What is a Facelift?
A facelift, also known as a rhytidectomy, is a cosmetic facial surgical procedure. The primary goal of a facelift is to create a more youthful appearance by reducing laxity, sagging, and/or folds on the cheeks, jawline, mouth (marionette lines), and neck. Facelifts can also be performed in combination with a forehead and eyelid lift (“blepharoplasty”) or a rhinoplasty.
Generally speaking, facelifts involve three main steps: incision, the procedure, and closure. Facelifts involve pulling back a portion of skin on each side of the patient’s face, with tissues below the skin surgically modified to improve the facial contour of the face, making it appear younger. This process allows the skin to be elevated and the underlying muscles (platysma) and tissues to be tightened. The facial skin in then pulled over the new facial contours. Excess skin is removed before the skin portions are sutured shut.
Depending on the techniques used by the surgeon and individual patient preferences, the incision types can vary. Traditional facelift incisions begin in the hairline at the temples, pass in front of the ears, and end behind the ears in the lower scalp. Neck lift incisions begin in front of the earlobe and continue around the ear to the lower scalp, along with a small incision under the chin. A limited incision is a smaller incision that begins in the hairline above the ear, goes in front of your ear, but does not go as far as the lower scalp.
The procedure typically takes 2.5 – 3.5 hours for a traditional facelift. If other procedures such as a forehead lift are included, the procedure may take several hours longer. Candidates for facelifts tend to be between the ages of 40 – 70, with some patients being well into their 80’s.