Face Lift

What is a Facelift?

A facelift, also called “rhytidectomy,” restores smoother, more pleasing contours to your face and neck by smoothing the loose skin on your face and neck, tightening and repositioning the underlying tissues and removing the excess fat.

What are some of the most common benefits of this surgery?

A facelift in Akron, OH can “set back the clock,” improving the most visible signs of aging by removing excess fat, tightening underlying muscles and re-draping the skin of your face and neck. A facelift can make you look younger and fresher, and it may enhance your self-confidence in the process. But it can’t give you a totally different look, nor can it restore the health and vitality of your youth.

Limited Incision Facelift is a new facelift procedure performed by our doctors on patients who have early aging changes. It provides the benefits of a full-fledged facelift with fewer incisions and faster healing. Ask our doctors if you are a candidate for this procedure.

What will happen at the initial consultation?

The initial consultation will begin at our cosmetic surgery office in Akron, Ohio, with a complete medical history and exam. Click here to Request Your Consultation at Crystal Clinic Plastic Surgeons. You should be very frank in discussing what you hope to achieve with surgery. This will help us understand your expectations and determine whether they can realistically be achieved.

Who is a candidate for a Facelift?

One or more of the following conditions may indicate that you are a good candidate for a facelift:

  • A deep line, or fold, running from the corner of your nose to the corner of your mouth.
  • Jowls or loss of a well-defined jawline associated with youthfulness.
  • Deep wrinkles in the cheeks and sagging of the “highlight” areas of the cheekbones.
  • Loose skin, wrinkles, vertical “cords” or excess fatty tissue in the neck.

Other options available to you will be discussed along with risks and limitations. The location where the surgery will take place, the estimated duration of the procedure, the type of anesthesia required and the costs of the surgery will be explained. “Before and after” photographs of patients will be available for your review. Your photograph will be taken and can be viewed with the computer imaging system if you wish.

Alternative Treatments

A facelift can improve drooping of the cheeks and neck. It cannot, however, correct conditions such as sagging eyebrows, excess skin and fatty deposits in the upper and lower eyelids, or wrinkles around the mouth. A facelift is often combined with other procedures, such as forehead lift, eyelid surgery and skin resurfacing, to give a more balanced, natural rejuvenation.

A traditional facelift addresses both the face and the neck. In some patients, especially the younger patient with early aging changes, the neck lift may not be necessary. In other situations, the neck can be lifted and nothing performed on the face.

While loose skin can be tightened by a facelift, the texture of the skin will not be changed by a facelift. Acne scars, age spots and smoker’s creases will return unless additional skin treatments are combined. Laser resurfacing or chemical resurfacing with peels can be used in combination with a facelift to improve the skin wrinkles, texture and age spots.

All of these options are individualized and can be discussed at the time of your consultation.

Risks and Limitations

The philosophy of Crystal is to keep you well-inside and out. For some patients with medical conditions, your doctor may ask you to have a complete preoperative medical exam by your primary care doctor.

When a facelift is performed by a qualified Akron, OH plastic surgeon, complications are infrequent and usually minor. A facelift is subject to all of the usual risks that accompany any surgical procedure – bleeding, infection and wound healing problems. However, the chance of these occurring is uncommon. Precautions at the time of surgery, such as the use of antibiotics and tubes (drains) to remove any oozing after surgery, minimize the risks of infection and bleeding.

There are nerves in the face that provide sensation to the skin and movement of the face. It is common to have numbness of the skin after surgery. This will improve over a few weeks to months. Injury to a nerve that moves the face is extremely rare, and when it does occur it is usually temporary and returns to full function within six weeks.

Smoking and certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, increase the risk of wound healing problems. A smoker can reduce these risks by discontinuing smoking at least two weeks before surgery.

Preparing for a Akron, OH Face Lift

Before and after surgery, our doctors prefer to pre-condition the skin by incorporating a skin care regimen. In addition, they recommend the use of selected vitamins and supplements to minimize bruising and swelling. This not only allows your skin to benefit from being prepared and healthy, but it also gets you involved in the process. Our medical esthetician will work with you to find the right camouflage makeup that can be applied 3-7 days after surgery.

How is a Facelift performed?

Incisions for a facelift are made behind the hairline in the temple and continue in front of the ear, around the ear lobe, behind the ear and into the hair. The muscles and sagging tissues are tightened and repositioned to create a natural, more youthful look. The excess facial fat and skin is removed and the incisions closed with stitches. Metal clips may be used on the scalp. A small incision under the chin is made to permit tightening of the neck and contour the jaw line. Following surgery a small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin behind your ear to drain any blood that may collect. Your head will also be wrapped loosely in bandages.

Rhytidectomy patient shown before surgery with deep cheek folds, jowls and loose skin on the front and side of neck.

Incisions are made on either side of the face from inside the hairline at the temples, in front of or partially within the ear, around the earlobe, in the crease behind the ear and into the lower scalp. The design of these incisions may vary from patient to patient and according to the surgeonís personal technique.

Loose skin is pulled up and backward, and the excess is removed.

The postoperative patient with smoother, firmer skin on the face and neck.

Rhytidectomy patient shown before surgery with deep cheek folds, jowls and loose skin on the front and side of neck. Incisions are made on either side of the face from inside the hairline at the temples, in front of or partially within the ear, around the earlobe, in the crease behind the ear and into the lower scalp. The design of these incisions may vary from patient to patient and according to the surgeon’s personal technique.

Loose skin is repositioned into a more youthful, natural position, and the excess is removed. At completion the patient wakes up with smoother, firmer skin on the face and neck.

How long does the surgery take?

There are different types of facelifts. Depending on the complexity of the facelift, the procedure can last three to seven hours.

Will I need to stay in a hospital?

Most facelifts are performed in an accredited outpatient surgery facility or a hospital, depending on the preference of the patient and the length of the procedure. If the procedure is shorter than four hours, the patient may go home. If the procedure lasts over four hours, most patients stay overnight and go home the next day.

How much pain is there?

A facelift is not a particularly uncomfortable procedure. The pain is easily controlled with prescribed pain medication. Numbness of the skin is expected and will disappear within a few weeks or months.

What is the recovery period like?

Any bandages and drain tubes will usually be removed in one or two days. At that time, you will notice puffiness and discoloration that may be more pronounced in some portions of your face than others. Do not be alarmed by any unevenness or temporary asymmetry caused by this variance in swelling and bruising-it is perfectly normal.

Although we expect you to be “sluggish” for one to two days, you should be up and moving around one to two days after surgery. Plan on taking it easy for the first week. Swelling peaks at 72 hours and then starts to resolve. You can start using makeup three to five days after surgery. Five to seven days after surgery, stitches in front of the ear are removed. Three to seven days later, sutures in the scalp and behind the ear are removed. Depending on the extent of surgery, swelling and bruising may last a few weeks. The incisions, which are hidden within your hair and in concealed skin creases, will remain pink for a few months before maturing to less visible scars. Even after the swelling and bruising are gone, the hair around the temples may be thin and your skin may feel dry and rough for several months. To realize the full benefits may take two to three months.

Straining, bending and lifting should be avoided during the early postoperative period. Avoid strenuous activity, including sex and heavy work, for at least two weeks. Walking and mild stretching are fine. Limit any high-impact physical activity, such as aerobics, running or weight lifting, until at least three weeks after surgery. Avoid alcohol, steam baths and saunas for several weeks. Minimize your exposure to the sun for several months, and always use sunblock with a SPF of at least 15.

What is the long-term outcome like for most people?

It’s most likely that you’ll be happy with your facelift. Since the healing process is gradual, you should expect to wait at least several weeks for an accurate picture of your “new look.” Additional minor changes, or settling, may occur over several months. You can expect a more rested and, often, more youthful appearance. Although a facelift may last for many years, you will continue to age with time. It is impossible to accurately predict how long it may last. You will continue to look younger than you would if the procedure had not been performed. You may want to repeat the procedure one or more times, perhaps in five or ten years.