Face Lift

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Face Lift Surgery: Rhytidectomy > Procedure Information

Face lift surgery refers to the repositioning and removal of redundant (excess) facial tissue which has relaxed as a consequence of aging. This relaxation begins in our thirties and proceeds at varying rates depending upon our personal heredity and environmental factors, including stress. A face lift almost always includes the skin and flat muscle of the anterior and lateral neck but not the forehead nor the eyelids. A forehead lift and/or eyelid surgery can, however, be performed at the same time as a face lift. During your consultation, an extensive evaluation will be made as to what surgery may or may not be in your best interest.

Aesthetics dictates that the preservation of a natural appearance goes hand in hand with an improvement in the signs of aging. This is why the placement of incisions and the preservation of normal anatomical boundaries is so important. Particulars depending upon your individual anatomy will be discussed both during your consultation and pre-operative appointment. Each patient is unique so no two operations will be exactly the same. Of particular importance is the decision as to the placement of the incision above the ear. Traditionally this has been in the temporal scalp area well behind the hair line. However, depending upon a given patient’s hairline and the amount of skin that can be removed, an incision well behind the hairline will always result in the upward and posterior displacement of the natural hairline. This runs the risk of producing an obvious “face lift look.”

An alternative and preferred method is to place the temporal incision a fraction of an inch behind the hairline but beveling the incision to preserve the hair follicles. As the incision heals, the hair follicles will send new hair growth through the incision, helping to hide it from the casual observer. Depending upon the density or sparseness of one’s hair and the thickness of each hair, the degree of re-growth through the incisional scar is individual. It is important to remember though that scars get better with time and can be concealed with minimal makeup. Hair loss, however, is forever. The decision as to the placement of all incisions will be made with each patient prior to surgery.

Face lift surgery is performed under local anesthesia with moderate to heavy sedation. This means that one is asleep for most, if not all, of the operation but the medications are being administered intravenously. The patient is breathing naturally with no tubes placed in the lungs. Face lift surgery is usually performed on an in-patient basis, which means the patient will spend the first night after the operation in the hospital. Although uncommon, the greatest risk in face lift surgery is post-operative bleeding, causing the face to swell mare than normal. When this occurs, it is usually within 12 hours of surgery. Spending the night in the hospital allows for Dr. Ott to immediately deal with the complication. On a rare occasion, this will require a return to the operating room.