Dr. Stephan works tirelessly to ensure that your surgical results are as natural and subtle as possible, and that you are able to achieve the facial appearance you hope for.
In time, gravity, sun exposure, and the stresses of daily life take their toll on our faces and necks. Deep creases appear beside the mouth, the jaw line drops and jowling develops. The neck develops loose folds and fat deposits (i.e. turkey neck). Facelift and neck lift can counteract these signs of aging by tightening muscle, removing fat, and trimming excess skin, giving your face a fresher, youthful look. After surgery, some patients look 10-15 years younger.
Facelifts, technically known as rhytidectomies (literally, “removal of wrinkles”), rejuvenate the mid- to lower face and neck. Facelifts are most effective for patients who want to correct:
Facelifts can produce a dramatic improvement in appearance for patients with the problems mentioned above. However, facelifts do not stop the aging process; in time, signs of aging will gradually appear once again.
Further, facelifts will not rejuvenate the brow, eyelids, nose, and some of the midface. Patients who want to improve these areas may consider combining a facelift with a brow lift or eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty).
Injectable soft-tissue fillers, facial implants and skin resurfacing can also enhance the effects of a facelift.
The best candidates for facelift (rhytidectomy):
During your consultation, Dr. Stephan will discuss whether a facelift is right for you.
Facelifts are typically outpatient procedures and may be performed in an office-based facility, surgery center or hospital. Patients may have a choice of IV sedation or general anesthesia. The length of the procedure depends on the extent of work and other concomitant procedures (eyes, brow,etc.). Usually patients will stay overnight to recover.
The way a facelift is performed varies depending on the surgeon, the patient’s facial structure, and the extent of correction desired. The three most common incision techniques are:
Traditional facelift: The “full” facelift for rejuvenating the face, jowls and neck, including fat sculpting, lifting and repositioning of muscle and deeper tissues, and skin trimming and redraping. The incision begins at the temples and travels down to the front of the ear, around the earlobe, and behind the ear to the lower scalp at the hairline. Sometimes, a small incision is made under the chin.
Limited-incision facelift: For limited rejuvenation around the eyes and mouth, including nasolabial folds and other deep creases. Short incisions are made at the temples and around the ear, and possibly in the lower eyelids and/or under the upper lip as well.
Neck lift: A neck lift concentrates on jowls, loose skin on the neck, and fat under the chin. The incision is made around the ear lobe and behind the ear to the lower scalp. A neck lift procedure involves removal of excess skin and a platysmaplasty to tighten or alter muscles in the neck. Liposuction can also be used to remove excess fat during a neck lift. This may be performed under general anesthesia or local anesthesia with sedation, depending on the preference of the patient.
In all three methods, incisions are closed with stitches. Scars are hidden in the hairline and natural contours of the face.
After your rhytidectomy, Dr. Stephan will wrap the incisions in bandages and may place drainage tubes in the area. The tubes will be taken out the next day, when your hair will be carefully washed. If surgical clips are used to hold the incisions closed, they will be removed one week after the facelift along with your stitches.
At first, you may experience swelling, numbness, bruising, and a feeling of tightness or tension in the face and neck. Your face may look uneven or slightly asymmetric, and your facial muscles may feel stiff. Most of these usually resolve within 3-6 weeks, and sensation typically returns to normal within a few months. Scars become less red, raised, lumpy or itchy in time.
Many patients return to work by the third week. Camouflage cosmetics can be used to minimize the appearance of bruising.
You should be gentle with your skin and hair as you recover. Men may need to shave behind the neck and ears where areas of beard-growing skin have moved.
Results of a facelift do not last forever. Multiple factors influence how long a face lift will last. But in another sense, the effects are permanent; years later, your face will continue to look better than if you had never had a facelift.