A facelift (“rhytidectomy”) is a surgical procedure designed to reverse the signs of aging on the face and neck. Wrinkles and sagging skin in the jowls, around the mouth, and the neck are significantly improved, making patients look up to ten years younger. Aging is a multi-front war, and different procedures tackle different problems.
Think of your face as a piece of furniture like a sofa. A facelift is a procedure to reposition the sagging cushions on your face. The cover is improved with a combination of things from sunscreen to good skin care to a resurfacing procedure with a chemical peel or laser. Dr. Conrad prefers to use a fractionated CO2 (carbon dioxide) laser called the DOT laser but thinks excellent results can be achieved with chemical peels as well. Like a sofa, sometimes the cushions of your face are a bit deflated and lose that youthful look of fullness and vigor. We replace the stuffing, or volume, with fillers that range from your own fat to a whole host of off-the-shelf products with different profiles in terms of duration of effect and cost.
Best Candidates for Facelift
The best candidates for a facelift can relate to one or more of the following:
- Lines and wrinkles in the lower face
- Wrinkles and sagging skin in the neck
- Displaced fat in the face
- Sagging jowls
- A deflated appearance
A facelift is an outpatient or inpatient procedure performed with general anesthesia and usually takes two to three hours to perform. Incisions are easily hidden within the hairline and around the ears, and they vary in length depending on the degree of correction necessary.
A facelift is often combined with other procedures such as a brow lift, eyelid lift, fat grafting, lip augmentation, or facial liposuction to provide a more balanced appearance with the rest of the facial features. Once you discuss your goals and medical history with Dr. Conrad during your consultation, he will customize a surgical plan that will meet your individual needs and desires.
For mild facial wrinkles and sagging skin, a mini-facelift can be performed with limited incisions that begin at the temples and wrap behind the ears.
A full facelift utilizes the mini-facelift incision and extends around the back of the ears and along the hairline, which allows Dr. Conrad to address wrinkles and sagging skin in the neck as well as the lower face. Also, an incision is made under the chin to help tighten sagging neck muscles and remove unwanted fat that might be present. With all facelift techniques, Dr. Conrad tightens the muscles and tissues of the face along with the skin to provide the most natural-looking result.
During their consultation, patients are given specific instructions that will help to speed their recovery time, which is just under two weeks at 10 to 12 days. In general, patients should expect to awaken from surgery with a bandage around their face and drainage tubes that will prevent fluid accumulation. Bruising and swelling (generally minimal) will begin to improve after about three to four days but may last to some extent for several weeks. Patients should avoid bending and lifting during the first couple of weeks after surgery. Typically, patients can resume exercise after two and a half weeks.
The results of a facelift will be noticeable immediately and are permanent, but patients should note that this procedure will not stop the natural aging process. Patients can prolong their facelift results by wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater on a daily basis and by not smoking. Also, remember, aging is a war on multiple fronts, and a facelift is often done with procedures like lasering to improve the cover or fillers to help restore the normal facial volumes.
If you are interested in a facelift procedure in the Wichita, Kansas area, please schedule a consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Matthew Conrad by calling (316) 681-2227 today. For your convenience, you may also fill out our online contact form.