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What Is A Facelift?
By Wesley Hall Jr.

Scientifically termed as rhytidectomy, a facelift is a surgical process of erasing visible signs of aging on one's face and neck. These signs of aging include midface sagging, deep creases that extend from the nose to the corner of the mouth, deep creases found below one's lower eyelids, fat that has been displaced, jowls in the lower face due to loss of one's muscle tone, fat deposits under one's chin and jaw, and loose skin.

There are several other procedures that enhance the effects of a facelift. These procedures work together with the facelift to achieve favorable results to one's overall look. These procedures are eyelid surgery, forehead lift, reshaping of the nose, dermabrasion, laser resurfacing, and chemical peel. Other patients also enlist in the other well-known procedures which include facial restructuring or re-contouring, facial implants, wrinkle injections, and resurfacing methods for toning and smoothening one's facial skin.

In examining a patient for a face lift, Dr. Hall and Dr. Wrye will first start with the elasticity, texture, and thickness of the patient's facial skin. They will also evaluate the severity of the folds and wrinkles, and the hairline for the strategic placing of incisions. Other factors such as underlying tissues and bone structure are also salient areas to consider in the development of a personalized plan for surgery.

Dr. Hall and Dr. Wrye may do either of two types of facelift--a traditional facelift, neck lift, or limited incision facelift--based on the patient's preferences in the amount of changes needed to be done and the doctors' professional assessment on the patient's condition.

Mini face lift surgery at Dr. Hall and Wrye located in Reno, Nevada

How is a facelift done?

The incisions of a face lift are well-concealed, as they are done to camouflage the natural contours of the temple, hairline, and the natural beard lines (for men). First, the incision is made along the temple hair, on the area above the ear, continued following the lobe, and circles the ear until the incision returns to the point of origin found in the scalp. The patient's skin is raised and pulled outward, and Drs. Hall and Wrye will then do the repositioning and tightening of the underlying muscle and the connective tissue. Excess fat may be redistributed to other parts of the face or sculpted. Excess skin is also removed in a face lift.

Drs. Hall and Wrye will then use fine sutures to close the incisions, enabling a surgery to proceed even without shaving the areas included in the surgery. These incision lines are well-concealed within one's natural contours of the hairline, face, and ear.

Full face lift surgery at Dr. Hall and Wrye located in Reno, Nevada

Who qualifies for a facelift?

Should one plan to undergo a facelift, he/she should be physically fit and in good health condition, a non-smoker, and one who has achievable goals regarding the desired effect. The following conditions indicate that you qualify as a candidate:

  • deep lines and folds
  • loss of a well-defined jawline (jowls)
  • deep wrinkles
  • sagging in any area of the face
  • loose skin
  • excess fat
Lower face lift surgery at Dr. Hall and Wrye located in Reno, Nevada

How will surgery go about?

A face lift procedure is designed to target and improve the conditions enumerated above. A facelift will not, however, correct sagging eyebrows, excess skin on the eyelids, and wrinkles around the mouth. There are other surgical procedures that specifically target these problem areas.

Mid face lift surgery at Dr. Hall and Wrye located in Reno, Nevada

Where and how is a facelift surgery done?

Rhytidectomy can be administered in a surgical suite, hospital, or ambulatory facility. The procedure itself takes two to four hours to complete, and is done with the inclusion of intravenous anesthesia, local anesthesia, and sedatives. The facelift patient should expect to feel mild discomfort at some points during the procedure. Drs. Hall and Wrye will then finish off the surgery by wrapping a protective dressing on the areas where incisions have been cut.

How does recovery from a facelift proceed?

To help minimize the bruising and swelling, a bandage is placed around the face along the incisions lines after the procedure is completed. Normally, patients feel only very little pain following the rhytidectomy, but the doctors will still prescribe medication for out-patient recovery. Since the surgery involves re-contouring and modifying parts of the face and neck, a degree of bruising and swelling is usually expected. Drs. Hall and Wrye advise cold compress to minimize swelling. The dressing that was applied during the surgery can be removed after one or two days. A patient who has undergone facelift is advised by the doctors to maintain the head at an elevated level when lying down in order to decrease the level of activity in the face as much as possible.

If the facelift involved a drainage tube, this will be removed after one to two days from the day of the surgery. The staples and sutures will be removed from the incisions within 5 to 10 days after the surgery. Drs. Hall and Wrye usually discourage vigorous physical activity during the recovery period. These activities include bending, lifting, straining, and the like. Direct exposure to sunlight is also discouraged during the post-operative period, and a sunblock is usually advised for use among patients to maintain an even-toned skin.

The recovery lasts for two to three weeks. Scars post-surgery will exist, but they will not be noticeable after ample time has passed following the surgery. These scars will not be bothersome, however, since they will be disguised along the face and neck's natural creases and the hair's natural line.

What are the risks of getting a facelift?

There are very few risks listed in a face lift surgery. There are thousands of rhytidectomy surgeries performed yearly and this procedure is very common, but as in any surgery, there are risks such as hematoma (accumulation of blood underneath the skin), infections, and reactions to the administered anesthesia.

By following the advice of Drs. Hall and Wrye, a patient minimizes the risks of a facelift, both during the procedure and post-operation.

How will I look post-surgery?

Depending on the preferences you specified prior to the surgery, the results may be dramatic or subtle. How you looked before the surgery will surely differ from how you will look afterwards. This depends on the goals that the patient and the doctors have set before proceeding with the facelift. Expect to see the full result after several weeks, when the entire operated area has healed and the new look has surfaced. Dr. Hall and Dr. Wrye are experts in face lift surgery located in Reno, Nevada, call us now for free consultation 775-284-8296.