As people age, the effects of gravity, exposure to the sun,
and the stresses of daily life can be seen in their faces. Deep creases form between the
nose and mouth; the jawline grows slack and jowly; folds and fat deposits appear around
A facelift or rhytidectomy can't stop this aging process. What it can do is improve the
most visible signs of aging by removing excess fat, tightening underlying muscles, and
redraping the skin of your face and neck. A facelift can be done alone, or in conjunction
with other procedures such as a forehead lift, eyelid surgery, or nose reshaping.
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. Most patients
are in their forties to sixties, but facelifts can be done successfully on people in their
seventies or eighties.
A facelift can make you look younger and fresher, and it may enhance your self- confidence
in the process. But it can't give you a totally different look, nor can it restore the
health and vitality of your youth. Before you decide to have surgery, think carefully
about your expectations.
Preparing for your surgery
Dr. Fisher will give you specific instructions on how to
prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or
avoiding certain vitamins and medications. Carefully following these instructions will
help your surgery go more smoothly. If you smoke, it's especially important to stop at
least two weeks before and after surgery; smoking inhibits blood flow to the skin, and can
interfere with the healing of your incision areas. Be sure to inform Dr. Fisher if you
have any allergies; if you're taking any vitamins, medications (prescription or
over-the-counter), or other drugs.
If your hair is very short, you might want to let it grow out
before surgery, so that it's long enough to hide the scars while they heal.
A facelift usually takes 4-6 hours depending on the extent of
the surgery. Incisions usually begin above the hairline at the temples, extend in a
natural line in front of the ear (or just inside the cartilage at the front of the ear),
and continue behind the earlobe to the lower scalp. If the neck needs work, a small
incision may also be made under the chin.
After your surgery
After you have recovered from the anesthesia,
you will be ready to go home. Dr. Fisher will provide you with specific instructions and
give you a instruction sheet to follow. You will be instructed to keep your head elevated
for several days. Your sutures are generally removed between 5 and 10 days following
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. Be especially gentle with your face and
hair, since your skin will be both tender and numb, and may not respond normally at first.
You should be able to return to mild activities (work) within 7-10 days.
For the first several weeks you can expect to have a tight
feel to your face and neck This will slowly dissipate as you skin stretches slightly and
you become more comfortable with the changes from your surgery.
Dr. Fisher will instruct you to 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 at least 4-6 weeks. You will also be instructed to stay out of
the sun for at least a month. Above all, get plenty of rest and allow your body to spend
its energy on healing.
Your new look
You'll have some scars from your facelift, but they're
usually hidden by your hair or in the natural creases of your face and ears. In any case,
they'll fade within time and should be scarcely visible.
Having a facelift doesn't stop the clock. Your face will continue to age with time, and
you may want to repeat the procedure seven to ten years down the line. But in another
sense, the effects of even one facelift are lasting; years later, you'll continue to look
better than if you'd never had a facelift at all.
I knew that I needed a facelift when I
started noticing that my skin was not a s taught as it used to be and my
wrinkles were starting to show more. My friends looked great after their
facelifts, so I decided to have cosmetic surgery too.This has been the best thing I have done for myself.
It has been a few years now and Iím stilled thrilled with the results. I
wouldnít hesitate to recommend cosmetic surgery to anyone that is thinking they
might benefit from a facelift. Joan T.
No, I donít feel having a facelift made me look like a different person at all.
It just made me feel a whole lot better about my appearance by helping create
the youthful look I used to have. Having the surgery not only made my face look
years younger, it also gave me a much more refreshed appearance. I donít look so
tired any more, I still look like the same person, only younger. Itís been a
tremendous boost to my confidence and self esteem. Annie G.