Over time, gravity, sun exposure, and the stresses of daily life take their toll on our faces and necks. If you were to compare photographs of yourself from 10 or 15 years ago to photographs of today you would find several differences. You may have deeper and more noticeable creases and wrinkles. Jowls (ugh!) may be present. You may have lost some of the youthful contour of your neck. Also, the once oval shape of your youthful face may have assumed a more squared appearance as the skin loses its elasticity and loosens.
Facelift surgery can alter and minimize these telltale signs of aging, resulting in a refreshed and rejuvenated appearance. In contrast to some of the "wind tunnel" appearance of facelifts so common in the past, a facelift performed by Dr. Kunkel tends to give a more natural, harmonious appearance.
What can a facelift do for me?
Facelifts (technically known as rhytidectomies) revitalize the mid- to lower face and neck. Facelifts are most effective for patients who want to correct:
- Midface sagging
- Deep creases under the eyes
- Deep creases between the nose and mouth (nasolabial folds)
- Sagging areas of skin and fat around the cheeks, jaw line, and neck
What won't a facelift correct?
Facelifts can produce a dramatic improvement in appearance for patients with the problems mentioned above. However, facelifts do not stop the aging process; in time, signs of aging will gradually appear once again.
Facelifts alone will not rejuvenate the brow, eyelids, nose, and some of the midface. Patients who want to improve these areas may consider combining a facelift with a brow lift or eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty).
Facelifts also will not affect deep lines around the mouth. Injectable soft-tissue fillers, facial implants, and skin resurfacing may significantly enhance the effects of a facelift in this area.
Am I a good candidate for a facelift?
The best candidates for rhytidectomy:
- Wish to improve one or more of the signs of aging indicated above
- Are women and men who have lost some of the tone of their facial skin
- Are generally healthy
- Do not smoke
- Have realistic expectations
- Are reasonably close to their ideal body weight
- Are considering a facelift for personal reasons, not because someone else is pressuring them to do so
How is a rhytidectomy performed?
Dr. Kunkel typically performs facelift procedures in a surgery center or hospital. The procedure is accomplished with the patient under general anesthesia and takes about three to four hours. While some patients go home the same day as their surgery, many find it more reassuring and comforting to spend the first night in the surgical facility.
While each facelift is designed with a patient's unique goals in mind, a 'typical' facelift performed by Dr. Kunkel begins with an incision placed just behind the hairline in the temple. This incision curves down just in front of the ear, and sometimes ends at the base of the ear. For patients with more laxity of the facial tissues, the incision may extend into the hairline behind the ear. The 'work' of a facelift is accomplished by lifting and tightening the tissues deep to the skin. The deep tissues are repositioned in an upward and sometimes slightly lateral direction, and this allows some of the redundant skin to be removed. An incision may also be placed beneath the chin to help achieve optimal improvement in the neck.
The facelift incisions are closed with sutures and these are removed in about 5 to 7 days. Scars are hidden in the hairline and the natural contours of the face, and they fade over time. It is not unusual for women to wear their hair pulled back within just weeks of the facelift procedure.
What is the recovery from a facelift like?
One or two drain tubes may be placed beneath the skin to help minimize fluid collections and bruising after the facelift procedure. A gauze dressing is applied. The drains are usually removed in one or two days. Hair may be washed beginning one or two days after facelift surgery (but there is at least one bad hair day after surgery!).
The facial skin feels tight and numb for a few weeks after the facelift. The face is swollen and may have some bruising. Any bruising that occurs resolves in about 3 weeks. The face feels swollen for several weeks but friends and other people usually don’t notice the swelling after about 3 weeks. Many patients return to work in 2 or 3 weeks. Make-up may be worn beginning 10 to 14 days after the facelift procedure.
How long do the effects of a facelift last?
The skin and tissues that remain after a facelift retain the same physiological characteristics they had before the surgery. Because of this, some stretching will occur over time. It is possible that a person may want to have another procedure in five or ten years, but this is not common.
What are the risks of rhytidectomy?
All surgical procedures have some risk. Possible complications of facelift surgery include bleeding, infection, bruising, uneven swelling or discoloration, problems healing (more common in people who have smoked cigarettes or used e-cigarettes), loss of sensation, and localized problems with movement of the face. Dr. Kunkel discusses risks of facelift surgery with his patients at the initial consultation as well as in subsequent visits.
If you would like more information about Facelift or to schedule an appointment, feel free to fill out our convenient contact form or call us directly at (817) 335-5200.