Over time, gravity and sun exposure take their toll on the face and neck. Deep creases that run from each side of the nose to the corners of the mouth appear; the jawline slackens; and the neck develops loose folds and fat deposits. Face lift (rhytidectomy) counteracts these signs of aging by tightening muscle, removing fat, and trimming excess skin.
Face lift improves the look of the lower and middle areas of the face, and the neck. It is most effective for correcting the following:
- Mid-face sagging
- Deep creases under the eyes
- Nasolabial folds
- Sagging fat
- Loose skin and fat under the chin and jaw
Although face lift removes or reduces signs of aging, over time, they will gradually reappear. A face lift does not improve the look of the brow, eyelids and nose, and some parts of the mid-face. A patient who wants to improve those areas might combine a face lift with a brow lift or eyelid surgery, and/or with injectable soft-tissue fillers, facial implants and skin resurfacing.
Candidates for Face Lift
The best candidates for a face lift want to correct one or more of the signs of aging indicated above; have some facial sagging, but still have elasticity in their skin; are generally healthy; do not smoke; and have realistic expectations about what face lift can do.
It is very important that the surgeon ascertains whether the patient is only interested in a face lift because of pressure from someone else.
Recovery from Face Lift
After a face lift , the surgeon wraps the incisions in bandages, and may insert drainage tubes; if so, they are taken out the next day. If surgical clips are holding some incisions closed, they are removed, along with any stitches, 1 week after the procedure.
Post-face liftt, swelling, numbness, bruising and a feeling of tightness or tension in the face and neck may be felt. The face may look uneven or distorted, and facial muscles may feel stiff. Most of these side effects resolve within 3 to 6 weeks, and sensation typically returns to normal within a few months. Scars become less red, raised, lumpy and itchy over time.
Many patients return to work by the third week. Camouflage cosmetics can be used to minimize the appearance of bruising.