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Facelift / Rhytidectomy FAQ

What can i do about the sunken, drawn appearance to my face? i haven’t had a significant weight loss, but my face looks like it has lost weight, and even appears more masculine! I’m a woman, 58 years old, and i don’t have any particular health problems. What’s happening?

Let’s start with “what’s happening?”

As we get older, our body has less hyaluronic acid, a substance in the skin that helps deliver nutrients and, more importantly, helps hydrate the skin, which helps add plumpness to the tissues and softens or feminizes the facial contours.

There are several ways to approach this problem.

One is with surgically implanted lifts that will permanently support the facial skin.

Another is by taking fat from another part of your body and injecting it into the cheek area.

One of the newest approaches is with dermal filler especially designed to restore fullness to the cheeks.

Allergan, makers of the Juvéderm line of dermal fillers, recently received FDA approval for a new product in the Juvéderm line called Voluma™. It is the first and only dermal filler of its type to be approved by the FDA to restore volume to the mid-face area, the triangle formed by the highest point of your cheekbone, the side of your nose, and the outermost point of the hollow of your cheek.

Its use is indicated for those over 21 years of age experiencing age-related loss of facial volume.

It delivers immediate results, and may require a follow-up treatment about a month after the initial injections are placed.

You can return to your normal activities after 24 hours. You may experience some side effects, like swelling, bruising, tenderness, and small lumps or bumps on the surface of the skin that should subside in 2 to 4 weeks.

Best of all, results can last up to two years.

I had a facelift just short of six months ago. i was left with scarring where my face and ear meet and also with sideburn elevation. I am unhappy with this outcome and would like both of these issues corrected. is this possible and how? I am 42 year old woman from richmond county in new york

While your situation is unfortunate, you are not alone. Many women, and men, experience shortened sideburns or scarring after a facelift. There are a few possible solutions, including a scar excision as well as the option of hair transplants into the scar. Visit your Doctor and see which of these you may be a candidate for and which may provide you with the best outcome.

If i get a facelift will i have full function of all my facial muscles or is there a chance i might look plastic like some celebrities?

Yes you will have full function of your face muscles and you will not look plastic. You will look rejuvenated and younger. The facelift technique tightens face muscles, fat, and skin to shed years off your appearance, all while achieving a natural look.

Can i have a facelift and a neck lift together? how long does a neck lift procedure take?

Yes, facelifts and neck lifts are often done together. A neck lift procedure takes about two to three hours and it will give you long-lasting results.

What is the difference between a local lift and a facelift?

A local lift is a mini facelift that requires less recovery time than a normal facelift. A local lift also uses local anesthesia whereas a facelift uses general anesthesia. A local lift is also a much smaller procedure than a full facelift and is more targeted to a single area of the face, such as decreasing wrinkles, tightening neck muscles, and tightening sagging skin. A facelift is a procedure that encompasses the entire face, producing an all around more youthful appearance.

At the age of 56 i am finally ready to go through with my facelift. My sun damage from living in nyc for years has caught up with me as well. My doctor recommended performing laser resurfacing at the same time as my facelift. is this safe?

Congratulations on taking the plunge! I am sure you will be very happy with the results. Depending on what laser is suggested, a laser treatment can be very effective and safe to perform in conjunction with a facelift. The benefits of combining both procedures are consolidating your “down-time” while reaping the benefits of two procedures. Ask your Doctor about the recovery time, about any increased complication rates and any other questions you may have.

As a 57 year old woman in manhattan, I’m open to a face lift or facial plastic surgery but wanted more opinions on a variety of skin tightening options to tighten jowls and skin laxity in the face in general. What options do i have and what do you recommend?

Typically my consultation addresses the three components of aging. With every patient that comes into my practice, it is important to evaluate three most common components of aging: Skin, Volume loss and Gravitational changes. For mild sun spots and moderate wrinkle, a laser or chemical peel for skin resurfacing is a great option. As we age, we lose fat & volume from where we would like it & seem to collect where we don’t! Fuller cheeks are youthful and early jowls can be disguised with a small amount of filler. If gravity seems to be your issue you will likely need surgery to restore the face to its youthful position. When it comes to facelifts you have several options and the best option for you is determined by your expectations and physical characteristics. Have an open and honest conversation with your facial plastic surgeon and discuss your concerns as well as your expectations and you will find the best solution for you!

My friend’s face felt numb for a little while after her facelift surgery. Is this common?

Yes, there is a six-week period where patients feel numbness around their incision lines due to the stretching of the nerves from swelling. Sometimes numbness can last for up to three months, however the numbness does subside with time.

When can i begin my normal exercise regimen again after my facelift surgery?

It is recommended that you rest for at least three weeks after surgery to give your body maximum healing time. It is good to refrain from any aerobic or anaerobic exercise during this healing period. After this period you can slowly work back into your normal exercise regimen.

I have deep wrinkles around my mouth, and my whole face seems to sag. Am i a good candidate for a facelift?

You sound like a great candidate for a facelift. A rhytidectomy can drastically improve sagginess and wrinkles in cheeks and around the mouth producing a younger look. A facelift will not erase all signs of aging but it can help to improve and rejuvenate your facial appearance.

How long does it take to recover from facelift surgery?

Recovery from a facelift takes between two to three weeks without noticeable scarring.

How long does the facelift surgery take?

The facelift procedure generally takes between two to four hours to complete. Mild sedation and anesthetic options are available to ease discomfort.

What is a “mini facelift”?

A “mini facelift” is a smaller rhytidectomy procedure that can be targeted to specific areas. It is done under local anesthesia and can be combined with components of multiple procedures, if desired, like blepharoplasty or fat transfers.

Will a facelift relax with age?

A facelift will not stop time or aging, so permanent results are not possible and signs of aging will eventually occur. However, it will work to take years off your image and help to restore your youthful appearance for ten years or longer. Your facelift will last it’s longest with proper skin care.

I have bags under my eyes. will a facelift help to tighten this area too?

A facelift will not really help the bags underneath your eyes. You should look into having a lower blepharoplasty along with your facelift for complete facial rejuvenation. A blepharoplasty can help remove the excess skin, fat, and muscle around your eyes, which is causing the bags. With a rhytidectomy (facelift) and blepharoplasty, you can achieve your desired results.

Written by Dr. Halaas

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