Face Lift | Neck Lift (Rhytidectomy)
The facelift remains the only viable option in restoring a youthful appearance to the lower face and neck. A facelift smoothes and firms the skin of the face and neck to restore a more rested and youthful appearance. Exposure to the sun, stress, gravity, and the natural aging process cause the skin to sag and loosen around the face, neck and jaw line. Though change is gradual, wrinkles and other signs of aging often make a person look older than they feel. A facelift smoothes the skin of the face and neck and eliminates excess fat. At our Kaneohe office, facelifts are often performed in combination with other procedures for maximum result.
Reasons for Considering a Facelift
- Sagging skin, muscles, and fat in the face and neck
- Excess skin and fat on the neck
- Sagging jaw line
- Crease lines along the nose, mouth, and chin
Face Lift Procedure
At our Oahu office, a facelift involves making an incision just inside the hairline to follow the contour from in front of the ear, under the earlobe to the lower scalp. Skin and fat tissue are separated, the skin is tightened, and excess is removed. Tiny, ultra-small stitches are used to close incisions and reduce chances of scarring. A facelift takes two hours or longer, depending upon whether additional cosmetic procedures are done at the same time. There are several different facelift techniques from which to choose. Consult with Dr. Watkins to decide which method is best for you.
The Best Candidates for a Facelift
The best candidate for a facelift is a man or woman whose face and neck have begun to sag, but whose skin still has some elasticity and whose bone structure is strong and well-defined. Most patients are in their forties to sixties, but facelifts can be done successfully on people in their seventies or eighties as well. A facelift can make you look younger and fresher, and it may enhance your self- confidence in the process.
All Surgery Carries Some Uncertainty and Risk
Be sure to tell Dr. Watkins if you smoke or are taking any drugs or medications, especially aspirin or other drugs that affect clotting. Don’t hesitate to ask Dr. Watkins any questions you may have, especially those regarding your expectations and concerns about the results.
Preparing for Your Surgery
Carefully follow your pre-op instructions to help your surgery go more smoothly. If you smoke, it’s especially important to stop at least a week or two before and after surgery; smoking inhibits blood flow to the skin, and can interfere with the healing of your incision areas. You should arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery and to help you out for a day or two if needed.
Where Your Surgery Will Be Performed
Your facelift will be performed in our surgeon’s office-based outpatient surgical facility. An Anesthesiologist may be present to monitor you throughout surgery with all the state-of-the-art equipment necessary for your procedure.
Types of Anesthesia
Most Facelifts are performed under local anesthesia, combined with a sedative to make you drowsy. Most patients express a painless experience and do not remember anything from their surgery.
A facelift usually takes several hours or somewhat longer if you’re having more than one procedure done. Incisions usually begin above the hairline at the temples, extend just inside the cartilage at the front of the ear, and continue behnd the earlobe of the lower scalp. If the neck needs work, a small incision may also be made under the chin. Dr. Watkins then tightens the underlying muscle and membrane, pulls the skin back, and removes the excess. Stitches secure the layers of tissue and close the incisions. Following surgery, a small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin behind your ear to drain any fluid that might collect there. The surgeon may also wrap your head loosely in bandages to minimize bruising and swelling.
After Your Surgery
Your doctor may tell you to keep your head elevated and as still as possible for a couple of days after surgery, to keep the swelling down. If you’ve had a drainage tube inserted, it will be removed one or two days after surgery. Bandages, when used, are usually removed after one to five days. Don’t be surprised at the pale, bruised, and puffy face you see. Just keep in mind that in a few weeks you’ll be looking normal. Most of your stitches will be removed after about five days.
Getting Back to Normal
You should be up and about in a day or two, but plan on taking it easy for the first week after surgery. Avoid strenuous activity, including sex and heavy housework, for at least two weeks. (Walking and mild stretching are fine). Avoid alcohol, steam baths, and saunas for several months. Above all, get plenty of rest and allow your body to spend its energy on healing. Most patients are back at work about ten days to two weeks after surgery.
The end result can leave you looking 10 to 15 years younger.