Facelift surgery, or rhytidectomy, is designed to restore a more youthful appearance by reducing or eliminating major wrinkles and sagging skin of the midface, lower face, jawline and especially the neck. It involves tightening of the facial and neck muscles as well as the removal of any excess fat and skin.
The skin begins to wrinkle and sag as a result of age, sun exposure and genetics. Children and young adults have smooth, round faces due to evenly distributed fatty tissues in facial contours. Over time, the skin of the face and neck sags becoming more prominent around the chin, jawline and neck…Not only does a facelift improve facial appearance but also has a dramatic effect on the neck, enhancing its contour and profile.
A facelift can make a patient appear more youthful and defined. As dramatic as the result can be, an over stretched, or improper lift on the skin and muscles can give an unnatural or operated look. Dr. Kuhn uses techniques to avoid these stigmata.
Before your surgery, we will evaluate your medical history in order to determine your overall health.
Dr. Kuhn will discuss with you how your face can look and what you can expect from surgery. Our objective is to create a natural appearance that is pleasing to you. Before and After photographs will reveal what the surgery has accomplished.
Preoperative Instructions: Avoid drugs that contain aspirin several weeks prior to surgery to minimize excess bleeding. You may be required to take antibiotics to prevent infection. You may be instructed to shampoo your hair the night before surgery.
The Facelift Procedure
A facelift is frequently performed in conjunction with blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), and a forehead lift to create an overall rejuvenation of the face. The procedure can be repeated as gravity continues its effects after the first surgery. Liposuction is commonly performed by many doctors who do facelifting surgery. Dr. Kuhn however no longer does machine liposuction to remove fat in the face and neck but removes it directly by hand to more precisely contour the face and neck. This allows more precision in different areas of the neck and face but takes more time. The results over the past 4 years are improved contours with more stability.
Facelifts are performed on an outpatient basis. General Anesthesia is usually used. Almost all these operations are done at the Facial Surgery Institute, a full accredited surgical facility with board certified doctors, surgical staff and anesthesia providers.
The surgeon will make incisions inside the hairline at the temple, in front of the ear, then around the earlobe and behind the ear, ending at the scalp area. Excess skin is removed and sagging muscles and connective tissues are tightened. In some cases, fatty deposits are removed from beneath the chin, jaw line and neck. Incisions are closed with small sutures.
The procedure may take up to 3-4 hours depending on whether any other procedures are performed at the same time.
Post Operative Care
It is necessary to have someone drive you home and stay with you for the first 24 hours. Initially you will have a large dressing wrapped around your head and neck. You may have surgical drains attached to bulbs hanging at your neck. These will be removed in approximately 48 hours. Stitches and staples in the hairline will be removed at 7 days.
Scarring fades quickly. Swelling and discoloration decrease within two weeks. Tightness in your face and neck will be present for several months and there may be slight changes in your hair pattern around the incision.
We recommend that you avoid the sun for several weeks after surgery.
Complications following facelift are rare. These include bleeding, infection, loss of skin behind the ears, facial nerve injury, discoloration of the skin, and asymmetry. Infection is rare due to the large blood supply to the face. As mentioned, the risk of bleeding is greater if you take aspirin or blood thinners within 2 weeks of the surgery. The risk of wound complications increases in diabetics, persons with a history of radiation, autoimmune and collagen disease as well as in smokers.
Dr. Kuhn will not perform a lifting procedure if you are a smoker. Smokers must quit for 6 weeks prior to and 6 weeks after surgery. Smoking reduces the ability to heal significantly, compromising the surgical result.
By following pre-operative and post-operative instructions, you will minimize potential problems.
Recovery: What to Expect
In the weeks following surgery, the facial skin and area around the ear may be numb. There may also be some temporary discoloration as healing begins, which may take a few months to disappear.
Occasionally, the facial nerve is bruised during surgery. However, actual permanent damage to the facial nerve is rare.
The healing process is gradual, so you will not notice final results for up to 6 months. A single procedure often achieves the desired results. Most patients who have had facelifts are pleased with their new, more youthful appearance.