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What is a Face Lift Procedure?

Rhytidectomy, or a face lift procedure, is a surgical method for reducing facial wrinkles, eliminating signs of aging, and improving a person’s general appearance in the face and jaw area. A face lift can reduce the signs of aging, improve self-esteem and confidence, and the patient’s overall well being.

Having a face lift procedure

People begin to consider having a face lift when the following conditions begin to appear:

  • Deep creases along the nose to the corner of the mouth
  • Deep creases below the lower eyelids
  • Loose skin and excess fatty deposits under the chin – the double chin
  • Jowls resulting from loss of muscle tone in the lower face
  • Sagging about the mid-face

Deciding to have a face lift

Once the decision to have a face lift is made, there are certain steps a candidate should follow before making a final decision.

Consult with a physician – This is the first step. Meeting with a qualified plastic surgeon provides the opportunity to discuss viability as a candidate for the procedure, the credentials of the surgeon, ask questions about success, discuss financing, and generally help the candidate decide on whether or not to proceed.

Before surgery – In the weeks prior to the surgery, stop smoking, taking medications (get your doctor’s approval), follow the surgeon’s pre-surgery routine, and begin mentally preparing for the post surgery period, including allowing for down time, and time to recover from bruising.

Face lift techniques – Every patient has different needs, so the actual face lift procedure will vary from patient to patient. The basic process, however, involves the surgeon making an incision in the hairline near the temple. It continues along the front of the ear, around the ear lobe, behind the ear and into the hair. Once completed, the muscles and sagging tissue are tightened, the excess skin is removed, and the remaining skin is repositioned, creating a more youthful appearance. The incision is closed with stitches or metal clips on the scalp.

Length of procedure – The procedure takes about two or three hours, and requires either a local or general anesthetic.

Inpatient or outpatient – The surgery can be performed in the doctor’s office or in the hospital, and can be either an inpatient or outpatient procedure. Your surgeon will discuss this with you prior to surgery.

Pain issues – The degree of pain experienced will depend on the extent of the face lift procedure and the pain tolerance of the patient.

Recovery – Recovery from a face lift procedure is fairly quick. In general, swelling disappears after a few days, and bruises after two weeks. A sense of tightness and numbness may accompany recovery, but that disappears after a few weeks. A careful regimen regarding a return to exercise should be followed in order to avoid compromising the scars, which will be pink for a few months, but as they are above the hairline and hidden in the normal creases of the skin.

This information is not medical advice, nor is it intended to be. It is designed to provide general information on the subject.

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