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 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 in the chin, jawline and neck become prominent. Not only does a facelift improve facial appearance but also has a dramatic effect on the neck, enhancing its contour and profile.
A facelift is frequently performed in conjunction with blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), forehead 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.
Facelifts are performed in outpatient surgical centers or in an accredited physician’s office. Local anesthesia with intravenous sedation is most commonly used, with premedication to help you relax. General anesthesia can be used if desired.
Dr. Nyte will make incisions inside the hairline at the temple, in front of the ear, then around the earlobe and behind the ear, ending at the scalp area. Excess skin is removed and sagging muscles and connective tissues are tightened. In some cases, fatty deposits are removed from beneath the chin and neck. Incisions are closed with small sutures.
The procedure may take up to 3 hours depending on whether any procedures are performed at the same time.
In the weeks following the 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.
Possible complications of facelifting:
While facelift surgery has become more and more advanced over the years, as with any surgical procedure there are risks associated with it. It is worth understanding these risks before going ahead with any kind of cosmetic surgery just to be sure you fully understand the implications.
The first risk to be aware of is that of the anaesthetic. General anaesthetics are very safe, however there are always risks associated with them. Some people suffer reactions to anaesthetics which can cause breathing difficulties or other side effects. You will of course be under the supervision of a full medical team who are trained to look for the signs and know exactly how to handle the situation should a reaction occur. Making sure you are in good health, not overweight and quite smoking prior to surgery can reduce risks greatly.
The actual facelift procedure itself is not without it’s risks. The main area of concern for most people is visible scarring that may be left by the procedure, modern facelift techniques have reduced the amount of scarring left and also helped move the scar locations to less visible areas of the face. It is possible that thick scars or keloid scars may form, however if you have a pre-disposition to this type of scarring you may already be aware of it and this is something that would have to be raised with your surgeon pre-facelift.
Nerve damage is another common concern. The nature of facelift surgery and it’s invasion of the face’s underlying structures means that nerves may well get slightly damaged in the process. Normally any damage is minimal and will heal itself quickly and without causing any problems. There are cases however, where nerve damage results in tingling in a certain area, or loss of sensation and in extreme cases, pain or drooping of the facial muscles. These kind of incidents are rare, and nerve damage itself is also rare especially when the surgery is carried out by an experienced surgeon.
There is of course the possibility that the outcome of the surgery won’t be to your expectations. It may be that the results aren’t as dramatic as you hoped, or there are still wrinkles showing that you thought would be eliminated by the surgery. Hopefully this won’t be the case as your expectations should have been managed well by the surgeon in your pre-surgery consultation. Then of course there is the possibility that the effects are too extreme - the wind tunnel look is a thing of the past, but you may find that you look a good few years younger and wide eyed, depending of course on the type of facelift you have had, and it may be a little too noticeable for your liking. Remember that you will “grow into” your facelift and in a few months it should look a little more natural.