Look and feel your best with a more youthful, rejuvenated facial appearance
What is a Face Lift (Rhytidectomy)?
A face lift, or rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure aimed at reducing the visible signs of ageing on ones face. It can help reduce wrinkles, firm up sagging skin, eliminate deep furrows, reduce heavy jowls, and remove or redistribute fatty deposits under the skin. Overall, a face lift can help you look the best you can for your age by giving you a fresh, rejuvenated facial appearance.
Face lift surgery is the third most popular cosmetic surgery procedure. For the majority of people who undergo the surgery, it can seem to literally turn back the clock on the ageing process by reducing the effects of the environment, stress and time. Face lifts can be performed on the whole face (a full face lift) or just on the brow area, lower face, or neck only. Surgery typically lasts between 3 to 5 hours, but varies according to the intervention carried out. The surgery can also be carried out with other procedures such as eye lid surgery.
The effects of a face lift can last for around 7 to 10 years. Some people opt for minor corrective surgery in years following, in order to retain the benefits of their face lift surgery and investment.
How a face lift works for you will also depend on your expectations and emotional well-being. Your age, general health, gender, genetic and ethnic make-up, skin and bone structure as well as the environment in which you live can all affect the outcome of your face lift surgery. Your surgeon will examine all these factors in detail to determine the type of procedure that suits your needs and advise you of the best possible outcome of your face lift.
Why you might consider a face lift?
Face lifts are mostly carried out on people in their 40s, 50s, or 60s but the procedure has also been successful in older people.Younger people are advised to opt for non-surgical facial procedures such as a chemical peel or microdermabrasion.
As with any cosmetic surgery, you should think carefully about your expectations and have realistic goals. You need to be prepared for your new look and understand how it may affect your health and emotional well-being.
You may be considering a face lift if you have:
Mid-facial area that is sagging Visible furrows or creases below the lower eyelids Furrows in the skin along the nose extending to the corner of the mouth Fat that has fallen or is displaced Lack of muscle tone in the lower face which is contributing to heavier jowls Sagging skin and excess fatty deposits under the chin and jaw
Before considering a face lift, you need to be in good health preferably a non-smoker or prepared to stop smoking for a given period before and after your surgery you must have a positive, realistic approach to your surgery.
What face lift surgery wont do
Face lift surgery can only work on specific areas of your face. You can have other, complementary surgery in conjunction with your face lift to rejuvenate brows (brow lift) and eye lids (blepharoplasty). A face lift wont change your overall appearance. A facelift can only be performed surgically, but non-surgical rejuvenation treatments can be used to work on superficial facial lines and to improve skin texture.
The pre-operative consultation along with the immediate weeks before surgery are very important if you are to make the most of your face lift surgery. You will need this time to prepare yourself emotionally and physically.
Be honest and clear with your surgeon about what you expect the surgery to achieve. If you wish, provide photos of how you expect your facial appearance to be after surgery. Your surgeon will assess your expectations and advise you if they are attainable.
The surgeon will examine all aspects of your face such as your skin quality, fatty deposits, laxity, elasticity and bone structure. She/he will ask you detailed questions about your overall health, well-being, goals and your medical history. The surgeon forms a surgical plan based on this information.
Be prepared to supply information on and/or discuss:
Your expectations of the surgery Any medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments Use of current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs Any previous surgery Any family history that may be relevant to your facial characteristics
During the consultation, your surgeon is likely to:
Assess your general health Evaluate any health conditions Examine your entire face, assessing brows, skin laxity and so on Discuss the likely results of your surgery Discuss the value of and any complications of combining your face lift with other facial area surgery such as eye lid or brow lift surgery Take photographs for medical records Talk about the type of anaesthetic used and its effects
You may be asked in preparation for surgery to:
Take certain medications or adjust your current medications Have certain lab tests or further medical evaluation Refrain from smoking in advance of surgery Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding
Questions you should ask
It is important that you are fully informed of the after care, any possible complications and the likely results of your surgery. You will also need to know how the procedure is carried out, in particular where incisions are made and where any scarring is likely. Below is a checklist of some key questions to ask:
What type of face lift surgery is best for me and why? How do I best prepare for the operation? Do I need assistance in post-operative care? What results can I expect? What side effects or complications may occur? What discomfort will I have? How will my face look immediately post op? Are there any activities or environments I should avoid while I recover? How lasting can I expect the results to be? What other cosmetic procedures can I consider in conjunction with my face lift? What instructions should I follow after the operation?
What Happens during Surgery?
Surgery takes around 3 to 5 hours. The position and type of incisions depend on the type of face lift. The procedure can be performed under general anaesthetic or with a combination of mild sedatives and local anaesthetics, depending on the extent of the surgery and your surgeons recommendation.
Traditional face lift
The surgeon makes an incision at the hairline by the temples, just above and in front of the ear and then circles the lobe. The incision is placed where it will be least visible and most easily hidden along the hairline whilst for men it is positioned to retain their natural beard line. The skin is carefully separated from the underlying tissue and muscle. The surgeon then tightens the skin and muscle, repositions any connective tissue and may remove excess fatty deposits or excess skin. The skin is then raised upwards and outwards to the incision point, and any excess is trimmed off before the skin is closed using fine sutures, metal clips or stitches.
After surgery, you will have dressings applied to the entire incision area. You may have very fine plastic drainage tubes inserted into the incision area to ensure that blood and other fluids dont built up under the skin. Again, these are usually needed only for 48 hours.
The mini or limited face lift is an alternative to the full face lift that requires fewer and shorter incisions at the temples and around the ear lobes.
This corrects sagging jowls, loose neck skin and any fat accumulation under the chin. The incision here can still start at the front of the ear lobe, but will then go around behind the ear ending in the lower scalp area.
Recovery What to Expect
At first, you will experience some bruising, swelling and discomfort. Once the swelling subsides, you will begin to see your rejuvenated self. It takes varying amounts of time for face lift surgery to heal and for individuals to realise the benefits of their surgery.
You may find that one side of your face is more swollen than the other side, that you have facial numbness or that you have temporary asymmetry in your facial features for a while. These are common in the immediate post-operative period and usually correct themselves quickly once the healing process sets in. As a rule, stitches are removed a week after surgery.
You are asked to refrain from strenuous exercise for the first 8 weeks and any activity which requires straining, bending over and lifting as they actions may precipitate bleeding. Light to moderate activity should be avoided for up to 6 weeks.
The full results of your face lift may not be apparent for up to 3 months as swelling and bruising can take time to abate. It may also take up to 6 months for scar tissue to be less visible to all but close scrutiny. Be patient, as you will need time not only to see the results but also to adjust to your new appearance. But be alert to any abnormalities in the healing process and make an appointment with your surgeon should you have concerns.
Eye Lid Surgery Recovery
Should you decided to incorporate eye lid surgery with your face lift you will be advised to rest with your head in an elevated position to alleviate the swelling. You may need to use ice packs from time to time. Most painful swelling subsides in the first 48 hours. Bruising and/or discoloration may last up to 3 to 4 weeks, but you may be allowed to wear concealing make up 1 to 2 weeks after the operation.
Your surgeon will give you a comprehensive list of dos and donts to adhere to after your operation. These will include instructions on caring for the incisions and wounds, applying dressing and on your medication, and on any abnormal signs you should look out for. Smoking and exposure to sunlight are not recommended.
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Face Lift (Rhytidectomy) | Saint James Hospital Malta