What is a facelift?
A facelift, or rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure that improves visible signs of aging in the face and neck, such as:
- Relaxation of the skin of the face causing sagging
- Deepening of the fold lines between the nose and corner of the mouth
- Fat that has fallen or has disappeared
- Jowls developing in the cheeks and jaw
- Loose skin and excess fat of the neck that can appear as a double chin or "turkey neck"
In preparing for a facelift, you may be asked to:
- Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
- Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
- Apply certain products to the facial skin preoperatively
- Stop smoking
- Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding and bruising
A facelift may be performed in an accredited office-based surgical facility, licensed ambulatory surgical center, or a hospital. You must arrange for a friend or family member to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you the first night following surgery.
During your facelift consultation be prepared to discuss:
- Your surgical goals
- Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
- Current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drug use
- Previous surgeries
Your surgeon will also:
- Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
- Discuss your facelift options
- Examine and measure your face
- Take photographs
- Recommend a course of treatment
- Discuss likely outcomes of a facelift and any risks or potential complications
- Discuss the type of anesthesia that will be used
The consultation is the time to ask your plastic surgeon questions. To help, we have prepared a checklist of questions to ask your facelift surgeon that you can take with you to your consultation.
It's important to understand all aspects of your facelift surgery. It's natural to be nervous about it, whether it's excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don't be shy about discussing these feelings with your plastic surgeon.
The decision to have plastic surgery is extremely personal and you will have to weigh the potential benefits in achieving your goals with the risks and potential complications of facelift surgery. Only you can make that decision for yourself.
You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure and any risks and potential complications.
Facelift risks, while rare, include:
- Anesthesia risks
- Poor wound healing and skin loss
- Facial nerve injury with weakness
- Temporary or permanent hair loss at the incisions
- Fluid accumulation
- Numbness or other changes in skin sensation
- Persistent pain
- Unfavorable scarring
- Prolonged swelling
- Skin irregularities and discoloration
- Sutures may spontaneously surface through the skin, become visible or produce irritation that require removal
- Unsatisfactory results may include: asymmetry, unsatisfactory surgical scar location and unacceptable visible deformities at the ends of the incisions. (It may be necessary to perform an additional surgery to improve your results)
- Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It is important that you address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon.
Frequently Asked Questions About This Procedure
Use this checklist during your facelift consultation:
- Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
- Were you specifically trained in the field of plastic surgery?
- How many years of plastic surgery training have you had?
- Do you have hospital privileges to perform this procedure? If so, at which hospitals?
- Is the office-based surgical facility accredited by a nationally- or state-recognized accrediting agency, or is it state-licensed or Medicare-certified?
- Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
- What will be expected of me to get the best results?
- Where and how will you perform my procedure?
- What surgical technique is recommended for me?
- How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
- What are the risks and complications associated with a facelift?
- How are complications handled?
- How can I expect my face to look over time?
- What are my options if I am dissatisfied with the cosmetic outcome of my facelift?
- Do you have before-and-after photos I can look at for this procedure and what results are reasonable for me?