Facelift Surgery

Who is a Candidate for a Facelift?

Facelift surgery, or a rhytidectomy, is designed to restore a more youthful appearance by removing major wrinkles and sagging skin. The surgical procedure involves tightening of the facial and neck muscles as well as removing excess skin.

Children and young adults have smooth, round faces due to evenly distributed fatty tissues in facial contours. As we age – and as a result of sun exposure and genetic predisposition – skin naturally begins to wrinkle and sag. These issues are most pronounced in the folds of the chin, jawline, and neck. Facial volume is also lost or unevenly distributed.

Benefits of Getting a Facelift

A facelift not only improves facial appearance, it has a dramatic effect on the neck, enhancing facial contour and profile. Results may vary based on skin quality and anatomy. A refreshed look is the ultimate goal.

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Before Facelift Surgery

Dr. Cimino will evaluate your medical history to determine your overall health. He will also discuss how your face may look and what you can expect as a result of surgery. Our goal is to create a natural appearance that is pleasing to you. Before and after photographs will reveal surgical results and what the surgery accomplished.

Avoid drugs containing aspirin for several weeks prior to surgery to minimize excess bleeding. Before surgery, you may be required to take antibiotics to prevent infection and you may be instructed to shampoo your hair the night before your procedure.

About The Facelift Procedure

Facelifts are performed in outpatient surgical centers or in an accredited physician’s operating room (click here to see Chicago Surgical Specialists new state-of-the-art operating suite). Local anesthesia with intravenous sedation is a commonly used option. General anesthesia is used in select cases.

The surgeon will make incisions inside the hairline at the temple, in front of the ear, then around the earlobe and behind the ear, ending at the scalp area. During the surgery, excess skin is removed, and sagging muscles and connective tissues are tightened. In some cases, fatty deposits are removed from beneath the chin and neck. Incisions are closed with small sutures.

In most cases, volume can be restored to aesthetic areas of the face with fat transfer using the patient’s own fat. Liposuction is used to take fat from the patient’s abdomen, which is then injected into select regions of the face to create more youthful contours.

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Home Care Instructions After Having A Facelift

After your surgery, you must have someone drive you home and stay with you for the first 24 hours. Initially you will have a large dressing wrapped around your head. You may have surgical drains attached to bulbs hanging at your neck. These will be removed in approximately 24 hours. Stitches around the ears will be loosened or removed in a few days. The scalp sutures will be removed in seven to ten days.

To minimize scarring, the doctor may remove your sutures in stages. Scarring fades quickly. Swelling and discoloration decrease within two weeks. Tightness in your face will be present for several weeks, and there may be slight changes in your hair pattern around the incision.

We recommend that you avoid the sun for several weeks after surgery.

Complications following a facelift are rare. These include bleeding, infection, loss of skin behind the ears, facial nerve injury, discoloration of the skin, numbness, asymmetry, and scarring (infection is rare due to the large blood supply to the face). As mentioned, the risk of bleeding is greater if you take aspirin or blood thinners within two weeks of the surgery. By following pre- and post-operative instructions, you will minimize potential problems.

Facelift Recovery: What to Expect

In the weeks following surgery, the facial skin and area around the ear may be numb. There may also be some temporary discoloration as healing begins, which may take a few months to disappear. Occasionally, the facial nerve is bruised during surgery, resulting in temporary loss of function or sensation. However, permanent damage to the facial nerve is rare.

The healing process is gradual, so you will not notice final results for up to six months. A single procedure often achieves the desired results. Most patients who have facelifts are pleased with their new, more youthful appearance.