Rhytidectomy, or a facelift, is a procedure designed to improve visible signs of aging in the face and neck. These signs of aging are due to the effects of gravity, exposure to sun, general stress, and the natural effects of aging over time. They include sagging in the midface, deep creases below the lower eyelids, deep creases between the nose and mouth, displaced fat deposits, loss of muscle tone in lower face, and loose skin and excess fat deposits under the chin and jaw.
This procedure is performed under general anesthesia, but may require an overnight stay at the hospital. It involves the removal of excess fat, repositioning of the underlying tissues, lifting of the underlying muscles, redraping of the skin over the lifted contours, and removal of excess skin. Facelifts are frequently done in conjunction with brow lifts, eyelid surgery, and neck lifts.
The results of the procedure will be apparent as swelling and bruising subside. The incision lines, once healed, are well hidden in the hairline and in the natural contours of the face and ear. One should allow at least six weeks for healing before attending any important functions. Full recovery takes about 4 to 6 weeks. Although facelifts result in younger appearance, facial aging will continue at a normal rate. However, most patients do not need a second procedure.