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|Rhytidectomy - Facelift|
Facelift cosmetic surgery for a more youthful appearance
The facelift, or rhytidectomy, is a particularly well-known and utterly tried and tested cosmetic surgery procedure that reverses the visible signs of ageing by removing slack skin from the face and neck to provide you with a refreshed, revitalised, younger-looking appearance.
Amazingly, facelift plastic surgery was being undertaken as long ago as the turn of the 20th century – although then it was all rather secretive. It wasn’t until the 1960s, when rhytidectomies were offered by surgeons in ordinary hospitals, that their popularity really took off. The most common rhytidectomy technique performed today is the SMAS facelift, developed in the 1970s by a Swedish surgeon called Tord Skoog. He showed that if the muscles of the face and neck could be tightened as well as simply removing excess skin, a facelift would look better and last longer. Thanks to advances such as this, facelifts have become much more natural-looking, unlike the ‘caught in a wind tunnel’ effect of years gone by!
What can facelift cosmetic surgery do for you?
As we age the skin and muscles of the face become weaker and slacker. Other factors, such as genetics and lifestyle, also determine the appearance of our ageing faces. A facelift can reverse this trend, often making the patient look around ten years younger. Optimum results are usually gained from people experiencing the early signs of ageing, but whose skin is still fairly elastic. People with a clearly defined face, with good bone structure, are also good candidates for a rhytidectomy.
One woman in her 40s said after her rhytidectomy, “I have seen all those women in Hollywood with rigid facial expressions that look like their face will tear if they blink or close their mouth, and thought that a facelift would never be worth it. However, when I saw what surgeons can do nowadays, I completely changed my mind. I had my facelift operation a year ago and I don’t look ‘weird’ at all, just younger and more full of life.”
There are several alternative approaches to facelift plastic surgery. In general they all involve ‘pulling back’ the facial skin to make the face tighter and smoother. There will be permanent scarring after the operation, though it will usually be hidden by your hair. To get an impression of what a facelift could do for you, put your hands in front of your ears and gently pull back the skin of your face. As you will see, wrinkles disappear and cheekbones reappear!
You should be aware that, while a facelift will make you seem younger, it will not raise sagging eyebrows, remove deep frown lines in the forehead, change your upper or lower eyelids or remove wrinkles from around the mouth. Also, of course, you will continue to age after your facelift, so new facial sagging will gradually occur (which can be delayed by avoiding excessive sun exposure, smoking and weight loss).
Undergoing a rhytidectomy
Generally, people use the term ‘facelift’ to refer to a cosmetic procedure where the surgeon releases the skin on the face by making an incision in the hairline from the temple, round and behind the ear and into the hairline. The skin is then pulled up and backwards into its new position. Any excess skin or fat is removed, the incisions are closed with stitches and a dressing is applied to protect the area where the cuts were made. More recent developments have incorporated endoscopic techniques where the surgeon makes several small cuts and inserts an endoscope (a thin, flexible tube with a camera attached to the end) so that the tissue beneath the skin can be viewed on a monitor.
A rhytidectomy is a significant operation, so you will have to stay in hospital overnight following the procedure and take two weeks off work to recouperate. The sutures will be removed within 1-2 weeks. It is advisable to avoid anything that could irritate the sutures, such as shampooing the hair (use baby shampoo instead), using hair styling products, facials cleansing masks etc. and the sun (use high factor sun block for 6 weeks following the operation). Other things worth remembering to minimise the swelling are to keep your head elevated and avoid bending for a couple of days.
As one woman commented after her facelift, “I was pleasantly surprised to find that the small degree of pain I experienced after my facelift was overcome with occassional painkillers. There was some swelling and bruising as well, and my surgeon advised me to use a cold compress. I used a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel, which seemed to work.”
There is always some degree of risk associated with surgery, which the plastic surgeon will explain during the consultation. The risks associated with facelifts include temporary nerve damage (rarely permanent), a slightly asymetric face, hair loss, scarring and rough skin. As with all cosmetic surgery, it is essential to follow the advice of your practitioner after the procedure. This will make the outcome as successful as possible and reduce the risk of complications. Thousands of rhytidectomies are carried out each year. When performed by a qualified plastic surgeon, and when the patient complies with all pre and post operation advice, the results are typically successful.
Who should carry out a rhytidectomy?
Only fully trained and qualified surgeons should perform a facelift or rhytidectomy operation. The surgeon should possess the relevant expertise after experience operating in an establishment registered with the Healthcare Commission (in the UK). When choosing a cosmetic surgeon to carry out the procedure, personal recommendation is helpful, however, because surgeons specialise in one particular area, a recommendation from a friend after a successful tummy tuck doesn’t mean the surgeon will be the right choice to perform a facelift!
The cost of a rhytidectomy is in the region of £4,000 to £6,000. If a facelift is something that you are considering, you can discuss all of the issues mentioned here in greater depth during a consultation with a cosmetic surgeon.
Related Facelift Information
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