Facelift – Rhytidectomy
Surgical restoration of the jaw and neckline with Dr. Courson
Considering a Facelift or Rhytidectomy?
A facelift or rhytidectomy is a surgical procedure that improves visible signs of aging on the face and neck. The loss of youthful contours in the face can be due to a variety of factors, including heredity, sun exposure, diet, environmental factors, and stress. Fortunately, this right kind of facelift can correct specific problem areas that begin to arise on an aging face, resulting in a more youthful, sleeker, and rejuvenated appearance.
Through training and experience, Andy Courson, M.D. is familiar with the signs of aging that gradually start to appear on every face. Symptoms and signs of facial aging can generally be divided into three categories: skin laxity, volume loss, and skin changes. Skin laxity or sagging causes bags under the eyes, creases around the mouth, jowling along the jaw, and excess neck skin. Volume loss is prominent around the brow, mid face or cheek bones, and chin. Skin changes include thinning, discoloration, and fine wrinkles.
During a facelift procedure, the underlying layer of face and neck soft tissues called the SMAS and platysma are repositioned to their former position of youth. The skin is then carefully draped back over the newly repositioned contours of the face and excess skin is trimmed away, resulting in a lifted and more youthful facial appearance. As part of the facelift, fat is removed from the under the chin via suction in a process called liposuction. Additional suture techniques are also used to tighten the underlying soft tissue in order to further enhance the appearance of the neck and jawline. Often times, patients considering a facelift or rhytidectomy will also opt for additional procedures to be performed in conjunction with the surgery, like a brow lift, or eyelid surgery to name a few.
Setting Realistic Expectations
As with any facial plastic surgery procedure, Dr. Courson, and the staff of Houston Center for Facial Plastic Surgery – Kingwood, enjoy educating and informing patients about setting realistic expectations when it comes to having a facelift.
What every patient must consider is that a facelift isn’t going to completely change one’s fundamental appearance, but rather will enhance positive features and enable a more youthful appearance. At the same time, a rhytidectomy will not stop the aging process; though it is a permanent surgical procedure that can turn back time on an aging face. Therefore, instead of looking your age at 65, you may look 55 with a facelift, then look 65 when you turn 75.
After having a facelift, some patients turn to non-surgical treatments and procedures to help maintain their youthful appearance. Dr. Courson and staff recommend treatments like laser skin resurfacing, Botox, and dermal fillers to help delay some aging effects, as well as continue to complement the results of a rhytidectomy surgery.
Patients that may especially be good candidates for a facelift are those who are generally in good health, who don’t have specific medical conditions or life-threatening illnesses that could impair the healing process, those who are non-smokers, and patients who are able to maintain an overall positive outlook with realistic expectations. Many of these considerations are shared during the initial consultation with Dr. Courson.
Planning for Facelift Recovery
During the facelift recovery period, various bandages will be placed around the face to minimize swelling and bruising once the procedure is completed. Immediately after surgery, thin tubes may also be present to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect under the skin, depending on the type and location of facelift performed.
Patients are given specific instructions that may include how to care for the surgical site and drains, medications to apply to the site, and/or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection. Patients will also be informed of specific complications that may arise and what concerns to look for at the surgical site, or in general health, and when to follow up with Dr. Courson.
When instructions are given, patients are encouraged to read them carefully and ask any questions necessary to gain full clarity and understanding of what to do and expect during their recovery time. Every patient recovers differently; however, there are general time periods for healing, and specific guidelines that must be followed in order to obtain the expected results.