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Facelift - Rhytidectomy

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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 the neck.

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.

The surgery

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 your surgery.

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.

Patient Testimonials

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.