What Is A Cervical Facelift?
The surgical name for a facelift is Rhytidectomy. It is the general term applying to the various techniques used to tighten, uplift and remove excess skin, while supporting the underlying muscle tissue, and to reduce certain lines and wrinkles thus creating a more youthful appearance. A brow lift or upper facelift corrects the forehead or eye area. It does not remove actual eye bags – this is an additional procedure and often done along with the facelift, called Blepharoplasty.
A lower facelift tightens sagging skin in the lower half of the face and neck, improving jaw line jowls, and flabby cheeks. Face-lifting is most appropriate and effective in the forty years and over age group. The effects last approximately five to ten years.
Nowadays, results can be improved further by the additional tightening of muscles (SMAS) and liposuction under the neck. The ageing process of the skin appears slowed down, or at the very least remains unaltered for a time following surgery.
The operation is carried out under twilight anaesthesia. Many different techniques and variations of basic procedures are used in Rhytidectomy, but for the purposes of these notes for guidance, we will explain the operation in simple terms. In the standard facelift procedure for the lower face, an incision is made in front of and behind each ear, and the skin is then stretched backwards and upwards, the excess is removed and the skin sutured into position at the incision points.
For a brow lift, the excess skin is trimmed via incisions just inside the natural hairline before lifting the remaining forehead skin upwards and suturing in place to remove the frown lines. A double-layered lift (supra-facial musculoaponearotic system – SMAS) works along the same lines. The SMAS procedure involves working on the facial muscle and fatty tissue below the skin.
It should be noted that in any facelift operation the skin is not drastically stretched, it is only put under a similar tension comparable to that previous to ageing and sagging. This is a rejuvenating process.
The operation time is between two to three hours for a standard facelift procedure. The time varies depending on the complexity of the case. An overnight stay in the hospital is required (occasionally a two night stay is required).
After the operation, the face is bandaged in compression dressings and facial movements must be restricted for the first few days. Stitches are removed five to seven days after surgery, and normally after about two weeks you will be able to return to work and to socialise as normal.
Patience is required however, as the time it takes for the facelift to settle down properly and for the full effect to be achieved is three to six months. Post-operatively it is helpful to massage the face with moisturising cream. It is very important to carefully follow the surgeon’s directions on aftercare to ensure the best results.
As with any surgery there are risks, but fortunately complications are rare and can be treated by routine procedures, and are not hazardous to the patient’s health. Below are some of the risks and complications you should be aware of.
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