away gradually over time, there is a chance of unsightly scar forming due to skin and deeper tissue trauma.
It is important to know that smokers carry a far greater chance of suffering nerve-related damage, skin loss and hair loss. In addition, wounds also take a longer time to heal. Please consider quitting smoking at least a month before a scheduled facelift. This includes all tobacco and nicotine products, including nicotine patches and chewing tobacco.