Facelift (Rhytidectomy)

Understanding Rhytidectomy

I think that the facelift is the best way to address the jowls, and excess laxity in the face and neck, that accompanies aging.  I am able to accomplish a dramatic improvement and still maintain a very natural look.

The true face-lift addresses the lower 2/3 of the face. More than any other procedure, it can restore a more youthful, refreshed face. I will often recommend that other procedures, such as blepharoplasty and brow lift be done at the same time.  I do this to ensure that the face is not mismatched, and the lower and upper face are not out of sync.  This can sometimes look very "operated" if we do not combine these procedures.

Before and After - Facelift
Facelift - Before and After

Aging of the face is inevitable, and in Florida the sun accelerates the process. As the years go by, the skin begins to loosen on the face and neck. Crow's feet appear at the corners of the eyes. Fine forehead lines become creases and then, gradually, deeper folds. The jawline softens into jowls, in the neck, vertical folds can appear and increased skin laxity creates a much older look. The sun is a major contributor but genetics, personal habits, and the pull of gravity, all contribute to the aging of the face. As the aging population grows, and we look at the results that are attainable, it is obvious why rhytidectomy has become the third most desired facial plastic surgical procedure.

Is a Facelift for You?

Facelift surgery is a wonderful way to rejuvenate your face. The goal of this operation is to improve the overall facial appearance. As with all facial plastic surgery, good health, realistic expectations, and psychological stability are essential to successful surgical outcomes. Skin type, ethnic background, degree of skin elasticity, individual healing, and basic bone structure are factors discussed prior to surgery.
Before deciding on a face-lift, the consultation with Dr. Morgan will include discussions about facial harmony and whether the overall effect will be more successful if additional changes are made. Many patients decide to have additional procedures performed easily at the same time as a face-lift. Common procedures done at this time include brow lifts and chin implants. Another option is cervico-facial liposuction to remove excess fatty deposits in conjunction with a face-lift and blepharoplasty. Multiple procedures may be recommended to ensure the most natural result.

When is the Best Age to Have a Facelift?

Patients often ask, “When is the right time for a face lift?” This procedure is sometimes performed on patients in their thirties, and successful surgery has been performed on patients in their eighties. Younger patients have more elasticity in their skin which helps them to obtain outstanding natural results. Older patients can also obtain outstanding results, but require special handling of the tissues to ensure a natural result. A face-lift cannot stop aging, nor can it turn back the clock. What it will do is help your face look its best with a healthy and more youthful appearance. Many patients experience increased self-confidence and we recommend patients not wait too long to have their face-lift.

Making the Decision for a Facelift

During your preliminary consultation, Dr. Morgan will examine the structure of your face, skin texture, color, and elasticity. Individual risks will be examined, especially those related to medical situations such as high blood pressure, a tendency to scar, smoking, and any deficiency in blood clotting. Dr. Morgan will take a thorough medical history, assess your mental and emotional attitudes toward the surgery, and discuss realistic outcome expectations.

Understanding the Surgery

Facelift surgery is performed under general anesthesia or I.V. sedation. You will sleep through the entire operation. The surgery is performed first on one side of the face and then the other. Incisions are individualized to fit the patient's needs. In most cases, an incision is started inside or around the hairline at the temples, continues downward in a natural line around the earlobe and extends into the back of the scalp or nape of the neck. Occasionally an incision may extend onto the front of the ear in men. A small incision may be necessary under the chin to provide access to excess neck skin. Working through these incisions, the underlying muscles are tightened and the excess skin is gently re-draped and trimmed. In some cases, accumulations of fat are removed from beneath the chin and neck. Sagging muscles and connective tissues are tightened. The incisions are closed with fine sutures which permit surgery without shaving hair from the incision site. Depending on the extent of the surgery, the procedure lasts from two to four hours. Following the surgery, Dr. Morgan will apply a dressing to protect the entire area where incisions were made.

What to Expect After the Surgery

After surgery, bandages are removed within two days. The majority of the swelling and bruising dissipate within two weeks. Dr. Morgan recommends patient sleep elevated for two weeks and use Arnica and Bromelain to reduce swelling and bruising. Pain connected with the surgery is minimal to moderate and is controlled with oral medication. Scars from the incisions fade significantly with time and are inconspicuous because they are made within natural creases. Recovery usually takes two to three weeks, and many patients return to work in two weeks. Scars are usually not noticeable after enough time has passed for them to mature. They are easily disguised in natural skin creases, by hair, or in persistent cases, by makeup, until total healing has occurred. Some relaxation of tissues will occur during the first few weeks after surgery.

Each year thousands of rhytidectomies are successfully performed. Complications connected with this surgery are rare. There are certain inherent risks connected with every surgical procedure which will be discussed with Dr. Morgan will discuss prior to surgery. You can minimize complications by carefully following directions given by Dr. Morgan and his staff.