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Facelift Surgery (Rhytidectomy) - Radiant Rejuvenation - Seattle

What is facelift surgery?

Facelift (rhytidectomy) is a surgical procedure to improve certain visible signs of aging of the face and neck. With aging, changes in our skin , decrease of muscle tone, and loss of elasticity result in sagging of our neck and cheek areas. Aging is influenced by our heredity, general health, sun exposure, and use of alcohol and tobacco products. Facelift surgical procedures are usually effective at reducing the sagging skin excesses, but cannot stop or reverse all evidence of aging. Often procedures will be recommended to you dealing with the very fine wrinkles around the eyelids and mouth areas. These are not as effectively treated by facelift surgical procedures as laser or chemical peeling of the surface.

Facelift and neck lifting often improve the more visible signs of aging by selectively reducing fat deposits, tightening under the skin structures, and re-draping the skin of face and neck to take up the excess tissues. Such facelift and neck lifting surgeries may be performed alone, or at the same time as some other procedures, such as a forehead-browlifts, liposuction, eyelid surgery, cheek or chin augmentation, or nasal surgery. The best candidates for facelift surgery are usually those in whom cheek and neck line has begun to sag, but whose skin has some remaining elasticity, and whose bony structure is well defined.

The facelift surgery is performed under local, local-sedation, or general anesthesia on an outpatient basis in an outpatient surgery center or hospitals. Most commonly, local plus amnesia-producing sedation is selected.

It is common for surgeons to use liposuction techniques to the jowl and neck areas in conjunction with facelift and neck lifting surgery. The removal of some under the skin fat deposits is felt to improve the post-surgical results and contours. Small incisions to remove the excess skin usually follow the natural creases in front of the ear, follow behind the ear, and near the natural hairline of the sideburn and neck area. Gentle undermining is then performed to lift the skin from the underlying attachments, traction applied to move and trim away the excess skin to the desired position, and suture repaired to leave a barely noticeable scar. Facelifts may be limited (i.e. "mini-"), standard, or deep-plane lifts. Each address certain areas, and offer advantages and disadvantages for your particular case. You should discuss which type is most appropriate for your needs and expectations with the doctor. An instrument known as an endoscope may be used during the course of your surgery. In some cases, this affords improved light and visibility and uses some alternative incisions. A temporary wrap will often be applied after your surgery to help reduce swelling and not allow fluid accumulations under the skin.

Patients are urged to stop all smoking or nicotine use for a period of at least two weeks prior to and following facelift surgery. It has been established that to do otherwise will delay your wound healing processes, and may contribute to complication rates and severity.

If you have obvious bands in your neck area, the doctor may discuss a procedure aimed at minimizing this appearance. This is often performed in the small crease under your chin to allow access to a thin strip of muscle which may be contributing to the undesirable appearance of that area of your neck. It is not required in all patients.

Alternatives to Facelift Surgery

Improvement of facial and neck skin laxness and fine wrinkles may be attained with some alternative forms of treatment, such as laser resurfacing, liposuction only, augmentation of chin-cheeks, forehead or browlifting, or chemical peeling. Facelift procedures are optional for you, and you may choose no surgical treatment. In this type of surgery, you should weigh the potential gain against the possibility of risk. All surgical procedures have some degree of risk, and minor or unexpected complications may occur which have an impact on the final result. Major complications are remotely possible, and are considered relatively rare.