A traditional facelift, or rhytidectomy, is a type of cosmetic surgery procedure used to give a more youthful appearance.  The procedure literally removes wrinkles from the skin by tightening underlying tissues and then draping skin on the patient’s face or neck.  As we age, our skin begins to sag and lose its elasticity.  A facelift helps “lift” the skin while providing more elasticity, both of which gives a more youthful appearance.  There are many factors that go into how long a traditional facelift lasts, but you can expect the procedure lasting anywhere from 7-10 years.

Signs of Aging
There are five basic traits of an aging face.  These include the following:

  • Wrinkles
  • Age spots or pigment changes in skin
  • Loss of volume in cheeks
  • Loss of elasticity
  • Gravity

With the proper care, we can help slow the look of an aging face.  Below are a number of things you can do to help prevent an aging face.

  • Eat Healthy – Your daily diet can have a major impact on the appearance of your face.  Processed foods and other foods that contain a high amount of sugar should be avoided.  Try sticking to foods that are as close to their natural state as possible.  A good rule of thumb is to shop for foods at your grocery store that are on the perimeter of the store.  These foods usually contain fresh fruits, vegetables and meats.
  • Think Vitamins – Your body needs suitable nutrients and vitamins to work properly.  Some of these vitamins include vitamin C, vitamin E, and Zinc just to name a few.
  • Drink Plenty of Water – Your body consists of approximately 70% water.  When you become thirsty, that is your body’s recognition of dehydration.  Drinking plenty of pure water a day will help your skin by acting as an internal moisturizer which can help prevent signs of aging.
  • Cut Out Smoking & Alcohol – Not much can be said here.  Most people know the dangers of smoking and alcohol intake.  Smoking and drinking alcohol excessively can expedite the aging process.  Do your skin and your body a favor by cutting down or, better yet, stopping all activities that involve smoking or alcohol.
  • Avoid the Sun – The sun has a major impact on how lively your skin appears to be.  Although the sun is needed to help manufacture Vitamin D within our bodies, it is important to know that too much sun, at the wrong times during the day, can have devastating effects on our skin.  The sun can cause dehydration, fine lines, wrinkles and even skin cancer.

Although the items listed above can certainly help slow down the aging process, there will eventually be a time in everyone’s life where father time catches up.  When it does there is a surgical alternative in a facelift that can help regain a more youthful appearance.

Why a Facelift
A facelift can help improve the appearance of the face in a number of ways including:

  • Sagging in the face
  • Deep creases in specific areas on the face including the lower eyelids, along the nose and at the corner of the mouth.
  • Loose skin or fatty deposits under the chin and jaw.

Before and After Photos
If you are unhappy with your appearance, or lack the self-esteem you once had because of you are self-conscience about the appearance of your face, then a facelift may be your solution.  If you are thinking about having a facelift, it may help for you to see before and after photos.  These will help you get a sense of the type of work that can be performed and can offer a certain expectation of the results.  It is important that when you consult with your cosmetic surgeon that you understand what type of results you might be able to expect with your specific facelift procedure.  Your surgeon will review with you everything you need to know such as preparation before the procedure, duration and expectation, as well as recovery.  No matter what type of facelift you decide on after talking with your surgeon, there are a few basic steps along the way during the procedure.  These include:

Anesthesia – There is typically a combination of anesthesia methods used during a facelift procedure.  Depending on the type of facelift you are having performed, you anesthesia method may be altered.  The basic methods include local anesthesia, a mild intravenous anesthesia and a mild sedative.

Incision – When a facelift is performed, a number of incisions will be made on your face.  The best place to make each incision is on a natural crease of the skin.  This location can help hide the incision.

The Facelift – Once the anesthesia has been administered, and after the incisions have been made by your surgeon, the act of the facelift will take place.  This involves removing skin (and possibly some fat), reshaping the area of concern, tightening the skin around the area and then re-draping the skin in place.

Understanding the Risks
All surgical procedures, no matter how small they may appear to be, come with a level of risk.  The risks involved with a facelift are frightening to many because they could potentially be located on the most visible place on our body – the face.  It is important that when you choose a surgeon for your facelift procedure, you choose one that is highly qualified and experienced.  Some of the risks associated with having a facelift include, but not limited, to the following:

  • Unfavorable scarring
  • Pain
  • Dissatisfaction with the results
  • Numbness of the skin
  • Facial asymmetry
  • Infection
  • Skin discoloration
  • Swelling of the skin
  • Hair loss

Choosing the Right Surgeon
Once you make the decision to have a facelift, the next most important decision you can make it which surgeon is right for you.  Do your homework about the physician prior to making any phone call.  Review their website, look for before and after photos, testimonials and bio or philosophy of the physician.  Also, make sure the physician is board certified.

Lastly, look to see if they hold any certifications or are members of any associations.  These may include:

  • American Academy of Facial Plastics and Reconstructive Surgery
  • American Academy of Otolaryngology
  • Ameral Board of Otolaryngology