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Facelift Surgery, known in technical parlance as "Rhytidectomy" is one of several amazing plastic surgery procedures grouped under facial aesthetic surgery. Facial aesthetic surgery aims to co-ordinate art and science to achieve the goals of returning youthful qualities to the face. It freshens and improves the face. The facelift works to remove surplus skin, reposition the folds of fat underneath, and make tight specific facial muscles. By taking away years from the face, it gives people, especially women, a feel-good feeling whenever they look in the mirror.
Facelift surgery was performed for the first time by Dr. Eugene Hollander of Berlin in 1901. This surgery focuses on improving facial aspects such as the anterior neck, cheeks, temples and jowls. Ideal candidates for this procedure fall in the age group of 45 to 55. It can effectively improve common but distressing signs of aging such as jowls; wrinkles; too much fatty tissue, vertical cords or loose skin in the neck area; and sagging cheeks.
One ought to have a thorough understanding of the procedure, the precautions to be taken before and after it, and the benefits, risks and possible complications before making the final decision to undergo the facelift surgery. Though facelift surgery can make one look younger, it cannot pause or stop the aging process. What's more, it cannot be used to fix aging associated changes pertaining to the eyelids, brow or forehead. Wrinkles surrounding the mouth also cannot be fixed through this procedure.
The facelift procedure, performed at Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital by Dr Theodorou, would take two to four hours to complete. The patients are not required to have their hair cut. You would be asked to put your signature on a consent form to confirm that you are ready to go ahead with the surgery. Before starting the procedure, general anesthesia or intravenous sedation would be administered. The patient's face would be measured and photographs taken for the medical record.
In the traditional facelift surgery, an incision is made beginning around the hairline and an inch over the ear and continuing to move downward, around the ear. The incision then progresses inside the ear to the back of the tragus cartilage to emerge at the earlobe-top, and continues to the bottom of the ear. The incision would cover some distance in the crease at the back of the ear. This distance would vary depending on the kind of facelift - regular or short scar facelift.
Following the making of the incisions, a process called undermining is carried out. This involves using a scalpel or a pair of scissors to separate the skin from the SMAS (deeper tissues). The SMAS layer may then be sutured to tighten it with or without taking off the excess tissues lying in a deeper position. When the SMAS layer is tightened, it reduces the degree of skin removal required and helps to accomplish a natural look. It also helps to make nasolabial folds softer, do away with jowls and re-establish cheek contour.
The tightening is followed by redraping of the skin; removal of the surplus skin; and closing of the surplus skin using skin adhesives or sutures. The outcome of the facial surgery varies from person to person due to factors such as the extent of sun damage and wrinkling, the elasticity and thickness of facial skin, the bone structure underneath, hormonal influences, genetic dispositions, and individual healing propensity.
Two common variations to the regular facelift surgery are the short-scar facelift and the neck-lift. Both these procedures suit the needs of people with a lesser degree of age-related changes. The short-scar facelift, also known as the S-lift or the mini facelift, is characterized by lesser scarring and is suitable for younger patients (below the age of 55). If the person's aging changes are restricted to the lower cheeks but he/she has little skin laxity otherwise and an almost normal neck contour, this would be a suitable procedure. The neck lift is ideal for persons whose aging changes are confined to the neck.
As the facelift does not touch the upper one-third of the face, any signs of aging in this area should preferably be rectified at the same time as the facelift. This is to prevent one part of the face from looking aged when the other looks youthful. There are several ancillary procedures to improve facial elements in the upper face. These include eyelid surgery, forehead lift, nose reshaping, skin treatments, chin implants, lip augmentation, and facial implants. These procedures can be done in conjunction with the rhytidectomy. They would be discussed at the time of the initial consultation.
Prior to the rhytidectomy, the patient may have to adjust his/her medication or take new medication and avoid anti-inflammatory drugs, herbal supplements and aspirin. Smoking habit and certain psychiatric illnesses are contraindications to the facelift. Smokers run a greater risk of skin slough and hematoma formation when compared to non-smokers. However, if the patient quits smoking or at least stops it for a month each before and after the procedure, the complications can be lessened. It is important that the patient does not have any psychiatric disorder which might involve a distorted understanding of reality.
Potential risks and complications that one should be aware of include ugly scarring, infection, correctable loss of hair at the site of the incision, hematoma, facial nerve injury, numbness, skin discoloration, deep vein thrombosis, earlobe malposition, and cardiac complications.
Private duty nurses are available at our center for the post-operative care of our facelift patients.
The stitches would be taken out within 7 days. Any discoloration, bruising or swelling as a consequence of the facelift surgery would lessen in two weeks. The incision lines would mature within six months. Makeup to conceal the scars can be applied in the second week following the surgery. Most patients would be able to take up their normal activities and go back to their jobs after a period of three weeks. Intense exercise such as yoga, jogging and weightlifting can be done after six weeks.
The new, aesthetically appealing appearance gained can be maintained through a healthy lifestyle and lifelong protection from the sun.