Rhytidectomy (Facelift Surgery)

Aging of the face is inevitable. As the years go by, the skin begins to loosen on the face and neck. Crow’s feet appear at the corner of the eyes. Fine forehead lines become creases and then, gradually, deeper folds. The jawline softens into jowls, and beneath the chin, another chin or vertical folds appear at the front of the neck. Heredity, personal habits, the pull of gravity, and sun exposure contribute to the aging of the face. As the aging population grows, it is obvious why rhytidectomy has become the third most desired facial plastic surgical procedure.

Rhytidectomy begins with an incision in the area of the temple hair, just above and in front of the ear, and then continues around the lobe, circling the ear before returning to the point of origin in the scalp. The skin is raised outward before the surgeon repositions and tightens the underlying muscle and connective tissue. Some fat may be removed, as well as excessive skin. For men, the incision is aligned to accommodate the natural beard lines. In all cases, the incision is placed where it will fall in a natural crease of the skin for camouflage. After trimming the excess skin, the surgeon closes the incisions with fine sutures and/ or metal clips, which permit surgery without shaving hair from the incision site.

Recovery usually takes two to three weeks, though many patients go back to work in two weeks. Scars are usually not noticeable after enough time has passed for them to mature. In any case, they are easily disguised in natural skin creases, by the hair, or, in persistent cases, by makeup until total lobe healing has occurred. Bear in mind that the aging process continues after surgery and that some relaxation of tissues will occur over the first few weeks.