As we age, the skin of the face becomes loose and wrinkled, and the muscles and fat begin to sag and slide down the face. A rhytidectomy, also known as a facelift surgery, serves to reposition the fat and muscles of the face so that the contours are once again full and rejuvenated. The skin is then re-draped over this foundation and tightened to reduce wrinkles. Often a facelift is combined with fat grafting to help fill in some of the deeper furrows and hollow areas that cannot be addressed by the facelift alone. A neck lift and eyelid lift are also commonly done at the same time.
What happens during surgery?
The surgery involves making an incision that extends from the side burn, in front and around to the back of the ear and into the hairline. The skin of both sides of the face is lifted carefully and then the muscles are tightened. The skin is then re-draped over the tightened muscles, extra skin is removed, and the incisions are closed with a combination of sutures and staples. A special head wrap dressing and drains are placed.
What will my recovery be like? The surgery requires you to stay overnight in the hospital for monitoring and strict blood pressure control. This minimizes potential bleeding complications. In the morning, the drains and dressing are removed, and you are discharged home, and may shower. Expect that you will have facial bruising and swelling. This will be significantly improved after a week, but may take several weeks to completely resolve. You will also need to minimize exercise or vigorous activity for 4-6 weeks after surgery to allow for proper healing and to prevent bleeding and worsening of swelling. You should plan for activities accordingly. A compression garment worn for 4-6 weeks helps to decrease swelling and improve overall results. Sutures will be removed in the office after 5 days and staples after 10 days. Makeup should not be worn until incisions are healed.
What are the risks? Although Lift Plastic Surgery is home to Houston's best facelift surgeons who take every precaution during surgery, the nerves that control the muscles and movement of the face are at risk for injury during the procedure because they are so close to the skin. If injury does occur, it is usually not permanent. However, the nerves may take several months to recover. During this time, there may be weakness to the involved area of the face. The potential for nerve injury is greater in a repeat facelift because scarring makes the nerves harder to see, or may displace them into an unnatural position. The face is very vascular, so bleeding is also a risk after surgery, particularly if the blood pressure is not well controlled. This is very important in the first week after surgery, especially the first 24 hours. A collection of blood under the skin can cause potential wound healing, infection, or skin death. This is why we ask you to spend the first night after surgery in the hospital and to limit your activity level.
How long will my facelift last? The longevity of the procedure will vary for every patient, but will not be permanent. Aging and gravity will continue to occur, and some patients will desire a repeat facelift throughout their lifetime.