Rhytidectomy or facelift is a type of cosmetic surgery that corrects facial skin laxity due to aging or weight loss. The degree of skin laxity may be hereditary or may depend on the disposition of the patient, as well as nutritional habits, smoking, exposure to the sun and daily skincare. The problems are usually more prominent on the neck, cheeks, eyelids, eyebrows and temples.
The age that a patient needs to be operated on cannot be set. Elderly patients usually do not need to undergo surgery if the aforementioned problems have not been manifested, whereas younger patients with signs of skin laxity may actually need a facelift. Often the surgeon examines patients aged between 40-45 with skin showing signs of fatigue and fine wrinkles mainly around the mouth and eyes, without bags though, and maybe some degree of forehead ptosis. On some occasions, peeling with hydroxyl acids is enough to deal with these problems, or even laserabrasion (fractional) if the damage is more intense. Lately, treatments with radio frequencies improve skin turgor.
The facelift surgical technique does not alter the patient’s features. The careful preparation of the facial fascias and the suturing at the right places offers a youthful and vibrant-looking face. The duration of the result cannot be determined. The skin will continue to become lax at the same pace, starting from a younger age, though.
In facelifts, incisions are made around the ears, continuing to the scalp. They are rarely visible after a year. The incisions on the eyelids nearly disappear and are hardly discernible after a month. Surgical time is 2-3 hours. The procedure may be performed with local and twilight anesthesia; however, general anesthesia is preferable, as it offers safety to the patient and greater surgical convenience to the surgeon. Patients usually remain hospitalized overnight, the first dressing gets changed on the following day and they are discharged with recommendations for antibiotic treatment and ophthalmic eye drops (collyrium).
On the second postoperative day, patients may wash their hair with tepid water and apply antibiotic ointment on the incisions around the ears. On the fourth or fifth day, they return to their doctor to have the sutures of the blepharoplasty and the incisions around the eras removed. The procedure is painless and patients will not need to take any painkillers. The bruising that will appear fades away in some patients within 15 days, while in others, it may remain for more than 20 days. On rare occasions, a small necrosis may be observed on the skin, mainly around the area of the lobe or behind the ear, but this heals itself, delaying the postoperative course, but without leaving an aesthetic problem. These necroses are usually observed in smokers. Smoking is strictly prohibited for at least 15 days after the operation.
As with all surgeries, patients have to arrive to the hospital on an empty stomach and without having consumed any water for the last 6 hours. They will then undergo a preoperative checkup and after the situation being evaluated by the medical team, they will be taken to surgery. They should be prepared for a simple procedure, with a painless postoperative course, lasting 10-15 days. Painkillers are nearly never needed. An almost indiscernible swelling remains for approximately 4 months.
Useful Facts about Face Lift
Length of surgery: 1.5 h- 2.5 h
Duration of Hospitalization: ODC (one-day clinic) to 1 night stay
Return to normal activities: 2-3 weeks
Postoperative care: First dressing change on the second postoperative day. Application of antibiotic ointment on the operated area in front of the ears. Hair washing on the fourth postoperative day. In front of the ear, stitches removed on the sixth postoperative day. Stitched removed from the scalp on the tenth postoperative day. Moisturizing cream to be applied on the face twice a day.