A facelift, or rhytidectomy, is a cosmetic procedure aimed at reducing the signs of aging on the face. Over time, the face loses its youthful appearance due to heredity, stress, and exposure to the elements. The skin begins to sag around the jowls, chin, and neck. Deep creases form on the forehead and around the eyes and mouth, and features start to appear sunken or deflated. Since the first facelift procedure in 1901, science has come a long way in restoring these aging characteristics and presenting patients with fresh and rejuvenated appearances.
Rhytidectomy literally means “wrinkle removal,” but today’s operations can take up to 10 years off your appearance by addressing a wide variety of facial concerns. Facelifts can improve the appearance of sagging and excess skin, double-chins, wrinkles and creases, and deflated features. Using small hidden incisions, the surgeons at Cosmetic Surgery Associates tighten underlying tissue, plump sunken features, and re-drape the facial skin to capture a more youthful look. The fact that facelifts are so simple and effective makes them one of the most common cosmetic enhancement procedures of today.
Types of Facelifts
The term facelift is a broad term that encompasses many different facial surgeries and procedures. In general, facelifts can be categorized by what part of the face will be worked on and the extent of the work to be done.
Also referred to as a forehead lift, the upper portion of the face, extending from the hairline to the eyes, is tightened to remove wrinkles in this area. An incision is made just above the hairline, so no scars are visible. Excess skin is removed to give the upper third of the face a taut but natural appearance and it is used to lift sagging eyebrows.
With a mid facelift, the surgeon focuses on removing lax skin and wrinkles, as well as filling out the appearance underneath the eyes and around the cheeks. Incisions are made along the hairline so the surgeon can reposition soft tissue in this portion of the face. Sometimes, fat grafting is used to fill out the features of the midfacial area such as the cheeks.
Lower facelifts focus on improving the bottom third of the face from the base of the nose through the neck. Some common features addressed on the lower face include jowls, sagging corners of the mouth, and deep “smile lines,” also known a nasolabial folds. Incisions for these procedures are concealed along the border of the patient’s ears. This is the procedure traditionally referred to as the facelift.
There are many different types of facelifts and the right one for you depends on a number of factors including desired improvements, facial anatomy, elasticity, collagen levels, skin care, and any prior cosmetic work you’ve had done. One of the board certified plastic surgeons at Cosmetic Surgery Associates will go over all of this information with you during your consultation and determine the best procedure for your individual needs.
Good candidates for a facelift procedure are non-smokers in good health, usually between the ages of 40 and 70. Nonetheless, age is not the most important factor in determining facelift eligibility and younger and older candidates will be considered.
You should not undergo a facelift if you have a medical condition that may affect your ability to heal properly or are allergic to anesthesia. Some patients may discover that their desired outcome can be achieved with a non-invasive treatment such as our laser skin resurfacing offer. It is important that patients have realistic expectations about the outcome of the surgery.
Contact our Bethesda, Maryland office today to request a facelift consultation with one of our distinguished plastic surgeons.
BEFORE & AFTER PHOTOS
During your consultation with Cosmetic Surgery Associates, either Dr. Richards, Dr. Jabs, or Dr. Magge will talk to you about your surgical goals, measure and examine your facial structure, and determine your candidacy for a facelift operation. Be sure to tell the doctor about any allergies, medical conditions, or medications you currently take. Once the doctor has performed a thorough evaluation and has a clear sense of your desired outcome they will determine the best procedure for you and go over all pre and postoperative instructions. After the consultation, your surgeon will be able to provide you with an estimation of costs. Feel free to ask about other treatments that can be combined with your facelift, such as rhinoplasty or eyelid surgery.
Preparing for a Facelift
Preparation for your facelift surgery begins two weeks prior to the scheduled operation. At this time, you should stop smoking and stop taking any anti inflammatory medications or blood thinners. You should also make arrangements for a ride home after your surgery.
Our Facelift Technique
The Superficial Musculo Aponeurotic System, or SMAS for short, is the thin layer of muscle and tissue located directly underneath the skin. The SMAS facelift is one of the most common facelift techniques and is usually what comes to mind when people think of a facelift.
In this method, the surgeon will make incisions to access the SMAS layer. This layer is then tightened and the tissue is repositioned to create more shape and contour. The skin is re-draped and excess is removed for a youthful and natural look. This is the most effective and safest technique for natural, long lasting results.
There are other, albeit less common, facelift techniques available that your surgeon may utilize depending on your desired outcome and existing facial features. These procedures and methods will be discussed at the time of your consultation.
On the day of your procedure, your surgeon will once again go over your individualized surgical plan. The doctor will mark on your face and head where the incisions will go and then deliver a sedative or in some cases general anesthesia. The operation generally takes about 2-5 hours, although this will vary depending on the extent of your treatment.
After surgery, the doctor will bandage your face and provide you with instructions on how to properly clean and care for your sutures. Symptoms such as swelling or soreness will subside and can be controlled with over-the-counter medication.
Recovery time after surgery will vary depending on your operation. As a rule, you should avoid smoking, drinking, pools, hot tubs, saunas, and strenuous activity for at least 2 weeks. The surgeon will provide you with more details about the post-operational period during your consultation, including how much time you should expect to take off from work. A follow-up appointment will be made for about a week after surgery.
Does a Facelift Require General Anesthesia?
Most patients considering a facelift want to know if they will require general anesthesia. Usually, you do not have to get general anesthesia. When you undergo a neck lift or lower facelift, your surgeon will give you an IV sedation, also known as twilight sedation. The level of sedation is much lesser than the general anesthesia and incidences of feeling tired or nausea are less too. However, during your consultation, your surgeon will help determine the best anesthesia for you. If you have chronic back or neck pain, other medical issues or if you are undergoing multiple procedures at the same time, general anesthesia might be in your best interests.
What is the Best Age to have a Facelift?
On average, facelift patients are in the age group of 35 to 65 and most surgeons do not recommend the procedure for those below the age of 35. The optimal age for undergoing a facelift is 45 to 50, but it depends on how you feel about yourself and the aging signs you are experiencing. The goal of the procedure is to maintain your natural face, and it is advantageous to address the aging signs sooner for the results to be better. Facial aging can differ in people of the same age due to genetics, lifestyle choices and environmental factors. Older patients, those at 60 or older, have significant aging and the results will be quite noticeable, which may not always be desired. It is then perhaps safer to say that the best age to get a facelift varies, depending on your facial aging and aesthetic goals as well.
Average cost: $5,000-$9,000
The cost of your facelift procedure will depend on your specific case and if you opt to receive additional treatments or procedures. Please feel free to schedule a private consultation to receive a quote.