Tired of wrinkles that make you look angry or old? Want to look several years younger? Here’s what you should know about having your facelift (rhytidectomy) procedure performed by plastic surgeon, Gregory J. Liebscher, MD, FACS, of Colorado Springs, CO:
When it comes to cosmetic facial procedures, a facelift (sometimes referred to as a ‘nip and tuck‘) is one of the most common cosmetic procedures performed. A facelift creates a more youthful appearance by reducing sagginess, creases below the eyes and along the mouth, and helps reposition fat that was once displaced. The rhytidectomy procedure tightens the face and neck and reduces flaws drastically. It may be performed at the same time as brow lift or eyelid lift.
Though a facelift may not prevent aging, it can improve one’s overall appearance greatly. A facelift is a surgical procedure. Non-surgical procedures, such as creams and dermal injections, may also postpone the signs of aging but often not as well or nearly as long.
In order to receive the best results possible, consult with a physician who is a board-certified plastic surgeon such as Dr. Greg Liebscher. Contact our office today to schedule a private in-person consultation:
VIDEO: Rhytidectomy Overview
In this video, Dr. Greg Liebscher, one of the most respected plastic surgeons in Colorado Springs, explains the facelift procedure and the associated risks and likely outcomes:
Each procedure may vary, but typically, each facility follows:
- Location: a surgical facility
- Type of care offered: hospital outpatient and inpatient care, as well as outpatient care at a surgery center
- Anesthesia used: general, local anesthesia combined with a medication that allows a patient to relax but stay away (sedative)
- Time frame of procedure: several hours, especially if the patient is undergoing more than one surgery
- Possible and temporary side effects: numbness, as well as discomfort
Facelift surgery involves different steps. Here are some of the basic steps involved in a facelift surgery.
Step One – Anesthesia
Before starting with the surgery, anesthetic medications are always administered. This is to improve your comfort during the surgical procedure. In most cases, plastic surgeons give intravenous sedation in combination with general anesthesia before the surgical procedure. Based on your body type and conditions, your doctor will recommend the best choice of anesthesia for you.
In addition to facelift, your cosmetic surgeon may advise you to go for some other procedures including soft tissue augmentation, facial implants, and wrinkle reductions. Sometimes, your skin may require a few resurfacing techniques in order to have an improved skin tone and smooth facial texture.
Step Two – The incision
Your facelift surgery may vary depending on the type of change you want. Sometimes, the rhytidectomy surgery choices include a long procedure of a traditional facelift. In contrast, it can also be a limited incision facelift surgery with a basic neck lift procedure.
- Traditional Facelift – During a traditional facelift incision, your plastic surgeon will begin the incision somewhere near the temples. This will continue around the ear till the end of lower scalp. Once the surgeon makes an incision, he or she will remove the facial fat by sculpt or liposuction method. In the next step, your underlying facial tissue will be repositioned and the deeper layers of the face will be lifted. After this step, the skin will be draped over and the excess skin will be trimmed away. For neck lifts, your surgeon may do a second incision under the chin in order to make the neck skin lift. As a result, your face and neck will look tight, youthful, and smooth.
- Limited Incision – In many cases, physicians perform a limited incision facelift surgery. Such surgery is for correcting sagging jowls, wrinkled face skin, and loose neck skin. In this process, excess fat accumulated near chin and face is also corrected. Surgeons make a small incision near the hairline and the temple to remove the excess fat. Laser therapy is also used in order to perform this step. In addition, the surgeon performs a traditional neck lift in order to remove the extra fat by separating the skin from the muscle underneath. Sometimes, the surgeon may have to fold the superficial musculoaponeurotic system or the skin layering in order to pull it back and tighten it over itself. As a result, the skin around the cheeks, jaw line, and the neck will become firm and smooth.
Step Three – Closing the incisions:
Finally, after removing the excess fat and folding the skin layer, your surgeon will pull the skin back up and proceed with the last step. After re-draping the skin over the face and neck, your surgeon will remove any excess skin either surgically or with laser. Then, the incision will be closed with sutures, stitches, or tissue glue. Usually, these stitches are placed within the hairline so that they are unnoticed. Once healed, the incision lines from a facelift will be concealed within the hairline.
Step Four – Healing and post-operative measures:
After a facelift procedure, you will see visible changes instantly. Your sagged face skin will be improved and appear toned, smooth, and youthful. Sometimes, you may find your skin swelled. This is very common after the surgical procedure. Gradually, these swellings will go away. If the facelift is done correctly, your incision scars will be completely unnoticeable. In case you find your skin very tight, contact your surgeon immediately. As you heal, your skin will appear more youthful, smooth, and radiant.
Who’s a Candidate for a Facelift?
Generally, the procedure is appropriate for men and women who show more significant signs of aging; they have loose skin and/or deep wrinkles throughout their face.
A facelift makes you look 2-5 years younger on the average. Certainly, results vary person to person. Excessive surgery may not look natural or comfortable. So, it’s important to be realistic about your cosmetic expectations.
Surgery might be a good option for those who have tried other non-surgical procedures such as anti-aging skin creams or injectables like BOTOX® and want better and more durable results.
Medically, rhytidectomy candidate qualifications include:
- do not smoke
- are healthy overall
- have realistic expectations
- have a positive outlook
Watch the Video Animation for Full Facelift Procedure
What Are the Risks?
As always, risks are involved with any surgical procedure. Here are some of the possible complications:
Slow healing process: some patients may find that the healing process is slow, especially if they are smokers.
Hematoma: a hematoma, which is a collection of blood under the skin, may be a risk. Hematomas are usually removed by physicians.
Infection: there is the risk for infection with any surgical procedure.
Reaction: there is also the risk for an anesthetic reaction.
Nerve injury: damage to the nerves that control the movements of the face may also be a temporary issue after the operation.
Some of the medical conditions that could make surgery more risky are:
- dry eyes
- lack of tears
- high blood pressure
- thyroid problems
- cardiovascular problems
- circulatory disorders
Is Facelift Surgery Painful?
Many people want to have facelift surgery, but may be asking themselves, “Is facelift surgery painful?” While the recovery for a facelift does involve some pain, knowing what to expect can change your anxiety over the pain involved with a facelift.
Pain is often described as more of a discomfort, compared to actual pain. Tension is often felt in the face, and this is something that can be uncomfortable, but pain should not be overwhelming after this procedure. Many doctors will have a consultation with a patient before a scheduled procedure. This can be a great time to discuss pain, and this can help you to feel more comfortable on your surgery day.
According to John Hopkins Medicine, “Your doctor may prescribe pain medication to alleviate any discomfort you may feel in the days following the surgery. You may have some numbness after the surgery, which will also disappear with time.”
You will find that you will be prescribed with pain medication that you can use after your facelift surgery. This can help you reduce your pain in a very effective manner. Many patients find that prescription medication can reduce pain, but there are some other things you can do to help alleviate pain and discomfort the first few days following your surgery.
- For the first 24 hours it can be helpful to stay propped up. You can use pillows and cushions to help you stay in the proper position after facelift surgery.
- Movement of the face should be minimized immediately following surgery. Your diet will need to be soft, or liquid. You will also need to turn your head with the shoulders not to minimize movement.
- Cold compresses should be used on the cheeks and eyes following surgery. Many surgeons recommend 30 minutes on, and 15 minutes off.
- Pain should not become severe after this procedure. If your pain increases to a severe level, you should contact your surgeon right away.
- If you have high blood pressure at home, you should self monitor to ensure that your blood pressure stays within normal levels.
The swelling in the eye area will often increase for the first couple days after the procedure, but this should not increase pain. You will often look worse before you look better, but you should notice that your pain begins to decrease as the days pass following surgery.
Is facelift surgery painful? While any surgery will create some pain for you, it should be manageable. You should report any pain that you cannot control. When you understand what to expect with facelift pain, it can help you to really know what to expect. This information can help you to decide if this is right for you.
Recovery time is always an issue when people consider cosmetic surgery. Unlike more urgent procedures, these surgeries are often not excused or granted special consideration by employers. Instead, cosmetic surgery patients have to fit their procedures into long weekends or use up personal days.
With a facelift, it might appear that there is less concern about recovery time. This work does not directly affect areas concerning the arms and legs which would get stressed in even a sedentary job. However, you only have to ask someone who has had a facelift to talk about the discomfort that they can feel. Remember that your face moves as you exert yourself and this will obviously cause pain.
Most people are concerned about recovery time because they want to return to work. Others are wondering about when they can put make up on and so forth. Since everyone has a different lifestyle, there are really two levels of concern. When will the pain subside so that you can at least do light duty work and when will recovery progress so far that the surgery is just a memory?
First Stage – Getting Past the Pain
When you leave surgery after a facelift you will have dressings placed along the lines of the incision to deal with wound drainage. These incisions will be held shut with sutures. You will have to keep your head elevated to minimize swelling. Bruises will be prominent and your face will appear swollen for two or three days. Discomfort will be noticeable but not severe. Medication should make any pain manageable.
A day or two later, the dressings can come off. However, the sutures will remain in the incisions for five to 10 days. After this, you can start to use make-up, bathe normally and do a variety of tasks.
If you work at home at the computer or have a very sedentary job and are not concerned about people seeing the obvious aftermath of plastic surgery, you could reasonably do some work after a couple days. If you prefer to wait for the signs to subside a bit more, you will probably want a week for everything to heal enough.
Second Stage – Full Recovery
To completely get over the facelift, it is going to take two or three weeks. Muscle stiffness will probably come and go for a while longer. However, the majority of people are back to normal in less than a month.
As far as scars go, it may take a full year for them to fade completely. Since surgeons usually place them in discreet locations, this should be less of a concern. Any scars that show can be covered with makeup once the surgeon gives permission.
Facelift Surgery in Colorado Springs, CO
Contact Colorado Springs cosmetic facial surgeon, Dr. Greg Liebscher, to schedule a private in-person cosmetic consultation.