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FaceLift Overview

A facelift, or rhytidectomy, is a transformative cosmetic surgery aimed at revitalizing facial appearance and reversing advanced signs of aging. Surgical techniques include: elevating and repositioning the facial tissue and muscles around the eyes, cheeks, jowls, and neck. Facelift plastic surgery comes in various forms, each distinguished by the incisions made and the specific tissues targeted. Options range from less invasive, endoscopic techniques to more comprehensive methods like the deep-plane facelift.

Who gets facelifts?

Achieving a natural youthful appearance hinges on maintaining the integrity of normal anatomy. The primary areas targeted by a facelift, each crucial for rejuvenation, are outlined below.

Sagging Jowls

Jowls are the tissue that accumulates along the sides of the jawline. Sagging skin in this area is due to the ongoing stretching and downward pull on the lower cheek fat pads and facial muscles. By repositioning the deeper structures of the lower face, tissue can be restored to a more natural placement. This adjustment results in a more aesthetically pleasing, rounded facial contour.

(Turkey) Neck

Neck banding, or turkey neck, results from the repeated tightening of neck muscles, leading to vertical folds of tissue on each side of the neck. By bringing these bands together, a smooth, continuous line can be formed under the chin, enhancing the neck’s appearance and contributing to a more youthful and refined profile.

Double Chin

Submental lipolysis, or double chin, is characterized by fat accumulation in the neck and under the chin. This can be a genetic trait inherited from family members or may develop with weight fluctuations and aging. The removal of this fat, coupled with lateral tightening of the neck skin, significantly enhances this area’s appearance. For younger patients, liposuction alone may suffice to remove the fat and refine the contour under the chin.Non-surgical options that remove stubborn fat under the chin, like kybella, are also available.

Sagging Cheeks

Sagging cheeks is observed when the soft tissue in the mid-face area drops, leading to a flattening of the cheeks and resulting in skin folds on the lateral face. Corrective action involves lifting this tissue upwards, which restores the cheeks to a fuller, more youthful appearance. In some cases, cheek implants might also be utilized to further enhance volume in this area.

Deep Nasolabial Folds

Nasolabial folds are the pronounced lines that run from the sides of the nose down to the corners of the mouth. They develop as gravity pulls the cheek tissue downwards towards the mouth. To mitigate these visible signs of aging, repositioning the deeper facial tissues upward and backward can significantly smooth out this area. Additionally, fillers can be employed to further soften these folds, enhancing the overall appearance by creating a more seamless transition between the cheeks and the lower face.

What are the different types of facelift surgeries?

Deep-Plane Facelift

This rhytidectomy technique is a standard facelift procedure characterized by strategically placed incisions around the ear to maintain the integrity of normal anatomy. These incisions extend around the back of the ear and seamlessly blend into the hairline, ensuring minimal visibility. This method focuses on adjusting and tightening the face’s deeper tissues rather than merely stretching the skin surface.

By removing excess skin and carefully draping the remaining skin without tension, this technique avoids the unnatural, “windblown” appearance. It often includes neck liposuction to refine the jawline and neck contour further. Additionally, a discreet incision may be made under the chin to tighten the neck muscles, enhancing the overall rejuvenation effect.

Mini – Facelift

A mini – facelift is a tailored cosmetic surgery aimed at mitigating the visible effects of aging, particularly around the mid-face region including the jowls and cheeks. This surgical procedure is less invasive than a deep-plane facelift, typically involving fewer incisions and a shorter recovery period. Despite being focused primarily on the mid-face, a mini – facelift still achieves natural and discreet enhancements, making it an appealing option for those seeking subtle but impactful improvements and less recovery time.

Short-Scar Facelift

This procedure shares many similarities with the deep-plane facelift but differs in that the incision behind the ear does not extend into the hairline. It’s particularly well-suited for patients who have minimal laxity in the neck area. Choosing the right candidates is crucial; those who are not ideal for this procedure might experience visible folds of skin behind the ears and on the lateral neck, although these may gradually diminish over time.

Endoscopic Facelift

Employing slender tubes equipped with high-definition cameras allows for smaller incisions, resulting in minimal scarring while still offering dramatic facial enhancements. This technique specifically addresses problem areas, notably under the neck and around the nasolabial folds.

Skin Lift

In cases where the facial structures maintain a good position with excess facial skin, (particularly evident when lying down) a conservative approach to skin removal can effectively tighten these areas. This technique proves beneficial for eliminating scars from previous facelifts and can conveniently be carried out in an office setting using local anesthesia.

Understanding Facelift Surgery

The Use Of Anesthesia

The initial phase of every facelift treatment involves the careful application of suitable anesthesia by your care team. Traditional facelifts often require general anesthesia due to their extensive duration, which can span up to six hours. In contrast, for those preferring to sidestep general anesthesia, mini facelifts offer a viable alternative, utilizing local anesthesia combined with sedation.

Handling Facial Tissues

Following the anesthesia, the next step is the precise creation of the incision, tailored to the specific cosmetic procedure you’ve opted for.

For those undergoing traditional or deep-plane facelifts aimed at tightening loose skin and rejuvenating the facial structure, plastic surgeons utilize a comprehensive incision. This begins along the hairline at the temples, curves around the front of the ears, and extends down to the lower scalp, ensuring a seamless blend with natural contours. Conversely, a mini facelift, which targets less extensive areas of loose skin, requires a more concise incision. This smaller cut is strategically placed on each side of the face, designed to follow the natural lines of your ear and hairline, minimizing visibility and optimizing cosmetic enhancement.

Handling Skin Laxity

Once the foundational structures are optimally aligned, the skin is carefully repositioned, following its natural contours, and any excess is precisely trimmed. This technique not only softens deep creases but also enhances the skin’s adherence to its natural creases, achieving your aesthetic goals by promoting a smoother, more youthful appearance.

Skin Closures

In the final step, cosmetic surgeons skillfully close the incisions using sutures that may either be traditional, dissolvable, or special skin adhesives. Regardless of the facelift technique employed, special attention is always given to ensuring incisions are discreetly placed to minimize the appearance of scars and to blend seamlessly with the natural lines of your skin. This meticulous approach not only addresses lax skin but also carefully considers the prevention of potential complications, prioritizing a smooth and natural-looking enhancement.

Complimentary Cosmetic Treatments

Here is a list of facial surgeries that can be performed concurrently with a facelift, depending on individual needs and goals:

  • Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty): To remove excess skin and fat from the upper and lower eyelids, improving tired-looking eyes.
  • Brow Lift: To lift sagging eyebrows and reduce forehead wrinkles.
  • Neck Lift: To address issues in the neck area, such as excess skin or fat, and muscle banding.
  • Fat Transfer: To add volume to the face by transferring fat from another part of the body.
  • Laser Resurfacing: To improve skin texture and tone while reducing fine lines, wrinkles, and scars.
  • Dermal Fillers: To restore facial volume loss and diminish lines and wrinkles.
  • Rhinoplasty: To reshape or resize the nose for a more harmonious facial balance.
  • Chin Augmentation: To improve the proportion of the face by enhancing the chin’s contour.
  • Cheek implants: To add definition to the upper face and subtle tightening of the skin below and lateral to the eyes.

What Are The Risks Associated With A Facelift?

Like any surgical procedure, facelift surgery carries some risks. Although these complications are infrequent, it’s crucial to be aware of potential issues after getting plastic surgery, including:

  • Infection: A risk associated with any surgery, which can usually be managed with antibiotics.
  • Adverse Reaction to Anesthesia: Sensitivities or reactions to anesthesia can occur, though pre-surgical assessments aim to minimize this risk.
  • Hematoma or Seroma: The accumulation of blood (hematoma) or fluid (seroma) under the skin, which may require drainage.
  • Nerve Injury: This could lead to temporary or permanent numbness or muscle weakness in the face.
  • Poor Healing: Certain factors, like smoking, can impede the healing process.
  • Scarring: Although incisions are typically placed in inconspicuous locations, there is a risk of visible scarring.
  • Hair Loss: Hair around the incision sites may temporarily thin or fall out.
  • Skin Discoloration: Changes in skin color may occur but are usually temporary.
  • Skin Irregularities or Contour Irregularities: Adjustments or revisions might be necessary.
  • Unsatisfactory Results: In some cases, the outcome may not meet the patient’s expectations, necessitating further surgery.

It’s essential to have a comprehensive discussion With Dr. Mourad about the risks of plastic surgery before deciding on facelift. Dr. Mourad will evaluate if you’re a suitable candidate for the procedure and how to minimize surgical risks during your consultation.

What Is Rhytidectomy Recovery Like?

Following the procedure, Dr. Mourad applies a gentle pressure dressing, which he will remove the next day either at his office or your hotel. Dr. Mourad dedicates extra effort during surgery to meticulously manage bleeding, thus eliminating the need for drains and the associated discomfort during their removal. To ensure a comfortable recovery, you’ll spend the night in a nearby hotel with a caretaker available to assist with your needs, allowing you to rest and recover in peace.

Prescription pain medication will be provided, though most patients find they need only one dose before comfortably switching to Tylenol. It’s common to feel a significant tightness in the neck area for the initial few weeks after surgery, an indicator of a successful procedure. Bruising and swelling are typical around the neck and lateral face, beginning to subside within a few days.

While most of the swelling diminishes within a couple of weeks, you may notice subtle facial changes continuing to evolve over a year or more. Follow-up visits are scheduled for one week post-surgery and thereafter as necessary to monitor your healing process. To ensure the best possible outcomes, it’s crucial to refrain from strenuous activities for the first three weeks following your surgical facelift.

Find Out Which Facelift Procedure Is Right for You

Dr. Mourad stands out as a distinguished Double-Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon, renowned for his mastery in facial rejuvenation techniques, including facelifts. His profound understanding of facial anatomy, perfected through extensive training, allows him to craft surgical plans that align perfectly with the unique goals and physical characteristics of each patient.

Dr. Mourad excels in delivering results that not only look natural but also complement the inherent beauty of his patients. His empathetic and tailored approach to patient care begins by discussing the specific concerns and desires of his patients, and collaboratively forming tailored treatment strategies. His attention to detail and dedication to ensuring patient contentment have solidified his status as one of the top plastic surgeons in New York City.

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Meet Moustafa Mourad, MD, FACS

Dr. Moustafa Mourad, MD, FACS is a distinguished, New York City based Facial Plastic and Reconstructive surgeon. He holds dual board certifications in Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery by the American Board of Facial Plastic Surgery (ABFPRS), as well as Head & Neck Surgery (ABOTO).... Learn More »