Face Lift Surgery


Rhytidectomy is more commonly known as face lift surgery. Ranking among the top five cosmetic surgical procedures, more than 100,000 U.S. residents have face lift surgery each year to combat the effects of aging, such as sagging skin and wrinkles. Rhytidectomy can help restore more youthful looks and improve facial appearance.

Why Get Face Lift Surgery?

As we age, the muscles and fibers supporting our skin loosen, which may result in wrinkles, a double chin or a soft jawline. With age, bone mass is lost in the maxilla, mandible, and front bones, which increases sagging skin on the forehead and other areas of the face. Once skin sags, it can be difficult to differentiate between the neck and the jaw line. Another factor that increases aging is sunlight, which can damage the epidermis and reduce structural elements of the skin. Some people develop elastosis, which is when elastic fibers in the skin get thicker and disorganized, and collagen degenerates.

The Procedure

Through small incisions, cosmetic surgeons remove excess fat on the face, tighten facial muscles and stretch facial skin so that the patient has a smoother and firmer appearance. Face lift surgery is performed on the face, neck or both areas. Patients can have a full face lift, a mini, deep plane or another option. Face lift surgery is performed in our surgical facility. Patients may receive general anesthesia or a sedative that allows them to stay away during the lift but not feel pain. It could take a few hours or more to complete the procedure. Afterwards, patients may have temporary skin numbness and feel significant discomfort.

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Possible Complications

As with all surgical procedures, there are potential risks and complications. One is that some people, such as smokers, heal slower than on average. Other complications may be more serious, such as injury to the nerves controlling facial muscles. Usually, this is a temporary effect seen in post-op. The risk of infection or having a reaction to anesthesia is possible. Some patients may experience blood collecting under their skin, which is called hematoma. Doctors are able to remove these.

Candidates for Face Lift

Anyone interested in face lift will discuss it with a physician to make sure they are a viable candidate for the procedure. Those with the best expected outcomes have the following characteristics.

  • Face or neck sags but there is only moderate looseness
  • Skin has some elasticity
  • Strong, well-defined bone structure
  • Fair or medium complexion
  • Minimal adipose tissue

While anyone can choose face lift surgery, some may have physical traits that might limit optimal results. This includes those who are overweight or have thicker, hyper-pigmented skin. Those with drooping submandibular glands under the jaw and a hyoid bone that is not positioned well could see less than optimal face lift surgery results.

A physician can fully explain face lift surgery and the different types and options available, as well as answer questions to help potential patients make an informed decision before moving forward.