Facelift (Rhytidectomy)

Rhytidectomy
One of the most requested plastic surgery procedures is a rhytidectomy, or facelift. Often performed in conjunction with other surgeries, including blepharoplasty (eye surgery) and mentoplasty (chin augmentation), a facelift can shave years off of one’s appearance and provide a fresh, rejuvenated look.

For those who are concerned with facial aging but are hesitant to undergo a full facelift, a mid facelift or lower facelift may be a perfect substitution. Mid facelifts and lower facelifts are very effective in targeting early signs of aging.

Doctor Frank J. Scaccia specializes in facial plastic surgery. Using state-of-the-art equipment and the latest medical techniques, Dr. Scaccia is able to improve his patients’ appearances and correct imperfections caused by heredity and aging.

Facelifts and the aging process
For many, facial appearance is directly associated with identity. Premature facial aging can make a person feel self-conscious, as if they’ve lost their identity.

The face is composed of layers of skin, muscle and fat that lie above the facial bones. This composition provides the overall structure of the face. As people age, their skin loses resiliency. The appearance of youthfulness is lost due to weakened facial tissue.

Factors including heredity, personal habits, gravity and sun exposure all affect facial aging. Over exposure to the sun may damage the texture of the skin and break down the collagen and elastin – resulting in saggy skin folds. Aging also causes a loss of the structural fat that typically provides the face with a soft, rounded appearance. Fat depletion causes sagging cheeks, hollow areas beneath the eyes and deep folds and wrinkles. Taut jaw lines often sag and soften into jowls.

Facial plastic surgery candidates
All plastic surgery, rhytidectomies included, has limitations based on medical technology and each patient’s physiology. The best facelift candidates are in good health and have realistic expectations.

Before surgery, the surgeon will take photographs of the surgical site to study the patient’s face. Individual risks, such as high blood pressure, blood clotting deficiencies, a history of smoking and a tendency to scar are examined.

The patient’s medical history, as well as psychological and emotional history is considered by the physician when weighing the pros and cons of a rhytidectomy.

It is imperative to note that facelifts will not halt the aging process.

Choosing between a forehead lift, mid facelift and lower facelift procedure
Unlike a full facelift, lifting specific sections can be advantageous because it minimizes scarring and discomfort and promotes a gradual, more natural-looking improvement in appearance. So, how does one choose a procedure?

Aging that occurs in the upper portion of the face, such as deep forehead wrinkles, is best treated with a forehead lift. Hollow, tired eyes and sagging cheeks can be corrected with a mid facelift. Jowls and excess skin that ages the lower portion of the face can be treated with a lower facelift. As with all procedures, experienced cosmetic physicians can recommend the best course of action.

The mid face lift
A mid facelift is designed to rejuvenate the facial tissue surrounding the cheeks, eyes and nose. During a mid facelift, this tissue is tightened to restore the firmness and roundness associated with youth. Many plastic surgeons recommend that a mid facelift should be performed alongside blepharoplasty to achieve optimal results, such as removing fatty deposits or excess facial tissue.

A mid facelift lasts approximately one and a half hours depending upon the patient and the extent of the surgery. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia. Modern technology allows doctors to perform mid facelifts with minimal incisions and scarring. Incisions are typically made along the lash line or inside the eyelid and closed up with absorbable sutures.

The lower facelift
Facial aging that occurs in the lower portions of the face is the most pronounced. Frown lines, jowls, excess skin and banding around the neck can be corrected through a lower facelift.

Lower facelifts last approximately three hours and are performed under general anesthesia. Typically, an incision is made along the temple hairline, around the perimeter of the ear and through the hairline toward the nape of the neck. For men, the incision is camouflaged along the natural beard line. Modern techniques allow the doctor to perform a facelift without shaving hair along the incision site. The incision gives the doctor access to the SMAS (superficial muscular aponeurotic system), an area of muscle and connective tissue that can be manipulated and tightened in order to rejuvenate the lower portion of the face.

Optimal results may be achieved when a neck lift is performed in addition to a lower facelift. Physicians may tighten the muscles along the neck or remove excess skin and fatty tissue to restore youth to the neck area.

Once the doctor is satisfied with the adjustments, the skin is repositioned on the face and closed with non-absorbable sutures.

Face lift recovery
As with any cosmetic surgical procedure, swelling, discomfort and bruising are inevitable, but will subside within a few weeks. Although complications with a rhytidectomy are rare, proper steps should be taken to minimize the chance for infection.

Loose bandages or compression wraps may be used to promote healing. If a surgical drain is used, it will most likely be removed the day after surgery. Utilizing a cold compress is advisable to minimize swelling. It is also important to keep the head elevated when lying down. Non-absorbable sutures are removed seven to ten days following surgery. Most patients find that they are able to go back to work in one to two weeks, but strenuous activity, including exercise and heavy lifting should be avoided for up to three weeks.

Scars are unavoidable, but with proper maintenance and the passage of time, they will fade and become less noticeable.

Mid face lift and lower facelift results
Rhytidectomy results become readily apparent within two weeks of surgery. As they recover, rhytidectomy patients are pleased with their firmer, smoother skin. An improved facial contour and overall youthful appearance help patients feel younger, more refreshed and often boosts their self confidence.

Riverside Facial Plastic Surgery and Sinus Center
Dr. Frank J. Scaccia is the medical director of Riverside Facial Plastic Surgery and Sinus Center. The award-winning physician has the unique distinction of being a Dual Board Certified facial plastic surgeon and otolaryngologist. The doctor specializes in a variety of cosmetic surgery procedures designed to restore youthfulness and create a more attractive facial contour.

Located in Red Bank, New Jersey, the center is accredited by JCAHO (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) and has a federally approved ambulatory outpatient surgical suite.

Costs of facelift surgery
The costs of rhytidectomy can only be ascertained after an in-depth, personal consultation with Dr. Scaccia. Insurance will generally not cover surgery that is performed for cosmetic reasons, however surgery intended to correct genetic deformities or injuries may be reimbursable to a certain extent. It is the patient’s responsibility to check with their insurance carrier before pursuing any surgical procedures.

Please contact the staff at Riverside Facial Plastic Surgery and Sinus Center about scheduling a consultation.