As we age, there’s no doubt that a younger, fresher appearance can help boost self-confidence and self-esteem. Among the most popular plastic surgery procedures, and the most likely to turn back the clock on the visible signs of aging, is the face lift. Technically known as a rhytidectomy, the process can help reverse the effects of age, gravity, genetics and sun damage, among others
If you’re considering a face lift, you’re likely most concerned with lines around your eyes, forehead wrinkles, loose skin around the neck, folds and jowls in the check area, and the lines around your nose and mouth (nasolabial folds). By removing excess fat, tightening muscles and tissues, and rewrapping the skin to the contours of the face, face lift patients can look years and even decades younger.
To help patients achieve more striking results, face lifts are often done at the same time as other procedures such as forehead lift, skin resurfacing and eyelid surgery. It’s important that prospective patients consult with a trained plastic surgeon to establish realistic expectations of their face lift results and to discuss the potential problems with multiple plastic surgery procedures.
Though there are different face lift techniques, the procedure is fundamentally the same in each case. Your surgeon will perform the operation using the technique that will best suit your needs. Most face lift procedures take two to five hours, and can vary in length depending on other procedures being performed at the same time.
In all cases, small incisions are made in the inconspicuous area of the hair line at the temple and around the ear towards the earlobe. In men, the incision lines can differ, but surgeons make these incisions as low profile as possible by hiding them in the hairline without making it necessary to shave hair away.
After the incision is made, the skin and muscle of the face are separated from the deeper facial tissue. The degree of separation, or lift, depends on the surgical goals agreed upon by patient and surgeon. If required, surgeons will perform liposuction, or fat removal in cheeks, chin, jaw and nasolabial folds. Excess tissue can be removed or redistributed and re-draped to areas that require more volume and shape. The muscle and skin is then drawn back towards the opening incision, giving the face a more tightened appearance. Patients will be under local or general anesthetic as decided by the surgeon.
There is a lot of variation in cosmetic surgery fees, as costs depend on numerous factors. Average rhytidectomy fees can range from $4,000 to 7,000 depending on the complexity of the surgery. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), the national average in the United States is $5, 966. If you need help financing your cosmetic surgery, there are cosmetic surgery loans available through numerous medical loan organizations.
Considering it is performed on the sensitive tissues of the facial area, face lift surgery is one of the least painful surgeries to undergo and recover from. Bruising and swelling do occur, and numbness may occur for a few days, but pain medication is prescribed by the surgeon.
Your face will be bandaged for up to two days, and the surgeon may require you to use cold compresses or other post-surgery recovery aids to keep swelling down. Avoid activity for up to five days, and be mindful of any strenuous activity for a minimum of two weeks as you heal and begin returning to normal. Stitches and bandages are usually removed after five days, and rhytidectomy patients are able to return to work and normal activity in about two weeks. Within three months after the surgery, patients report full recovery and can notice the full effect of the surgery on their appearances.
Rhytidectomy risks are generally minimal; however it is important to remember that any surgical procedure should be taken seriously. As with any plastic surgery, there are risks involved with anesthesia and of course, the final outcome of the procedure can never be guaranteed.
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