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If Your Face is Drooping or Sagging, Consider a Facelift

Sep 5, 2008
Rhytidectomy is the technical term for repositioning tissues of the face and neck-commonly called facelift. A facelift 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 jawline and excess fat or loose skin causing loss of definition in the neck area.

Your surgeon will discuss your areas of concern during your consultation and demonstrate the degree of correction you can expect in each area.

Facelift does not stop the clock. It simply "resets" it. How long a facelift lasts depends on many factors including the characteristics of your tissues. You'll notice some loosening within a few months following a facelift, but you may never regain the degree of your original deformities. Many patients will request a less extensive tightening procedure in 7-10 years to maintain the best possible appearance.

Facelift is often combined with other procedures to simultaneously correct other areas of the face such as the forehead or eyelid areas and give you a balanced, more youthful appearance of the entire face.
Facelift procedures can be limited by certain characteristics of your tissues. Some examples are:
Thick, heavy, oily skin
Sun damaged skin
Excessive fatty tissue
Changes in the tissue from previous procedures

The goal of a facelift is to make you look as good as possible for your age, not necessarily to make you appear twenty years younger. Your surgeon will discuss specific limitations with you (if there are any) at the time of your consultation. We have techniques available to deal with most limiting factors.

Facelift 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, your surgeon will make specific recommendations to you to reduce those risks.
If you have hypertension or high blood pressure, it must be properly controlled prior to surgery to reduce risk of bleeding. We will coordinate this with your internist or family physician.
There is a very small risk of impairing nerves which control facial movement during facelift surgery, depending on the extent of procedure-necessary to correct your deformities. Your surgeon 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 will give you more detailed information about these and other rare risks in our written information, and encourage you to discuss any concerns you may have during your consultation.

The Operation
Incisions for facelift are carefully concealed within the hair in the area of the temples, in skin creases in front of and behind the ear, and in the hair behind the ears. Your surgeon 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 an 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. All exposed or visible sutures will be removed in 4 to 5 days. The remaining sutures or staples that are concealed in the hair are removed in 7 to 10 days.

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
Patients usually want to know about four stages of recovery: hospitalization time, 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.

Many surgeons prefer that you spend one night in the hospital following an extensive facelift. By keeping you very quiet and sedated, and having someone to care for you, we can assure the least possible swelling and bruising and the fastest possible recovery with the least risk of complications. Bruising and swelling resolve within 5-10 days. Most patients return to work and social activity within 10-21 days and be back to aerobic or strenuous activity 14-21 days.

We encourage immediate return to full normal activity immediately. Just 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.
About the Author
LookingYourBest.com is an online resource for facelifts in Houston. To learn more, please visit http://smithplasticsurgery.com/pages/facelift.htm and http://www.lookingyourbest.com/facialplasticsurgery/articles/Facelift-Rhytidectomy.
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