Face-lift (Rhytidectomy)

Face-lift (Rhytidectomy)

What is a face-lift?

Before and after portrait of a woman (cosmetic surgery).Medically known as a rhytidectomy, a face-lift is a cosmetic surgical procedure (performed under general anaesthetic) whereby the soft tissue of the face is lifted (through an incision made into the skin) and excess skin and tissue is removed. Underlying tissues can also be tightened. Facial skin is then gently draped back over newly repositioned contours in an effort to aesthetically improve the face and neck, providing a smoother, more youthful effect. Incisions (usually made along the hairline) are stitched (sutured) closed and the healing process can begin.

It is not uncommon for a face-lift to be done in conjunction with another procedure, most notably a platysmaplasty (neck-lift), and sometimes an eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) or brow-lift (also known as a forehead lift). Other additional procedures to improve the face and neck can include liposuction, the removal of buccal fat pads (in the cheeks), a forehead lift, an autologous fat injection (using one’s own fat to plump up sunken areas of the face), chemical or laser peels, or malar (cheek) and submalar (chin) implants.

The primary aim of a face-lift is to achieve a more youthful facial appearance, especially if signs of aging (loss of fat or muscle tone and skin elasticity) are already in motion. Facial skin that begins to droop or sag can thus be corrected with this cosmetic procedure, with the effects resulting in not only aesthetic improvement but also a self-confidence boost.

A face-lift doesn’t typically correct the quality of a person’s skin. Wrinkles and sun damage may be better off treated with skin-resurfacing or facial filler methods instead. It can, however, tighten loose, hanging skin around the jawline (or ‘jowls’), remove excess skin and fat (especially in the neck and around the chin), as well as remove creases around the nose and mouth. The procedure can also tighten underlying tissues to improve the forehead, brows, eyelids and cheeks.

The correcting of creases, tightening of tissues and removal of skin and fat effectively reshapes the lower half of the face for an improved appearance.

A traditional face-lift procedure can take anywhere between 2 and 5 hours to complete. A person can generally return home the same day (when the procedure is done on an outpatient basis) or stay overnight if monitoring is required for any reason.

Did you know? Face-lifts were more commonly performed on women until recent years. Plastic surgeons have noted a dramatic increase in male candidates of late. Face-lifts are now the fifth most common type of plastic (cosmetic) surgery among men, but still very much a favoured procedure for women too.

NEXT Are there different types of face-lift procedures?

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