Face-lift (rhytidectomy): Overview
For the procedure, you are either given general anesthesia or a sedative through an intravenous line and local anesthesia to numb your skin. Next, the surgeon makes an incision that starts in the temple area and circles around the front of the ear. The skin is raised, and the muscle and tissue underneath is tightened. The surgeon may remove some fat and skin. The skin is then redraped over the face and the incision is sutured. The incision usually falls along the hairline or in a place where the skin would naturally crease so that it does not show after the surgery.
Some people are able to have a limited-incision face-lift. This surgery uses shorter incisions at the temple and close to the ear. Sometimes an incision is made within the lower eyelid or under the upper lip.
A neck lift can tighten sagging jowls and loose skin under the chin. The incision starts in front of the ear lobe and goes behind the ear to the lower scalp.
The surgery usually takes several hours. You may be able to go home that day. But people sometimes spend one night in the hospital.
What can you expect after a face-lift (rhytidectomy)?
Your face will be bandaged after the surgery. The dressings are usually removed 1 to 2 days later. If a drainage tube has been placed (usually behind the ear), it will also be removed 1 to 2 days after the surgery. Your doctor will remove your stitches in 5 to 10 days.
Your doctor may prescribe medicines to relieve pain after the surgery. Expect to have swelling and bruising of the face. Cold compresses can help relieve these side effects. Your doctor may instruct you to keep your head elevated and still as much as possible.
It is important to avoid smoking and even second-hand smoke for 2 to 4 weeks before and after surgery. Tobacco smoke increases the risk for skin and tissue death and will delay your face's healing process and make scarring worse.
Most people can return to their normal activities 2 to 3 weeks after a face-lift.
At first your face will feel stiff and will probably look and feel strange to you. This is normal, but it is important to be prepared for it.
Numbness of the skin may last for months after the surgery. Your skin may feel rough and dry for a few months. Men sometimes have to shave in new places because the skin has been rearranged, but laser hair removal or electrolysis can be used for beard hairs that have shifted to a new position.
Meet Our Team
© 2016-2019 Healthwise, Incorporated.