What is a Facelift?
A facelift, or rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure that improves visible signs of aging in the face and neck, such as:
- Relaxation of the skin of the face causing sagging
- Deepening of the fold lines between the nose and corner of the mouth
- Fat that has fallen or has disappeared
- Jowls developing in the cheeks and jaw
Who Is a Good Candidate For a Facelift?
Anyone who is unhappy with their aging face is a good candidate for this procedure. After we turn 20, our body produces one percentage point less collagen every year. And since collagen provides the underlying structural support for our skin, if we’re producing 25 percent less collagen at 45 than we were at 20, it’s easy to see why our faces are sagging.
During a face-lift, facial soft tissues are lifted, excess skin is removed and skin is draped back over the newly repositioned contours.
As a restorative surgery, a facelift does not change your fundamental appearance and cannot stop the aging process.
A facelift can only be performed surgically; minimally invasive rejuvenation treatments cannot achieve the same results but may help delay the time at which a facelift becomes appropriate and complement the results of surgery.
What Signs of Aging Does a Facelift Target?
Contrary to popular belief, facelifts do their work from the mid-face downward. The upper face and brows are controlled by different muscles and are targeted in a brow lift.
These are the visible signs of aging that respond well to facelift surgery:
- Deep nasolabial folds
- Mid-face sagging
- Fatty, loose areas below your cheekbones
- Deep creases under your eyes
- Banding, fatty tissue, and loose skin on your upper neck
Types of Facelift Procedures
There are three different types of facelift procedures to choose from. Dr. Olack may combine parts of various procedures to fit the patient. These procedures are:
- Traditional Facelift — This style of facelift delivers the largest degree of lifting and repositioning of underlying muscle and other tissue. The traditional facelift rejuvenates the lower third of the face, the jowls, and the upper neck. This method also features the longest incisions. They begin at the temples on each side of the face, run down in front of the ears, wrap behind the ears, and end in the hairline. As mentioned above, a second incision may be made under the chin to access the skin and muscle of the upper neck. Whereas in the past, fat was removed as part of most facelift procedures, Dr. Olack usually simply repositions the fat to avoid giving the patient a hollow look that you’ve seen with other facelifts gone wrong. The final step is to trim excess skin and then re-drape the skin and attach it.
- Mid-Face Lift — A mid-face lift targets the middle of the face, particularly the cheeks. Mid-face lifts can correct nasolabial folds running from the nose to the mouth, reduce puffiness under the eyes, and remove sagging and return definition to the cheeks. For a mid-face lift, incisions are made in the lower eyelids or the mouth.
- Limited-Incision Facelift — If the patient doesn’t have extensive sagging, a limited-incision facelift can be a great option. Shorter incisions are made at the temples, around the ears, and sometimes in the lower eyelids or under the upper lip with the goal of rejuvenating around the eyes and the mouth. This method will target deep nasolabial creases and under eye creases.
Before & After Facelift
For the first week, you’ll have to sleep with your head elevated. You cannot sleep on your side, as pressure on your cheeks needs to absolutely be avoided. The first few days of your recovery will be the most difficult. However, after those initial days you’ll improve relatively quickly. As you recover, you will notice numbness in some areas. This is normal and is a result of your facial nerves adjusting to the re-draped skin. You’ll notice that your incisions itch at times in your recovery, but this is also normal and will pass with time.
Facelift patients can become frustrated by residual swelling that comes on even weeks after their surgery, usually at night. This also is normal, and it will eventually resolve. Most patients can return to work by the third week after surgery.
“Dr. Olack and his staff are always very friendly, helpful and make the experience very easy!!”