As the aging process progresses, the skin loses elasticity and begins to sag, and we lose our youthful appearance. Stress, sun damage, and unhealthy lifestyle choices can also contribute to skin aging.

A facelift, or Rhytidectomy, is a type of cosmetic surgery that can help to improve the appearance of the face by reducing wrinkles and sagging with the removal of excess facial skin. It is one of the most popular types of plastic surgery, and although it may come with some risks, there are many benefits.

The procedure has been around for many years, with the first recorded procedures dating back to the early 1900s. However, it was not until the 1950s and 1960s that facelifts began to gain popularity, thanks in part to celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn who were  rumored to have undergone the procedure.

A Cosmetic Surgeon examining a woman's face before a facelift procedure

Candidates for Face Lift Surgery 

There are many different facelift techniques, and the best one for you will depend on your individual needs and goals. Generally, facelifts are most effective for people with loose skin and wrinkles around the lower half of their face, including the cheeks and jawline. The procedure can also be used to treat sagging skin around the neck

The average age of patients who request facelifts is 40 to 60 years old, but facelifts can also be effective for people in their 70s and 80s. You may also consider some other cosmetic procedures like eyelid surgery and a brow lift during your facelift procedure for a more complete look.

Important points to keep in mind when considering a facelift

  • It is important to have realistic expectations about what the surgery can achieve.
  • A facelift cannot stop the aging process, but it can help to improve the appearance of wrinkles and sagging skin.
  • It is also important to remember that facelifts are not permanent, and you may need to have additional procedures in the future to maintain your results.

Risks Involved

As with any type of surgery, there are some risks involved with facelifts. Most of these complications are rare and can be effectively treated if they occur. They can be avoided by following pre and post-operative instructions.

  • Bleeding: Bleeding is one of the most common risks associated with facelifts. Your surgeon will make incisions in the skin during the surgery and then separate the skin from the underlying tissue. This can cause some bleeding, but it is usually minimal and can be controlled with local pressure.
  • Infection: Infection is another common risk associated with facelifts. The incisions made during the surgery can provide a gateway for bacteria to enter the body and cause an infection. To help reduce the risk of infection, your surgeon will use sterile techniques and may place you on antibiotics after the surgery.
  • Nerve damage: Facial nerve damage is a rare but serious complication. Surgery can damage the nerves located in the face, leading to numbness, tingling, and paralysis in the affected area.
  • Reaction to anesthesia: Some people may react to the anesthesia that is used during facelifts, and this can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.
  • Skin necrosis: Skin necrosis is a rare complication that can occur when the blood supply to the skin is cut off during facelift surgery. This can cause the skin to die and may require additional surgery to correct.

Your Initial Consultation

Before you undergo a facelift, you will need to meet with Dr. Freeman for a consultation. The surgeon will assess your facial structure and skin condition during this appointment, and he will also ask about your medical history and any medications you are taking.

It is important to be honest with Dr. Freeman during your consultation. Tell him about any medical conditions you have and any medications like blood thinners you are taking, as these can affect your facelift surgery. Be sure to ask any questions about the procedure, anesthesia, scarring, and surgery location during this consultation.

Your surgeon will also discuss the different facelift techniques that can be used and help you to choose the best one for you. He will explain the risks and benefits of each technique and answer any questions you have.

Things to keep in mind

  • A facelift is major surgery, and you should only undergo the procedure if you are sure that you are ready.
  • Be sure to take your time in making your decision, and do not feel pressured by your surgeon or anyone else to have the surgery.

Types of Facelift Procedures

Facelifts can be performed using different techniques, and the type of facelift you undergo will depend on your specific needs and goals. The most common types of facelifts include:

  • Traditional Facelift (Rhytidectomy): Also known as a full facelift, it is a surgical procedure that can treat wrinkles and sagging skin around the lower half of the face and neck. During a traditional facelift, the surgeon will make an incision in the hairline near the temples, extending down around the ear. He will then separate the skin from the underlying tissue and tighten the muscles and connective tissues. Excess skin will be removed, facial muscles will be tightened, and the remaining skin will be pulled tight and re-draped over the face. The incisions will be closed with stitches or surgical tape.
  • Mini Facelift: A less invasive facelift procedure that can be used to treat wrinkles and sagging skin around the lower half of the face. It does not include a neck lift which treats sagging skin around the neck.
  • The SMAS Facelift: A facelift procedure that uses the Superficial Muscular Aponeurotic System (SMAS) layer to lift and tighten the facial muscles and connective tissues. This layer is located between the skin and the underlying muscle tissue.
  • Mid Facelift: A surgical procedure that can be used to treat wrinkles and sagging skin around the middle of the face. It cannot be used to treat sagging skin around the neck.

Cutaneous Facelift: Also known as a skin-only facelift, is a less invasive facelift procedure that can be used to treat wrinkles and sagging skin around the lower half of the face. It cannot be used to treat sagging skin around the neck.

Preparing for Surgery

When you have decided to undergo a facelift, there are a few things you will need to know in order to prepare for the procedure.

  1. You will need to get lab tests done and a physical exam. These tests will help to ensure that you are healthy enough for surgery. Your surgeon will also give you specific instructions about eating and drinking before surgery and medications or vitamins to avoid.
  2. You will also need to stop smoking at least two weeks before your surgery. Smoking can cause complications during surgery and increase the risk of infection.
  3. The procedure can be done in the clinic, at an outpatient surgery center, or at the hospital. Facelift surgery is usually an outpatient procedure, which means you will be able to go home the same day as your surgery. On occasion, you may be required to stay one night in the hospital if general anesthesia is used.
  4. It is important to have someone with you to drive you home after the procedure as you will not be able to drive yourself. You should also arrange for someone to stay with you for at least the first night after surgery.

After Surgery

After surgery you will need to take it easy for a few days. You will have some swelling and bruising around your face, which is normal. Your surgeon will give you specific instructions about caring for your incisions and it is important to follow these instructions carefully to avoid infection.

  • You will likely have some pain and discomfort after facelift surgery. Your surgeon will prescribe pain medication to help you manage any pain you may experience.
  • Swelling around your face is normal. The swelling should improve within a few days and should be gone completely within two weeks.
  • Bandages will be removed 1 or 2 days after most surgeries. Drainage tubes may be used to help drain excess fluid from your incisions, and these will usually be removed within a few days after surgery.
  • You will need to avoid strenuous activity for at least two weeks after surgery. You should also avoid exposure to sun and heat as this can cause swelling.
  • You will need to sleep with your head elevated for at least a week after surgery to reduce swelling.
  • Your surgeon will see you for follow-up appointments to check your healing progress, and he will remove any stitches or staples at these appointments.
  • Most patients return to work 10-14 days after surgery, but this will depend on the extent of your facelift and how you are healing.
A woman admiring her new look after a facelift procedure

The New You

When performed by an experienced plastic surgeon, facelift surgery can give you impressive results that are long-lasting. Dr. Freeman, a board-certified plastic surgeon, will work with you to ensure that your facelift procedure meets your unique needs and goals.

If you are ready to look more refreshed or to regain your confidence come see the best plastic surgeon in Bakersfield, contact our office to book a consultation. Call (661) 808-4070 or fill out the contact form.

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