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A facelift, also known as a rhytidectomy, can give patients a younger appearance. Aging causes skin to lose its elasticity and begin to sag, leaving the face looking tired with deep wrinkles, hollow cheeks, jowls and loose skin in the lower face and neck.

Facelifts are custom-designed for each individual to achieve the look he or she wants.

Most cosmetic facelift procedures involve skin tightening and removing excess skin and, sometimes, removing fat as well. Unlike the extremely stretched-out appearance of facelifts in the old days, today’s cosmetic surgery techniques leave the patient looking naturally well-rested and younger. 

Who Is a Good Candidate?
A good candidate for a facelift is an adult in good general physical condition who has healthy facial tissue and muscles. Patients should also have realistic goals for improvement of the visible signs of aging on the face and neck. A brow lift and eyelid surgery are often performed in conjunction with a facelift.

As a restorative surgery, a facelift does not change your fundamental appearance and cannot stop the aging process. A facelift can only be performed surgically. Non-surgical rejuvenation treatments cannot achieve the same results but may help delay the time at which a facelift becomes appropriate and complement the results of surgery. If you are not sure whether a facelift is appropriate, talk to your cosmetic surgeon about non-surgical treatments.

What to Expect
Depending on the degree of change you’d like to see, your rhytidectomy surgery choices include a traditional facelift, limited incision facelift or a neck lift. Incision sites, once healed, are well concealed within the hairline and in the face’s natural contours.

Traditional Facelift
A traditional facelift incision starts at the temples, continues around the ear and ends at the lower scalp. Fat and tissue may be repositioned or removed from the face, jowls and neck. Usually the deeper layers of the face and muscles are also lifted and excess skin trimmed away.

Limited Incision
A facelift with limited incision uses shorter incisions at the temples, continuing around the ear. Sometimes incisions within the lower eyelids or upper lip are also used.

Neck Lift
For people with sagging jowls, loose neck skin and fat under the chin, a neck lift can be the answer. The incision for a neck lift often begins in front of the ear lobe and warps beneath the ear to end in the lower scalp.

Initially after surgery, a bandage could be gently placed around your face to minimize swelling and bruising. A small, thin tube (drain) may be temporarily placed under the skin to remove any excess blood or fluid that may collect under the skin. It may take several months for swelling to fully dissipate and up to six months for the incision lines to mature.

Recovery Information
You will be given specific instructions after plastic surgery, including:

  • How to care for the surgical site
  • Medications to apply or take orally
  • Specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health
  • When to follow up with your surgeon

For more information about this cosmetic procedure, visit The American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Find a Doctor
To locate a board-certified cosmetic surgeon affiliated with Gwinnett Medical Center–Duluth, search the online physician database or call 678-312-5000.