A facelift, or rhytidectomy, is one of the most popular and rewarding procedures performed in our field, and often gives dramatic results.

Facelifts can improve your overall appearance and reduce the visible signs of aging on the face and neck caused by the normal aging process, gravity, sun damage, loss of fat, heredity and loss of skin elasticity as you get older. The aging process not only affects your skin, but also affects underlying structures like fat and muscles in the face– causing deep creases, sagging skin and the formation of jowls. A facelift provides patients with a way to reduce this loose skin along the neck and jaw, as well as deep creases around the mouth.

Who should consider a facelift?

The best candidates for facelift surgery are people who show visible signs of facial aging due to sagging skin, lax facial muscles and/or excess fat in the lower portion of their face and neck, but who still have some skin elasticity.  In addition, there are a number of factors that also indicate if you are a good candidate for a facelift, including the presence of sagging jowls; if your “neck bands” (the thick bands running up and down your neck, become prominent; if you can smooth your skin by pulling back on it; and if you frequently need filer to maintain your look. Like all other cosmetic procedures, the best candidates for a facelift are those with a healthy lifestyle and who have realistic expectations for results. 

Most patients consider this procedure when the jowl area and neck start to show the effects of gravity, sun damage, and natural aging. We all have our own thresholds for making a decision to have surgery, and Dr. Draper will discuss all aspects of the procedure and potential benefits for your specific case during your consultation.

What a consultation entails

During your consultation, Dr. Draper will evaluate your general health status and evaluate your skin, as well as discuss your desired outcomes and expectations. She will then discuss your facelift options and recommend a course of treatment, as well as discuss the skin care regimen needed to maximize the quality of results prior to surgery.

What to expect during surgery

A facelift involves recontouring the skin and underlying supporting layers as well. Incisions are made just in front of the earlobe in the natural crease and extend behind the ear and into the hairline. There is also an incision in the hair above the ears that allows for balanced repositioning of the facial skin. In some patients a cheek or malar pad lift may be performed and this is approached through the lower lid area. A small incision is made under the chin to remove excess fat and to tighten the platysma muscle. The idea is to create a balanced, youthful appearance. Often a patient may choose to have eyelid, brow, or even nose reshaping at this setting.

Recovery information

Recovery varies from patient to patient but generally takes 2 to 3 weeks (although you may certainly be out and about before that time but you will still have a fair amount of healing to be done.) Sutures are removed between 5 and 10 days, leaving the ones in the hairline in place the longest. makeup may be worn at 5-7 days, but your face will feel tight and puffy to you. The benefit of a facelift is a refreshed, rested, and more youthful look. Although a facelift does require more “down time” than some other procedures, it is worth the investment — yielding a balanced, refreshed look to the face and neck.
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