Aging of the face is inevitable, over time the skin begins to loosen on the face and neck. Crow’s feet appear at the corners of the eyes. Fine forehead lines become creases and then, gradually, deeper folds. The jawline softens into jowls, and beneath the chin, another chin or vertical folds appear at the front of the neck. Heredity, personal habits, the pull of gravity, and sun exposure contribute to the aging of the face. As the aging population grows, it is obvious why rhytidectomy has become the third most desired facial plastic surgical procedure.
Understanding the Procedure
Your surgeon begins the incision in the area of the temple hair, just above and in front of the ear. Next it continues under the earlobe and follows the back of the ear and blends into the hairline. The skin is gently lifted as the surgeon repositions and tightens the underlying muscle and connective tissue. Some fat may be removed, as well as excess skin. For men, the incision is aligned to accommodate the natural beard lines. In all cases, the incisions are placed where they will fall in a natural crease of the skin for camouflage. In all cases, the incisions are placed where they will fall in a natural crease of the skin for camouflage. After trimming the excess skin, the surgeon closes the incisions with fine sutures and/or metal clips. This will permit precise surgery and avoid shaving hair in the incision sites. Depending on the extent of the surgery, the process can take from two to four hours. When the procedure is performed with a combination of mild sedatives, local anesthesia, and a mild intravenous anesthesia (“twilight sleep”), the patient will experience little discomfort. Some surgeons will prefer general anesthesia for their facelifts. Following the surgery, the surgeon will apply a dressing to protect the entire area where the incisions have been made. Actual placement of incisions varies from patient to patient and is dependent on the surgeon’s judgment for that patient.