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NorthShore Plastic Surgery
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Facelift (Rhytidectomy)

The sun’s radiation, stress, gravity and other factors cause the skin to sag and fit more loosely over time. Areas of the face and neck, particularly around the jaw line and cheeks, are especially susceptible to the aging process. Though these changes are gradual, wrinkles and other signs of aging can make individuals “feel older” than they really are. A facelift, or rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure designed to lift the soft tissues back to where they belong, thus improving cheek and jaw line contour. It may also help to smooth and firm the skin, providing a fresh, youthful appearance. Additionally, fat injections may be used to improve the volume of the face.

Reasons for Considering a Facelift

  • Sagging skin, muscles and fat in the face and neck
  • Excess skin and fat on the neck
  • Sagging jaw line
  • Sagging cheeks
  • Prominent facial wrinkles

Procedure Description

The standard procedure for a facelift involves making small incisions along a normal crease in front of the ear and just inside the hairline, continuing to the backside of the ear and to the lower scalp. Tissue and fat deposits are separated, the skin is tightened and excess tissue is removed. If the neckline requires attention, an additional incision is made under the chin and the same procedure is repeated. Very fine stitches are used to close the incisions and to reduce any chance of scarring. Fat injections can also be done at the same time to improve the volume of the face, thus helping to achieve a more youthful appearance.

There are several different facelift techniques that can be employed.  Your surgeon will discuss the right options for you during your consultation. 

  • Anesthesia: General or local with sedation
  • Length of surgery: 2 to 4 hours
  • Length of stay: Outpatient (home the same day) or 1 overnight stay in the hospital (your surgeon will discuss a specific plan with you during your consultation).

Recovery Process and Final Result

  • Back to work: 7-10 days
  • Exercise: May be resumed in 3 weeks
  • Discomfort: Mild (anticipate 2-3 days of prescription pain medication)
  • Swelling: Moderate (should be gone in 2 to 3 weeks)
  • Bruising: Moderate (will decrease within 2 weeks)
  • Stitches, clips and staples: Removed in 4-8 day

You will see noticeable improvement within 1-2 weeks, but your final results will be seen in a few months.

Other Options For Your Consideration

The facelift can be combined with other cosmetic procedures such as eyelid surgery,  neck liposuction and mid-facelift.

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