Facelift and Necklift: Procedure Overview
Procedure – A facelift, or rhytidectomy, is designed to rejuvenate the face by tightening the deeper structure of the face and removing excess skin which may be the result of sun exposure or the general aging process. It can address the midface, jowls and neck depending on your particular needs. To create a more youthful appearance, Dr. Brown will utilize either the traditional facelift, with incisions in front and/or behind the ear, the short-scar facelift or a suspension technique. Dr. Brown will review with you the options that will provide the best results for you.
Surgery and incisions – The operation itself takes 2-4 hours depending on what type of facelift or necklift you undergo. Most surgeries are performed in an outpatient or inpatient operating suite, under twilight or general anesthesia. Other procedures can be performed in the office with local anesthetic. Dr. Brown will discuss all options that are right for you during your consultation. In most cases, incisions can be hidden in natural skin creases, and within the hair of the scalp.
What facelifts can’t do – As a restorative surgery, a facelift cannot stop the aging process and does not change your fundamental appearance. It is important that you are using good skin care products to help compliment your facelift procedure.
Is it right for me? A facelift can only be performed surgically. While they can complement surgery, non-surgical rejuvenation treatments (Botox, Juvederm) can not achieve the same results as surgery, but may help delay the time period before needing a facelift. Facelift surgery is a highly individualized procedure. Most facelifts are combined with other facial procedures such as eyelid surgery for the best overall results. You should do it for yourself, not for anyone else.
Preparing for surgery – Each surgery is individual, and requires individual attention from Dr. Brown. He will spend time with you before surgery to discuss the procedure, what to expect and how to prepare. During your consultation, you can ask questions, and discuss all the options for your surgery. However, there are two areas that are common to all patients and procedures: what medications to avoid and the effects of smoking on wound healing. If you do not quit smoking, there are significantly increased risks associated with surgery. If you smoke, you will be asked to quit for a minimum of 4 weeks prior to surgery as well as 4 weeks after surgery.
Can I go home the day of surgery? – A facelift or necklift can be done safely as an outpatient, and most patients can go home the same day. In some cases, Dr. Brown may recommend that you spend a night in the hospital after surgery. Some patients may prefer to spend a night in the hospital if they have young children at home or live alone and do not have a primary caretaker.
After Surgery Care
How much swelling or bruising can I expect? – Swelling and bruising are normal signs of the healing process, and occur to varying degrees after any surgery. Bruising and swelling are greatest about 2-4 days after traditional facelift surgery, and then rapidly decrease. By the end of the first few weeks most of the bruising and swelling is gone, and by 6-8 weeks all swelling has diminished. For the less invasive facelift procedures swelling and bruising can be so minimal that some patients look “normal” within a few days.
What restrictions on physical activity are there? – Generally, you can shower in 1-2 days after surgery, but you should not submerge incisions in the bath, hot-tub, or swimming pool for 2-3 weeks. The first day after surgery is usually spent lying in bed or sitting in a chair. Most patients then begin walking around the house the day after surgery. By the end of the first week, you will probably be ready to leave the house for short trips and light walks. Vigorous activities should not be performed until 6 weeks after surgery. Also, you shouldn’t do any heavy lifting (over 10 pounds) during these 6 weeks.
These are only general guidelines, and Dr. Brown will give you more specific instructions at your consultation.
When can I travel? – You should wait to travel by air or long distances until after your first post-operative visit, which generally happens 5-7 days after surgery. Patients who are at high risk for developing a blood clot should not travel until instructed by Dr. Brown. Short car trips under 60 minutes can be done before the first visit. A good rule of thumb is when you are off the stronger pain medication and can get up without assistance you are ready to go for a short drive. You should not drive the car yourself, until your surgeon gives you clearance.
What if I have a problem? When should I call the office? – We always welcome calls from patients. If you have any concerns at any time, please feel free to contact our office. If it is an emergency, the answering service is available 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays.