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Facelift Surgery (Rhytidectomy)
Set back the clock and reduce the affects of aging. Let Dr. Stevens help determine if a Surgical Facelift is right for you.
With time the soft tissues of the face – skin, muscles and ligaments – give way to the effects of gravity allowing for downward descent. As this progresses you will see
- Wrinkles and sagging of the face
- Loose skin of the neck
- A rectangular rather than heart shape to the face
The loss of volume in the aging face also contributes to the findings listed above. When it is severe enough both re –suspension (facelift) and re- volumization (Bellafill, Voluma or Sculptra) are needed to restore a youthful appearance. In consultation, Dr. Stevens will discuss these issues as well as restoration of healthy, youthful skin – these are what he calls the three D’s of aging.
Deflation (loss of youthful volume)
Degradation of the skin (here in Southwest Florida primarily due to sun damage)
Facelift surgery addresses the first D in this grouping.
The facelift procedure usually takes 2 ½ - 3 hours and can be performed under intravenous sedation in the operating room or, for select patients, in the office under local anesthesia – this is our Activelift®. Regardless of the location, Dr. Stevens performs the same deep plane, vertical vector lift. It is your choice with respect to the anesthesia technique. We will discuss this further during your consultation.
A well done facelift will yield a natural looking result without loss of hair, distortion of the ear or visible scarring. The results are very dramatic and we invite you to look at our before and after photos.
We are the first facial plastic surgery office in Fort Myers to use the MLS laser system to promote rapid healing. This laser treatment is performed postoperatively and is known from the pain management and wound healing literature to reduce swelling and pain by increasing the activity of the cellular source of power – the mitochondria. The treatment is painless and effective. We are committed to bring the latest of technologies to your care.
Often Dr. Stevens will perform additional procedures if needed at the same time as the facelift to include endoscopic browplasty (forehead lift), eyelid surgery and fractional CO2 laser resurfacing.
Typically our patients can return to work or play 10-14 days after surgery depending upon any additional procedures performed at the time of the facelift and their own unique healing.
Before Facelift Surgery
Before you make the decision to get a facelift, there are a few things you should consider. If there are one or more aspects of your face you’d like to have corrected, then a facelift may be easier than having multiple plastic surgery procedures.
Many people who have a facelift report looking 10 to 15 years younger after the procedure. It is important, however, to remember that this surgery won’t create a “new you.” You will look younger, but you will still be your age.
Some downtime also comes with this procedure. If you work or lead an active life, you may have to put some plans on hold until you have healed.
Though the effects of a facelift can last for 10 years or more, it is important to remember that the effects might not last forever. Depending on how old you are when you have a facelift, you may need to get a secondary procedure done later on.
Of course, everyone is different. Sit down with your plastic surgeon and talk about what you’d like the end results to be. Your surgeon will make recommendations on how to achieve those desired results.
Facelift Surgery Procedure
The type of facelift surgery performed will depend on the results you wish to see. Your doctor will help you choose one that works for you and will give you the results you want. Most facelift surgeries work on lifting the lower facial areas, including the cheeks, jawline, and jowls. Your doctor might also add or remove fat and other soft-tissue fillers to give you the look you’ve always wanted.
To perform the surgery, the surgeon will first make incisions on your face in specific locations determined by the results you want. Once the incisions have been made, there will be an undermining performed on the skin, and the deep layers of the skin will be lifted up. The undermining process will separate the skin from the muscles and deep tissue, which will loosen up the neck and facial skin. This skin will be redraped at the end. The surgeon will then raise the skin from the neck, temples, and cheeks, and they will lift and reposition the tissue while taking out the excessive fat and skin. Once this is done, the surgeon will redrape the skin and close the incisions.
Every surgery is different, however, so make sure you talk to your surgeon about the work being performed on your face.
After Facelift Surgery
After your surgery, you and your caregiver will sit down with your doctor and go over the detailed instructions regarding your post-surgical care. Pay close attention during this conversation. Your doctor will explain how to perform your post-surgical care and provide information on…
- Drains, if and where they have been placed
- Symptoms commonly felt after surgery
- Complications that should be watched for
When you wake up, you will have a compression wrap on you. This garment is essential for recovery, so wear it as directed and remove it only to clean the incisions or when you take a shower. You must also keep your head elevated. Do not bend over or forward. Rather than lying back, recline at an angle.
The amount of recovery time will vary depending on the surgery. For most patients, six weeks is usually enough for patients to recover. After that, they may go back to doing routine activities as they did before. Your doctor will be able to give you a more complete timeline.
Many of our patients are active, and they don’t always want to rest after a facelift. They want to get back out there and get moving. The problem with that is that facelift surgery does require some downtime, and if you get moving too quickly, you might damage the work that has been done. Rest is vital to recovery.
During the first week, you cannot drive and should continue resting. For the first day or so after surgery, you might feel a tightness in your neck. This is common. You should not be bending over or doing any heavy lifting for the first week following your surgery. For the first two weeks, it is also recommended that you sleep at a 40-degree angle.
Although you should be resting, you do not have to stay in bed all day after a facelift surgery. You want to minimize the amount of swelling in your face, so it’s best to stay sitting. Some people like to do a little light cleaning to keep themselves moving around the house after their surgery.
The most recent statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons show that the average facelift costs about $6,550. This number is only an estimate. There are several factors that will determine the price of your facelift.
With all facelift procedures, there will be a surgeon’s fee, which goes to the surgeon performing the procedure. This fee is usually based on the amount of experience the surgeon has. The location of the office is also a factor; locations such as Manhattan and Los Angeles will charge more.
Patients will also be charged for the surgical and hospital facility used during the operation, along with an anesthesia fee if the patient uses it. Bandages and any other surgical wraps must also be included in the price. The surgeon may also describe one or more medications that factor into the price.
If you have concerns about the price of your facelift, talk with your doctor. They will be able to answer any questions you might have.
Are there any limitations to what a facelift can achieve?
Facelifts can bring vitality and rejuvenation back to one’s face, but it’s not a miracle cure. A facelift cannot stop the aging process. Your face will continue to age just as it normally would without the facelift.
What’s important to remember about a facelift is that it cannot physically make you younger. You might look 10 years younger, but your body is still the same age. Though you might feel more youthful, remember that a facelift is just a cosmetic procedure, and not an elixir of life.
To lessen some facelift limitations, take care of your skin and body after your facelift to make the effects last longer. Wear sunscreen when you go outside to protect your face and eat a healthy diet. Drinking plenty of water is also important. You won’t be able to slow down the aging process forever, but your skin will continue to look healthy.
Is there much pain with a facelift?
One of the biggest concerns patients have is how much pain they will be in after the surgery and how long it will last. As with any surgery, there will be some pain and discomfort as you recover, but for most patients, this is minimal. The results of a facelift far outweigh the pain and discomfort.
Immediately after the surgery, you will feel some pain and discomfort, usually a mild to a moderate amount. Your doctor will provide you with medication to help with this. If the medication isn’t helping, speak with your doctor as soon as possible.
After the first 48 hours, you should notice a reduction in the amount of pain and discomfort you feel. In rare cases, the pain actually increases during this time period. If this does happen, call your doctor immediately. Even fewer cases report severe pain, but if you do feel severe pain, call your doctor.
Are the results of a facelift permanent?
Before getting a facelift, all patients need to know that the effects of a facelift are not permanent. For most people, they last at least 10 years. Every patient will respond differently to a facelift over time. A patient’s genetics, skin type, and the quality and maintenance routine will help determine how long a facelift will last.
One of the most important factors is the facelift technique of the surgeon. Short surgeries with short recovery periods don’t last quite as long as some of the other procedures. The mini-facelift, sometimes called the S-Lift, lasts for about five years. The recovery period will also be much faster. For the longest results, the full facelift is the most invasive of all the procedures, and the recovery period lasts for about two to four weeks. Full facelifts will usually last for 10 years.