Facelift, or the medical term Rhytidectomy, is cosmetic surgery which improves the aging face. The “standard” facelift is really a misnomer, since it really doesn’t “lift” the entire face, rather it corrects the areas from the level of the mouth to the base of the neck, improving the appearance of the jowls and sagging neck. It defines the jawline and neckline to restore a more youthful appearance.
Facelift surgery can improve:
- Lower nasolabial folds (smile lines).
- Down-turned corners of the mouth and marionette folds.
- Jowl fullness and sagging.
- Loose or sagging neck skin.
- Neck fullness or fatty neck.
- “Turkey gobbler” neck or neck muscle bands.
For as many plastic surgeons that perform facelift surgery, there are probably that same number of variations on the technique. Dr. Rasmussen believes a facelift should not change one’s fundamental appearance and she strives to create a natural look rather than one that is over corrected or pulled too “tight”. “Mini” facelift procedures may also be an option, depending on the extent of aging.
Technique: Typically, incisions begin within the hairline, either above the temple or parallel to the lower side burn. They continue in front of or just inside the ear, around the earlobe, behind the ear in the crease, and then backward either into the scalp or parallel to the hairline. This allows access to remove excess fat, tighten underlying tissue, and remove sagging skin. Liposuction techniques may assist with removal of fatty deposits. A second incision under the chin is usually necessary to tighten the neck muscle bands (platysmaplasty). If skin tone is good and only mid-face aging needs improvement, abbreviated techniques with shorter incisions may be used. Brow lift and eyelid surgery are commonly performed in conjunction with these facelifting procedures to enhance the overall facial rejuvenation.
As with all surgeries, a facelift has certain risks, but Dr. Rasmussen strives to prevent these to give the best result. It is important to remember that facelifting procedures have their limitations; these include the reality that no one will look like they did when they were age 20, and that the amount of improvement cannot be predicted, nor will it last forever, “time marches forward”. Although one will continue to age naturally, aging will progress from the more youthful version of oneself that has been restored by a facelift. As with any cosmetic procedure, realistic expectations are the key to satisfaction.
This surgery is generally performed as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia, or local anesthesia with sedation may be recommended. Dr. Rasmussen prefers to keep her “facelift patients” overnight in the surgical facility for their safety and comfort. A private duty nurse skilled in caring for these patients is also recommended. Limited activities are recommended to speed the healing process and enhance results. Postoperative Endermologie® is also incorporated during the recuperative phase to further improve final results. Swelling and bruising subsides within 2 – 4 weeks. Final results are apparent in 1 – 2 months. Incision lines continue to refine and fade for up to 1 year. Of course, restricted sun exposure is recommended to prevent further photo-aging. Resurfacing techniques can be used in conjunction with a facelift to reduce other signs of photo-aging. Dr. Rasmussen discusses all aspects of facelifting during a lengthy, comprehensive consultation.