A facelift, or Rytidectomy, is an operative procedure that is performed to correct the cumulative effects of facial aging. A successful outcome produces a natural restoration of the features of the face and neck associated with a youthful or younger appearance. Facial aging occurs progressively and gradually, typically following predictable patterns, though with obvious variations depending on gender, age, and ethnicity. During an initial consultation, there is a thoughtful and careful evaluation of the face, recognizing these known patterns of change associated with aging, and a review of the specific areas of concern is undertaken. A lot of attention is given to the patients’ specific wishes regarding management of particular aging issues, and together, the patient and surgeon develop a comprehensive plan for surgical correction. A great deal of experience as well as an understanding of the unique sets of forces that come into play with the aging face and neck helps the surgeon both with planning and delivery of the surgical procedure.
The ultimate goal is to restore the anatomy of the face back into a younger position with a soft and rested appearance. This is done in a manner that re-establishes stability in the deeper planes of the face and neck and allows for softer and minimum tension on the soft structures of the face, namely the skin. By following this principle, the face looks natural, soft, rested and not strained and “pulled”. Additional steps are often undertaken to replace deficient areas of anatomy, namely the soft volume of subcutaneous fat usually lost as a result of aging or weight loss.
In summary, modern facelift techniques employ vastly more evaluation, planning and patient participation in determining the procedures to be done. These procedures are much superior to those done with simple tight pulling of the skin, which typically produce unnatural, tight, strained results.
A facelift operation is usually performed under a general anesthesia, typically in the surgery center setting-optimum outcome begins with a comfortable and secure patient. The procedure chosen is presented in great detail during consultation in the office. The entire operation is performed by one surgeon, Dr. Carpenter, beginning with corrections in the neck, then face. Additional procedures, when required, follow sequence. The procedure is very deliberate, unhurried, and is finished with soft dressings that remain until the following morning. Patients typically stay the rest of the day and that night. The following morning, dressings are removed, the face cleansed, and the patient is then discharged.
Recovery following face and neck lift procedures occurs in stages. Patients can manage the post-operative healing sequence at home, with close support provided at all times through the office. A facelift is not a particularly painful operation, though medications are provided in the event that discomfort arises. Keeping the head elevated for several days reduces swelling, thereby speeding recovery and minimizing pain. Patients return for their initial post-operative appointment on day five or six. Another appointment is then scheduled for two weeks later, and six weeks later. Other appointments are made as needed. Special attention is placed on scar maturation and management. The initial scars, though very discreet, can improve by following a management strategy that is typically employed. Scars following face and neck lift are usually very minimal, well hidden along folds around the ear, and frequently very difficult to see when the maturation process is complete.