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
- Loose skin and excess fat of the neck that can appear as a double chin or “turkey neck”
The loss of youthful contours in the face can be due to variety of factors, including thinning of the skin, loss of facial fat, gravity, sun damage, smoking, as well as heredity and stress.
Other procedures that might be performed in conjunction with a facelift are brow lift and eyelid surgery to rejuvenate aging eyes. Fat transfer or fillers may be suggested to replace the lost fatty volume. Skin treatments such as IPL, dermabrasion, peels or laser may be offered to improve the quality and texture of the skin.
What facelift surgery can’t do
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.
Some minimally invasive treatments, such as stem cell facelifts, are of unproven benefit.
Facelift surgery is a highly individualized procedure. You should do it for yourself, not to fulfill someone else’s desires or to try to fit any sort of ideal image.
Who is a good candidate for facelift surgery?
In general, good candidates for a facelift include:
- Healthy individuals who do not have medical conditions that impair healing
- Individuals with a positive outlook and realistic expectations
Facelift costs may include:
- Surgeon’s fee
- Hospital or surgical facility costs
- Anesthesia fees
- Prescriptions for medication
- Post-surgery garments
- Medical tests
When choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area for facelift surgery, remember that the surgeon’s experience and your comfort with him or her are just as important as the final cost of the surgery.
What should I expect during a consultation for a facelift?
During your facelift consultation be prepared to discuss:
- Your surgical goals
- Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
- Current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drug use
- Previous surgeries
Your surgeon will also:
- Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
- Discuss your facelift options
- Examine and measure your face
- Take photographs
- Recommend a course of treatment
- Discuss likely outcomes of a facelift and any risks or potential complications
- Discuss the type of anesthesia that will be used
The consultation is the time to ask your plastic surgeon questions. To help, we have prepared a checklist of questions to ask your facelift surgeon that you can take with you to your consultation.
It’s important to understand all aspects of your facelift surgery. It’s natural to be nervous about it, whether it’s excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don’t be shy about discussing these feelings with your plastic surgeon.