What is a facelift?
A facelift, also called a rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure that improves the appearance of the face and neck by tightening sagging tissues and removing excess skin. These are some signs of aging that a facelift can correct:
- A double chin or “turkey neck” caused by excess fat or loose skin
- A jowly appearance in the cheeks and jaw
- Sagging facial skin and fat
A facelift addresses the lower two-thirds of the face — mainly the cheeks and jawline. Many people elect to have a facelift and a neck lift at the same time to tighten neck tissues and muscles. If you also want to correct signs of aging around your eyes and forehead, you might consider having a brow lift or eyelid lift at the same time as your facelift.
How a facelift works
A facelift can be performed under general anesthesia, and a mini-facelift can sometimes be performed under sedation (“twilight anesthesia”). Incisions hidden in front of the ears and hairline allow your surgeon to tighten the facial skin and tissues. A second incision under the chin might be necessary to tighten the neck. Excess fat can be removed (possibly including liposuction of the jowls and neck) at the same time the connective tissue is tightened. This skin is then gently re-draped, and excess skin is removed.
How long does it take to recover from a facelift?
Bruising and swelling after a facelift usually last about 10 days to two weeks, and most people can return to work within one to two weeks — but as with every surgery, recovery is highly individual. During your consultation, your surgeon will talk with you about what to expect.