Rhytidectomy is the technical term for repositioning tissues of the face and neck—commonly called a face-lift. A face-lift restores contours and appearance of a more youthful or fresher face, contours which have been distorted by gravity pulling and loosening tissues over time.
Many areas of the face are improved: sagging, loose tissues of the midface, deep folds of loose skin at the sides of the nose and mouth, jowls or loss of definition of the jaw line, and excess fat or loose skin causing loss of definition in the neck area.
Dr. Gold will discuss your areas of concern during your consultation and demonstrate the degree of correction you can expect in each area.
A face-lift does not stop the clock. It simply “resets” it. How long a face-lift lasts depends on many factors including the characteristics of your tissues. You’ll notice some loosening within a few months following a face-lift, but you may never regain the degree of your original deformity. Many patients will request a less extensive tightening procedure in 7-10 years to maintain the best possible appearance.
A face-lift is often combined with other procedures to simultaneously correct other areas such as the forehead or eyelid.
Face-lift procedures can be limited by certain characteristics of your tissues. Some examples are:
Dr. Gold will discuss specific limitations with you (if there are any) at the time of your consultation.
Face-lift procedures involve more risk in smokers. Nicotine causes constriction of blood vessels, which supply the skin, reducing blood flow and increasing the risk of skin loss. If you are a smoker, Dr. Gold will make specific recommendations to reduce those risks.
If you have hypertension or high blood pressure, it must be properly controlled prior to surgery. We will coordinate this with your internist or family physician.
There is a very small risk of impairing nerves which control facial movement during face-lift surgery. Dr. Gold will discuss this in more detail with you during your consultation.
Other risks common to all surgical procedures such as bleeding, infection and scar tissue formation occur in a very small percentage of cases. We encourage you to discuss any concerns you may have during your consultation.
Incisions for face-lift are carefully concealed within the hair in the area of the temples, in skin creases in front of and behind the ears. Dr. Gold will discuss specific incision locations with you during your consultation.
To reposition your facial tissues, skin and deeper tissues of the face are first very carefully mobilized. The deeper tissues and skin are then repositioned in a generally upward and backward direction to reposition and retighten them to a more satisfactory location.
In the neck area, banding or malposition of neck muscles is corrected to provide better support and optimal contour to the neck.
In the face and neck areas, excess or malpositioned fatty tissue is removed or sculpted using small suction tubes to further improve the result.
After redraping the skin and soft tissues, excess tissue is removed and the incisions carefully closed.
Recovery In General
Recovery from plastic surgical procedures is generally very rapid, and varies slightly from person to person.
All of your incisions will be carefully closed with stitches placed beneath the skin, so there’s no chance of your having “railroad track” type marks, but rather very fine line scars. You’ll be able to wash your hair the next day.
You’ll feel some tightness in the neck area following surgery. This assures that you’ll have the best possible long-term result. Most of the tight feeling resolves in the first two weeks.
The Stages Of Recovery
Our patients usually want to know about four stages of recovery: the length of the procedure, when swelling or bruising is resolved, when they’ll be able to return to work or social activity, and when they can return to full aerobic or strenuous exercise.
For face and neck procedures, the average:
Face-lift surgeries are performed as an in office procedure. Dr. Gold has a fully accredited surgical suite in his office for your convenience.
Bruising and swelling resolve: 5-10 days.
Return to work, social activity: 10-21 days.
Aerobic or strenuous activity: 14-21 days.
We encourage returning to full normal activity immediately. Don’t do any type of strenuous exercise that would push your pulse over 100 for about two to three weeks. Any aerobic activity that increases your pulse over 100 also increases your blood pressure, and could make you bleed.