Rhytidectomy is a surgical procedure meant to counteract the effects of time on the aging face.
In the rhytidectomy procedure (also known as a “face-lift”), the tissues under the skin are tightened and excess facial and neck skin are excised.
Rhytidectomy literally means wrinkle (rhytid-) removal (-ectomy). The targeted area includes the cheek, midface, jawline, and neck areas. The name is misleading because rhytidectomy does not actually remove wrinkles. Wrinkles are removed by resurfacing procedures like peels or laser therapy. Medications such as botulinum toxin injected into underlying muscle can also soften the appearance of wrinkles.
A rhytidectomy may be performed alone or in combination with a forehead lift and/or eyelid lift (blepharoplasty) or nose surgery (rhinoplasty).
Step 1 – Anesthesia
Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.
A variety of other procedures can further enhance the outcome of a facelift. They include:
Facial implants or fat transfer to improve contour
Resurfacing techniques to improve the tone and texture of facial skin
Wrinkle reduction by injection of fat or fillers
Step 2 – The incision
Depending on the degree of change you’d like to see, your facelift choices include a traditional facelift, limited incision facelift or a neck lift.
A traditional facelift incision often begins in the hairline at the temples, continues around the ear and ends in the lower scalp. Fat may be sculpted or redistributed from the face, jowls and neck and underlying tissue is repositioned, commonly the deeper layers of the face and the muscles are also lifted. Skin is redraped over the uplifted contours and excess skin is trimmed away.
A second incision under the chin may be necessary to further improve an aging neck. Sutures or skin adhesives close the incisions.
facelift traditional incision
An alternative to a traditional facelift uses shorter incisions at the temples, continuing around the ear. “Mini-lifts” are usually reserved for patients with less skin relaxation, as the results are less rejuvenating than a full facelift.
Facelift limited incision
A necklift addresses the sagging jowls, loose neck skin and fat accumulation under the chin. The neck lift incision often begins in front of the ear lobe and wraps around behind the ear, and ends in the posterior hair behind the ear.
Facelift neck lift incision
Step 3 – Closing the incisions
The incisions will be closed with sutures that may dissolve or may need to be removed after a few days. Some surgeons use skin glues to seal the incisions. Once healed, the incision lines from a facelift are well concealed within the hairline and in the natural contours of the face and ear.
Step 4 – See the results
The visible improvements of a facelift appear once swelling and bruising subside. Your final result should not only restore a more youthful and rested appearance, but also help you feel more confident about yourself. Get more information about facelift results.