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Facelift (Rhytidectomy)

What is the Facelift (Rhytidectomy)?

Facelift surgery is a cosmetic procedure commonly used to tighten and smooth out facial skin, making the patient look more youthful, radiant and relaxed. It involves removing excess skin from the neck, chin and cheek areas and smoothing out what is remaining, whilst at the same time tightening the tissue underneath. Both men and women can undergo the procedure either for cosmetic/aesthetic purposes or even for medical/reconstructive purposes.

What is the procedure?

The traditional method of carrying out a facelift involves making an incision that follows the hairline; starting at the temple and flowing down and around as it curves behind the ears underneath and back up to the next ear, curving around that one and returning into the hair. If your jaw line is also sagging then the incision will go under the chin to correct this issue. After this incision is completed, the skin is lifted, pulled back and then the excess skin that is now overlapping is trimmed away. The scar will mostly be hidden in your hairline and around the back of your ears to minimize the visible scarring.

Eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) is often performed at the same time as a facelift to achieve an all over refreshed look. The whole operation can take up to four hours to complete and is performed under a general anaesthetic.

What kind of result can you expect?

On average you can expect to look around seven to ten years younger when you have fully recovered from your facelift. The wrinkles on your face will be gone, as will the loose skin around your neck and other areas.

The benefits will last around eight to ten years although this will depend on the elasticity of your skin and your lifestyle.

Factors including diet, body weight and exposure to sunlight will affect your overall results and of course your skin will.

Recovery period and recommendations

Bandages will be applied around your head after the procedure, which you will need to keep in place for up to five days. In some cases, some plastic tubes will drain blood and fluids from the wounds and into a bag. Underneath these bandages, you can expect some bruising and some swelling in the area that the surgery took place and as a result your surgeon may require you to keep your head in an elevated position to keep this under control. Once the plastic tubes that drain fluids are removed and the bandages taken away the next things to be removed will be your stitches, which in itself will occur after around five days. If you have any metal clips in place, these will be taken out after two weeks.

Recovery time depends on the overall health of the patient both before and after the operation. On average, you will be able to resume normal activities within three to six weeks.

Possible side effects and complications

Side effects from facelift surgery are usually temporary and can include:

- nausea from the general anaesthetic;
- bruising and swelling of the face, tight or sore skin for several days;
- mild pain easily alleviated with pain killers.

Complications of a facelift can also include:
- bleeding under your skin (hematoma) - this may need another operation to stop the bleeding and drain the area;
- damage to facial nerves - this can cause numbness and muscle weakness in your face;
- hair loss around your scars;
- unusually red or raised scars - these can take a long time to heal.

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