Facelift (Rhytidectomy) in Albany

What is a Rhytidectomy (Facelift)?

As we age, gravity and sun exposure lead to loose skin of the face and neck. Deep creases, the nasolabial folds, running from each side of the nose to the corners of the mouth are tell tale signs of aging. In addition, jowls may appear, making the crisp jaw line of youth disappear. Furthermore, loose skin and collections of fat in the neck can lead to an appearance that individuals would like to improve in order to regain a more youthful appearance. Rhytidectomy “facelift” surgery helps to reverse these signs of aging by tightening the underlying muscles of the face, often removing unwanted fat deposits, and removing excess skin.

Face lift | Neck lift | Plastic Surgery | Albany NY

What Can A Facelift Correct?

The facelift procedure aims to improve the look of the lower and middle areas of the face, and the neck. It is a particularly effective option for correcting any of the following:

  • Mid-face sagging
  • Deep creases under the eyes
  • Nasolabial folds
  • Jowls
  • Sagging fat
  • Loose skin under the chin
  • Excess fat under the chin and jaw

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Limitations of Facelift Surgery

Although facelifts remove or reduce signs of aging, over time, they will gradually reappear. A facelift does not improve the look of the brow, eyelids, nose, or some parts of the mid-face. A patient who wants to improve those areas might combine a facelift with a brow lift, eyelid surgery, and/or injectable soft-tissue fillers. Facial implants, neuromodulators, and skin resurfacing are viable options as well.

Am I A Good Candidate For A Facelift?

Both men and women are candidates for face lift surgery in order to address one or more of the unwanted signs of aging indicated above. Smokers are at significantly increased risk and would be required to stop for at least one month before and refrain from smoking for one month after surgery in order to minimize the risks. If one is in good health, facelift surgery could be an option for people in their 30s onward.

As with any type of surgery, it is important to have realistic expectations and to make certain to adhere to your plastic surgeons postoperative instructions and follow up.

Rhytidectomy Procedure

A facelift is typically performed as an out-patient procedure in  either an ambulatory facility, surgery center, or hospital. Patients typically have the choice of intravenous sedation or general anesthesia, but localized anesthesia is also sometimes utilized. The procedure takes about 2 hours. The way a facelift is performed depends on the surgeon, the patient’s facial structure, and the extent of correction desired.

Different Types of Facelift Surgeries

Traditional Rhytidectomy

A traditional rhytidectomy is a “full” facelift that rejuvenates the face, jowls and neck, and includes sculpting and redistributing of fat; lifting and repositioning of muscle and deeper tissues; and trimming and re-draping of skin. The incision begins at the temples and travels down to the front of the ear, around the earlobe and behind the ear to the lower scalp at the hairline. Sometimes, another incision is made under the chin.

Limited-Incision Rhytidectomy

A limited-incision rhytidectomy improves the area around the eyes and mouth by reducing nasolabial folds and other deep creases. Short incisions are made at the temples and around the ear, and possibly in the lower eyelids and/or under the upper lip.

What To Expect After A Facelift

In most cases there is slight swelling and temporary numbness and bruising. There may be, understandably, a feeling of tightness in the face and neck which resolves over time. Incisions are closed with stitches or tissue glue. Scars are hidden in the hairline and natural contours of the face.

Recovery From a Facelift

After a facelift, the surgeon wraps the incisions in bandages, and may insert drainage tubes; if so, they are usually taken out the next day. If surgical clips are holding some incisions closed, they are removed, along with any stitches, 5-10 days after the procedure.

Post-facelift, swelling, numbness, bruising and a feeling of tightness or tension in the face and neck may be felt. The face may initially look uneven or distorted, and facial muscles may feel stiff. Most of these side effects resolve within 3 to 6 weeks, and sensation typically returns to normal within a few months. Scars become less red, raised, lumpy and itchy over time.

Light activity is generally possible within a few days after surgery and most patients return to full activities by the third week. Once the stitches are removed camouflage cosmetics may be used to minimize the appearance of bruising and to conceal the healing incisions.

Results Of a Facelift

Although the Improvement generally lasts for 5 to 10 years, some patients may wish to consider a revision. Even when a patient begins to see some of the tell-tale signs of aging returning, the face still tends to look better than if the facelift had never been performed.

Risks and Complications of Facelift Surgery

Possible complications of a facelift include bleeding, infection, bruising, swelling or discoloration, allergic reaction to the anesthesia, skin blistering (usually only in smokers), nerve injury, and temporary or permanent loss of sensation in the face.

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Neck Lift

A neck lift is a surgical procedure that smooths and tightens the neck’s skin, which can sag from aging or weight loss. There are usually two components to a neck lift: cervicoplasty, which removes excess skin, and platysmaplasty, which removes or tightens muscles in the neck. A neck lift can be performed alone or as part of a facelift. A neck lift candidate is in good physical and emotional health, and has realistic expectations about the outcome of surgery. The results of a neck lift can last up to 10 years.

Neck Lift Procedure

A neck lift begins with a small, inconspicuous incision directly below the chin (platysmaplasty) and/or in front of the ear lobes, looping behind the ears and ending in the scalp near the back of the neck (cervicoplasty). Sagging skin is trimmed away and lifted during cervicoplasty; loose muscles that cause the “bands” around the neck to be prominent are tightened during platysmaplasty. In some cases, it is necessary to perform only one of the two procedures. Liposuction is sometimes used to remove excess fat; if so, it is performed before the neck lift. Incisions are glued and/or sutured closed.

How Long Is Neck Lift Surgery?

A neck lift usually takes 2 to 4 hours to perform, and the patient is given either general anesthesia or local anesthesia with sedation. Most neck lifts are performed on an outpatient basis. Bandages covering incisions are removed after a few days; sutures are typically removed after 7 to 10 days.

Recovery From A Neck Lift

Swelling and bruising from a neck lift can last a couple of weeks. Applying cold compresses and keeping the head elevated for the first 48 hours following surgery minimizes swelling. Keeping the head still, and avoiding turning or twisting it for the first few days post-surgery, is recommended. Medication is prescribed to help alleviate discomfort.

Most people return to work and other normal daily activities within 2 weeks, after which bruising and swelling have subsided. More strenuous activities should be avoided for 4 to 6 weeks.

Risks And Complications Of A Neck Lift

Although rare, possible risks and complications of a neck lift include the following:

  • Scarring
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Hematoma
  • Tissue death
  • Blood clots
  • Numbness
  • Intense itching
  • Skin discoloration
  • Persistent swelling

A more serious complication, also rare, is facial nerve damage that can lead to muscle paralysis.

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