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Facelift (Rhytidectomy)

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Overview

A Facelift helps reverse signs of aging by lifting and firming sagging skin and smoothing folds in the corners and creases of the face. As we age, our bodies lose two essential proteins; elastin and collagen. Elastin is what gives our skin its elasticity while collagen helps tighten and firm the skin. 

Decreases in elastin and collagen production can cause:

  • Hollowing of the midface and cheeks
  • Drooping skin around the jawline and chin
  • Creating deep nasolabial folds, jowls, and marionette lines. 

Our skin’s structure depends on collagen to help maintain our youthful appearances but as we age our collagen production decreases allowing our skin to become laxer. The face is given a refreshed and rejuvenated look by smoothing folds while tightening the skin and muscles. Combining this procedure with lasers for skin tone and wrinkles as well as facial fat grafting helps enhance facelift results.

Types of Facelifts

There are two types of Facelifts; the Mini (Short Scar) Facelift and Standard Facelift. During a consultation with Dr. Hustak, she will be able to determine which facial procedure is right for you. 

Mini Facelift (Short Scar)
A Mini Facelift addresses mild sagging of the skin and targets sagging jawlines with deeper nasolabial folds. 

A Mini Facelift is less invasive than a standard facelift and requires less downtime. It can also be done under local or general anesthesia and lasts anywhere from 2 – 3 hours rather than the 4-6 hours a Standard Facelift typically lasts. Incisions for a Mini Facelift are shorter and are made in the hairline on both sides of the face starting at the top of the ears continuing down in front of the ears. The tissue around the cheeks is raised and tightened while the fat is redistributed where needed. Any excess skin or fat not needed will be removed. Muscle is tightened in both the traditional and mini. The difference between the two facelifts is often the amount of skin removed and neck redistribution. 

A Mini Facelift is a great option for those who are not ready for the extensiveness of a Standard Facelift but want a refreshed and rejuvenated appearance. 

Standard Facelift
A Standard Facelift targets sagging cheeks, deep folds in the corners of the mouth or nose, sagging skin and muscle along the jawline and lower parts of the face, and drooping skin falling under the chin.

Typically, a Facelift is performed under anesthesia lasting anywhere between 4 – 6 hours. A Facelift begins with an incision in the hairline starting from the temple, continuing down and around the earlobe, and ending behind the ears at the lower scalp. Once the incisions are made on both sides of the face, the skin is separated from the connective tissue and muscle. The facial tissue support structure and fat are redistributed among the face while any excess fat and skin are removed. The muscles are tightened to help bring balance to the face as well.

Once the procedure is complete, the patient will be sutured up with drainage tubes allowing excess fluids to drain for the next 2-3 days. A Standard Facelift helps bring fullness back into the cheeks, smooth folds around the corners of the mouth and nose, raise and tighten sagging skin around the jawline and lower regions of the face, and lift sagging skin below the chin.

What to Expect

During a consultation, board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Kristi Hustak will evaluate the patient’s breasts and ask a series of questions to better understand the patient’s wants and needs. After carefully listening to the patient’s goal(s), Dr. Hustak will design a personalized plan best suited to help the patient achieve her desired goal(s). 

Recovery

A bandage or cooling mask is placed around the patient’s face to help reduce any bruising or swelling. While the bandages do help minimize the bruising and swelling following a facelift, patients should allow 2-3 weeks for all bruising and swelling to subside. The first three to four days after a Facelift procedure are very important and the patient should get as much rest as possible. Dr. Hustak recommends walking around every once in a while throughout the day to help with blood flow and the healing of the Facelift. Keep in mind, everyone heals differently and some people may take longer to recover from a facelift than others.

Facelift scars are embedded in the hairline and continue along the natural folds of the ears. By doing this, the scars blend naturally into the folds of the face giving the patient a natural look. Sutures are removed in one week and light makeup may be worn as early as one week. 

Spa Treatments and Products

Treatments

  • Botox: decreases wrinkles and movement of muscles. Botox is great to have done 2 weeks before fat grafting to increase the body’s graft take.
  • Thermitight or Facetite: THERMItight and FaceTite both use radiofrequency to reach deeper levels of the tissue to tighten and firm the skin while increasing collagen production. The difference between the two is FaceTite incorporates liposuction to extract the fat melted during the radiofrequency portion while THERMItight does not.   THERMItight learn more >   FaceTite learn more >
  • Halo: Hybrid fractional laser that targets fine lines and wrinkles, large pores, sun damage, and more. Learn more >

Products

  • Alastin- Regenerating Skin Nectar: Supports the skin before, during, and after cosmetic procedures by enhancing the skin’s natural regeneration process.  Learn more >
  • SkinMedica- TNS Essential Serum: Improves skin’s tone and texture while reducing fine lines and wrinkles.  Learn more >
  • Revision- DEJ Face Cream: Renews the appearance of aging skin by moisturizing the skin for a smoother texture.  Learn more >

Combining Surgeries

  • Neck Lift: Removes sagging excess skin and tightens muscles while fat grafting adds volume to their chin without the use of an implant. Often, patients requiring a neck lift in younger years have a weaker chin as well.
  • Blepharoplasty: An Eyelid Lift removes excess skin and fat while tightening the muscles around the eyes. This procedure helps tighten droopy eyes and remove fat build up in the lower eyelids.   Learn More >
  • Facial Fat Grafting: Injection into the central face fat components to improve the cheeks, under-eye, and nasolabial folds. Learn more >

Facelift FAQs

When can I return to work after a Facelift?
Dr. Hustak typically recommends for her patients to take at least two weeks off from surgery after a facelift procedure. While some patients are able to return to work before the two-week recommendation, Dr. Hustak advises the patient to take it slow and get plenty of rest.

When can I wear makeup again after a facelift?
After a facelift procedure, Dr. Hustak advises her patient to not wear any makeup until all sutures have been removed and the incisions are completely healed. This helps reduce the chances of infection. If makeup is necessary, the patient may wear minimal makeup to help cover bruising. Whatever makeup is applied must not be used to cover the incisions that are still healing. 

How long must I wait to workout after a facelift?
After a facelift, the patient should wait at least three to four weeks before incorporating LIGHT exercises back into their regimen and avoid any strenuous activity until the patient has been cleared by the doctor. This is particularly true for anyone with a history of high blood pressure.  

 

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