Facelift surgery, also known as rhytidectomy, is a rejuvenating cosmetic surgery that is performed to restore a more youthful look to the face. The facelift is considered the gold standard of comprehensive anti-aging because it addresses several signs of aging in a single surgery for dramatic, long-lasting rejuvenation. Facelift surgery involves tightening the facial and neck muscles and removing excess skin for a smooth and lifted appearance. The procedure can also enhance the contour and profile of the neck, creating a more defined jaw. By choosing a facelift, patients can turn back time and look five to ten years younger while slowing down the rate of future aging. The expert plastic surgeons at the Plastic Surgery Institute of Miami can help patients customize a facelift procedure that suits their individual needs.
What is a Facelift?
Wrinkles are typically one of the first signs of aging people notice, but they are far from the only changes that will occur over time. Sagging skin (also known as ‘skin laxity’), which is caused by the natural loss of collagen and elastin in the skin, begins to soften the jaw and makes the entire face look older. Gravity and time cause the underlying muscles and structures to sag, which can cause pockets of fat to form and create poor contour. Sun exposure, which is a constant concern in Florida, can speed up this process considerably.
A facelift can address all of these issues by lifting and tightening tissues, trimming excess skin, and redistributing facial fat for improved contour. During facelift surgery, the SMAS (superficial muscular aponeurotic system) tissues are accessed beneath the skin and lifted, creating natural-looking, long-lasting lifting results.
A traditional facelift is used to rejuvenate the midface, lower face, and neck. Although many patients still choose this combination, modern plastic surgery is now focused on customization. Each facelift is tailored to the unique needs of the individual, allowing patients to achieve their goals and get the most natural result available. Today, patients have more options than ever and can work with their surgeon to design a plan that suits their individual needs and goals. Sometimes, that might mean combining a facelift with other procedures to address other issues like brown spots or drooping eyelids.
* Each patient is unique and individual results may vary.
Benefits of a Facelift
Although there are many effective minimally-invasive anti-aging procedures available, they typically can’t come close to achieving the dramatic and long-lasting rejuvenation a facelift can provide. Patients enjoy years of facial rejuvenation after a facelift—sometimes for as long as 15 years. While the procedure does not stop aging altogether, it can slow the process down and keep patients looking youthful and energized for years. Some of the specific anti-aging benefits of a facelift include:
- Tighter, smoother skin with fewer wrinkles
- A rested and energized appearance
- Lifted facial tissues with improved contour
Good candidates for rhytidectomy include men and women who have moderate to severe sagging skin and facial wrinkling in the mid and lower face/neck. Because facelift surgery is an invasive procedure requiring extensive healing, patients must be in good health. Certain medical conditions and medications may disqualify candidacy for safety reasons. Smoking can also increase the risks for poor healing and infection, so patients who smoke must be willing to quit well before the surgery and during the recovery period. Patients should also be willing to take care of their skin and protect it from sun exposure following surgery, to help maintain the results.
It is extremely important for facelift candidates to have realistic expectations for the results of the surgery. The surgery can produce incredible results, but it is not the appropriate choice for every patient. Our PSI Miami plastic surgeons help each patient choose the procedure that is right for them. If you are not a good candidate for a facelift, our surgeons will work with you to find the procedure that suits your needs.
What to Expect At Your Facelift Consultation
If you are interested in a facelift, we encourage you to schedule a consultation in our office with one of our experienced, board-certified surgeons. Our expert surgeons believe that communication between surgeon and patient is key for patients to achieve optimal results. That communication starts at the consultation.
During this meeting, you and your surgeon will discuss your goals and expectations for the procedure. Your consultation is also used to ensure you are healthy enough to undergo surgery. You may be asked questions about your health history, and our doctors will go over all your medications with you. Our surgeons’ goals are to ensure your safety and optimize your results, and they will not schedule a facelift if they believe it is not the best choice for a patient.
Patients often find that they feel more confident and youthful after a facelift because they can look in the mirror and feel more like themselves. The natural-looking results of a facelift often give patients a self-esteem boost that helps them to lead happier lives.
Once your candidacy has been evaluated, your surgeon will go over the numerous options for the facelift procedure and suggest a combination of techniques that will address your specific concerns and aging patterns. If you are not a candidate for a facelift, they will suggest other procedures that may be more appropriate for your situation.
Finally, you will have a chance to ask our surgeons any questions you may have. This is a great opportunity to get to know our surgeons and staff and get all the information you need to make a decision about your treatment plan. If you are approved for a facelift, you can then schedule a procedure at a convenient time for you. If you need more time to make a decision, you can schedule the surgery when you have had time to think it over.
A Facelift at PSI Miami
Several weeks prior to the surgery, patients are instructed to avoid drugs that contain aspirin and herbal supplements in order to reduce excessive bleeding. In addition, they may ask patients to shampoo their hair and shave a minimal amount around the temples and ears the night before surgery.
The surgical process for a facelift depends on the goals of the procedure. Typically, patients are given general anesthesia to ensure that no pain is felt during the surgery, but twilight anesthesia is sometimes used instead. Once the anesthesia has been administered, the incisions are made. Both standard and short scar procedures (a less invasive form of the facelift) involve incisions made around the ears and into the hairline. These are hidden as much as possible in the folds of the ear and the hair. A short scar procedure, which uses the less invasive incision, can be used in patients with better skin elasticity and more moderate aging. An additional incision may be made under the chin if the neck tissues require tightening.
Once the incisions have been made, our surgeons will lift and tighten the SMAS deep tissues, which provides long-lasting rejuvenation. Fat may be repositioned or removed as needed, smoothing out facial contours and resolving isolated fat pockets. Finally, the skin is trimmed and tightened to improve contour and resolve sagging skin and wrinkles.
I had heard about him on TV Despierta America, and I have a relative that got surgery with him a year ago. Dr Ghersi, Thank you so much for being such a caring Dr. I look 8 to 10 years younger after the surgery, my facelift has been a success, my husband and kids are very happy with the new me. Thank you for everything and especially for being there to answer all kinds of questions before and after the surgery.
Other procedures may be combined with a facelift for more comprehensive or custom results. Popular add-on procedures include blepharoplasty (eyelid lift), forehead lift (brow lift), fat injections for volume loss, or skin resurfacing for sun-damaged, weathered skin. Some of these procedures can be done at the same time as the facelift procedures, while others might need to wait until the patient has recovered.
After all the desired changes have been made, the incisions are closed, dressings are placed, and the patient is brought into recovery. A traditional facelift typically takes two to three hours to complete but may take up to seven hours if there are other procedures being performed simultaneously. Facelift surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, so patients can be driven home by a friend or family member once they have been cleared to leave.
Recovering from a Facelift
Although rhytidectomy is typically an outpatient procedure, patients may need to stay the night depending on the circumstances. If patients are released the same day, they cannot drive themselves home. It is best if patients can arrange for someone to stay with them for the first few days. Patients should expect some swelling, bruising, and numbness initially, and should sleep with their head elevated to minimize swelling. Drains may be placed during the surgery to prevent fluid accumulation, but these will be removed in approximately 24 hours. Some stitches may be removed in just a few days, and all sutures are typically removed by 7-10 days after surgery.
After the first few days, very light activity can help with circulation. It is important, however, for facelift patients to follow all of their surgeon’s instructions for activity restrictions and post-operative care. Prescribed medications can eliminate much of the expected discomfort during recovery. Patients should expect to take about two to three weeks off from work. It is normal to feel tightness in the face for several weeks and patients may notice small hair pattern changes near the incisions.
Strenuous activities and normal exercise should be postponed for several more weeks after surgery. Patients should wait to resume normal exercise and similar activities until their surgeon has given them the go-ahead. Residual swelling can persist for several months, and the final results should be visible at about six to twelve months post-op.
To evaluate your progress, your surgeon will schedule regular follow-up visits with you in the months after surgery. Contact your surgeon right away if you experience any unusual symptoms between visits or have any questions or concerns.
Although most patients only ever have one facelift surgery and are very happy with the results, a few decide to pursue a revision facelift. The results of a facelift do not last forever since aging continues even after the patient has healed from surgery. A facelift performed by a skilled plastic surgeon can last for up to 15 years, depending on the patient’s lifestyle. Since many first time facelifts are done when individuals are in their 50s or so, it is not uncommon to see second or even third facelifts in patients in their 60s to 80s. Many patients were so happy with their results that they would like to refresh their look and maintain a youthful appearance for many more years.
Other revision patients seek a secondary procedure because they received a poor result from their initial procedure. Regardless of the patient’s reasons for seeking another procedure, it is typically possible to achieve their goals with a revision facelift. The procedure does not need to be identical to the original—it can be designed to meet the patient’s current aesthetic goals.
Our surgeons understand that revision facelifting is often more challenging than primary facelifting. They are experts at resolving complex facial surgical problems and re-establishing a natural yet youthful look in patients who have had a prior procedure.
Related Articles: Learn more about facelift.
How much younger will I look?
Each patient is unique, and the results will vary depending on the individual. Most patients look at least several years younger, with some patients looking up to a decade more youthful. Looking at before-and-after pictures can help you develop realistic expectations and understand what a facelift can accomplish.
What are the potential risks and complications of a facelift?
Just like all surgeries, complications may arise after a facelift. Some of these complications include hematoma, infection, nerve injury, persistent numbness, unfavorable scarring, a poor aesthetic outcome, and negative reactions to anesthesia. The good news is that these complications rarely occur and can often be prevented by choosing the right surgeon and closely following pre- and post-operative instructions. Your surgeon will go over all the risks with you before you decide to move forward with the procedure.
Will people be able to tell I had surgery? Will the results look natural?
After you have healed from surgery, people will notice that you look younger and more rejuvenated. The results should look very natural, so some people may not know what is different about you unless you choose to tell them.
When is the ideal time to get a facelift?
Everyone ages at a different rate. Factors like sun exposure, habits, and genetics all play a role in how quickly a person’s skin begins to deteriorate. The ideal time to get a facelift is when you have moderate to several facial sagging and you would like to get a completely rejuvenated look. Patients frequently have facelift surgery in their 40s, 50s, and 60s.
What is a mini lift?
A mini lift is a type of facelift that is concentrated in a smaller area. It is better for patients that have more specific concerns and is typically better suited to younger patients.
Will there be visible scarring?
All surgery produces scarring, but plastic surgeons are experts at minimizing them. Our surgeons make every effort to conceal incisions in discreet locations to reduce the possibility of visible scarring. Your surgeon can go over the incision pattern with you during your consultation to show you how scars are hidden.
How can I ensure my facelift results last?
Once the healing process is complete, patients can help to maintain their results by continuing with sun protection, avoiding habits like smoking and tanning, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. A good skin care regimen can help patients retain skin quality and elasticity. These measures can help patients maintain good results from a facelift for up to a decade or longer.
Are facelifts for men and women different?
The surgical processes for men and women are essentially the same. Men and women may have different goals for the procedure, but this process of customization is an important part of any facelift.
Does a facelift address the entire face?
A facelift is one of the most comprehensive facial procedures available. However, this procedure is only designed to address the lower two-thirds of the face. For this reason, if you are unhappy with signs of aging in the forehead and eye area, it’s best to combine your facelift with a brow lift and/or eyelid surgery.
Will a facelift smooth out all my facial wrinkles?
A facelift can reduce deep folds around your mouth like marionette line and nasolabial folds. However, it will not do anything for crow’s feet or forehead creases. If these are concerns for you, non-surgical treatments such as Botox or laser skin resurfacing may be a good option instead of or in addition to the surgery.
Are there non-surgical alternatives to a facelift?
There are various non-surgical treatments that may reduce fine lines and wrinkles and improve the texture of your skin. However, there is no laser treatment or cream that can eliminate moderate to severe sagging skin like a facelift can. Facelifts provide far more dramatic results than topical treatments because the excess skin is actually removed and tightened.
Experienced Facelift Surgeons in Miami
All the surgeons at the Plastic Surgery Institute of Miami are board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Their education, experience, artistry, and certifications make our surgeons true masters of facial aesthetic surgery.
We want you to look on the outside the way you feel on the inside – youthful, refreshed and beautiful. Our board-certified surgeons are dedicated to creating natural-looking and custom results for each patient. If you would like to schedule a consultation at our PSI offices in Miami, FL, and find out if you are a candidate for a facelift, call 305.446.7700 to make an appointment with our rhytidectomy experts.