Facial rejuvenation may involve a number of different treatment strategies, but nothing is more effective or longer lasting than a face lift or neck lift (rhytidectomy). As we age, the face loses volume, and the tissues of the face become more lax and descended. This creates the appearance of loose and heavy skin in the lower face and neck and a more square face of aging versus the more conical shape of youth, where volume was greatest in the cheek region and the chin and jaw appeared tapered. Furthermore, excess fat deposits in the neck add to the loss of a defined neck region. Whether addressing changes in the mid portion of the face or the neck, a good surgical correction will restore tissues to their proper location, secure the tissues under the skin, and get rid of excess skin and fat. This helps define the jaw line, achieve a more contoured neck, and give back lost volume in certain areas of the face.
Patients are often familiar with marketed techniques such as the “lunch lift” or the “style lift”. These techniques typically cut out a wedge of skin and then pull the rest of the skin very tightly. This causes poor scarring and less long lasting results. Unlike these shortcut procedures, a properly performed face or neck lift addresses not only the skin, but the stronger tissues under the skin, and can often be achieved through even smaller incisions. In doing so, the correction is performed so that the tissues lie naturally and do not appear overly tightened or unnaturally pulled, but remain in the proper position for many years. A good facial rejuvenation should mean that, once the recovery is complete, friends and family will appreciate an improvement, but a new acquaintance should not know that a procedure has been performed.
Towards this goal, newer techniques employ shorter scars and faster recoveries. The scar is typically hidden in and behind the ear region, allowing most patients to wear their hair short or pulled back with no evidence of a scar. When significant work is necessary on the neck region, a small scar under the chin is used. Many people have scars in this location from having fallen as a child; this scar appears no different, and is usually forgotten by the patient over a short period of time.
Often, patients look at pictures of themselves when younger and notice that they had more upper facial volume in youth. When necessary, adding volume back to the face is performed through the repositioning of the natural tissues of the face. This can be enhanced with the use of fat and stem cell grafting during the time of the procedure.
Facelift and neck lift procedures can be performed under either a “twilight” anesthesia, or a deeper anesthesia, and our anesthesiologists now use a technique called “TIVA” that is very effective in preventing any nausea or vomiting. The recovery time for a face or neck procedure is variable and is patient dependent, but the recovery typically involves very little pain, and most patients are back to normal activities within one to two weeks. Both absorbable and removable sutures are used, and the removable sutures are taken out in the office within one week of the procedure and patients can typically resume strenuous physical activities within two weeks of the procedure.