What is a facelift?  

Facelift surgery, also known as rhytidectomy, is a plastic surgery procedure performed to improve the neck laxity, jowls, and the midface. As a person ages, the midface begins to descend, producing the nasolabial folds. The lower face then begins to show jowling, near the chin and the neck muscles sag, producing banding and redundancy. These three areas can be improved with the facelift procedure. The facelift does not improve the skin texture or quality. 

Who is the best candidate for a facelift?  
The best candidate is a healthy man or woman whose face is beginning to show signs of facial aging. The typical patient may have sagging skin in the neck and jowls. He or she may also have midface descent, producing a nasolabial fold. There are many other factors that determine whether an individual is a good candidate for a facelift, such as skin type, ethnicity, and skin laxity. The surgeon does not put a strong emphasis on the age of the patient, but instead focuses on the patient’s facial aging.  

Are there any limitations to what a facelift can achieve?  
The facelift procedure cannot stop the aging process. It, however, make the person look more refreshed and rested. It is commonly said that a facelift will make the person look ten years younger. 

What happens during a consultation for a facelift?  
The surgeon will personally meet with you during the consultation. He will examine and evaluate you. He will then show you before and after pictures and then explain the surgical procedure from beginning to end. This explanation will include what surgical technique he will use, where the surgery will be performed, what type of anesthesia, and a step-by-step explanation of what the recovery will be like. You will then meet with the patient care coordinator, who will explain the scheduling details and the cost. 

Where is facelift surgery performed?  
The surgeon performs the facelift procedure in his clinic and affiliated hospital under local anesthesia with sedation.  

What type of anesthesia is used for a facelift?  
The surgeon will perform the facelift with either local anesthesia and sedation or general anesthesia. If general anesthesia is used, it will be administered by an anesthesiologist (MD). The surgeon will discuss which option is best for you. 

How is the actual facelift procedure performed?  
The surgeon will perform a specific type of facelift, the deep plane facelift. This facelift technique has the advantage of producing a very natural result, while providing a very smooth neck contour. It also improves the jowls and the midface. 
The procedure involves making a series of incisions. The neck muscles are tightened through an incision just under the chin. Then in the lower face, the facial muscles are identified and repositioned in their new location. The skin is then re-draped and the excess is trimmed. All of the incisions are closed with very tiny stitches so that they heal without scars. At the conclusion, a dressing is then placed. 

How long is the surgical time for a facelift?  
The surgery will take about three hours to perform a facelift. 

Where are the incisions made for a facelift?  
The surgeon places all the incisions so that they are all hidden and out of site. The incision in the temporal area is hidden inside the hair. In front of the ear, it loops behind the tragus (the small cartilage in front of the ear). Next it travels behind the ear in the crease and then into the hair.  

Are there scars that result from a facelift?  
The scars from a facelift should not be visible after they have healed. There are two reasons why facelift scars are visible. One, because the skin was closed with too much tension. The second is because the incision was placed in a poor location. The surgeon uses the deep plane technique to avoid any tension on the skin. He also places the incisions in locations where they will not be visible and uses meticulous techniques to close the incisions.  

Is there much pain with a facelift?  
The surgeon will prescribe you pain medication in case you need it. Most patients do not feel pain after the facelift procedure. 

Will I need someone to help me out at home after the facelift procedure?  
It’s a good idea for patients to prearrange for post-surgery support from family members or friends. 

What is the recovery like after a facelift?  
The recovery for the facelift procedure is rather mild. The surgery is ambulatory, meaning that the patient is allowed to return home the same day of the surgery. The surgeon will see you in his clinic the morning after surgery. He will remove the dressing and check all of the incisions. He will then place a removable elastic bandage to help support the tissues during the healing phase. The patient will then return to the office on the fifth post-operative day. At that point, the small sutures around the ears and under the chin will be removed. On the tenth post-operative day, the sutures behind the ears will be removed. From here on the heeling will move forward quite rapidly. Bruising will gradually subside. By the two week mark the patient will be presentable. Most patients return to work at this time.  

When will I be able to return to work after my facelift?  
Patients are generally able to return to work about two weeks after the facelift procedure. 

How soon after my facelift will I am able to exercise?  
The surgeon recommends that his patients avoid strenuous exercise for three weeks following surgery. 

How soon after the facelift procedure are the stitches removed?  
The surgeon will remove the stitches around the ear and in the neck in the fifth post-operative day and the ones behind the ear on the tenth post-operative day. 

What are the risks or complications associated with facelift surgery?  
Some of the potential risks associated with facelift surgery may include infection, bleeding, scarring, nerve injury, and poor healing. These are very rare incurrence. 

 Are the results of a facelift permanent? 
The results of a facelift may be considered permanent in that you will continue to look younger years later than you would have without undergoing the facelift. However, a facelift cannot stop the aging process and the face will continue to age. Many say that the facelift tends to last about five to ten years, after which time patients may opt to undergo a touch-up procedure.