A facelift, also known as a rhytidectomy, is a cosmetic surgical procedure designed to improve visible signs of facial aging. Facelifts were the fifth most common cosmetic surgery performed in 2016, up 4% from the previous year.
A facelift concentrates on the bottom portion of your face and jaw. It lifts and tightens both the skin and underlying muscle to reduce the appearance of aging, including wrinkles and sagging skin. It can also redefine your face’s contours to give you a more youthful appearance.
At Arizona Ocular & Facial Plastic Surgery in Scottsdale and Peoria, Arizona, Dr. Dustin Heringer is highly proficient in state-of-the-art techniques for cosmetic facial surgeries, laser treatments, injectable fillers, and skin rejuvenation. His goal is to provide you with the most natural-looking results with the most conservative treatment methods.
What a facelift procedure entails
The exact nature of facelift surgery depends on your desired results. Dr. Heringer generally makes incisions along your hairline, moves down to hug the ears, and then heads back along the scalp. This allows for minimal scarring.
Specifically, Dr. Heringer uses the superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS). It's an advanced procedure that addresses your skin in the superficial muscular aponeurotic area of the face, as well as the muscles underlying it. He feels that this system offers the most natural-looking results.
During the procedure, the doctor trims away excess skin, tightens the muscles and other tissues below to contour your facial features, and removes or redistributes fat deposits. Once everything is in the proper position, he closes the incisions.
Depending on your goals, you may want to combine a facelift with a brow lift and/or a neck lift to complete the rejuvenating process.
The incisions may be sealed with dissolvable stitches or a surgical glue. If they’re traditional stitches, you return to the office to have them removed. In all cases, though, the scarring is hidden in the hairline or behind the ears, so you have no reason to be self-conscious.
Your recovery after a facelift
A facelift is a surgical procedure, and as such, you need a period of rest and recovery. Dr. Heringer usually tells his patients to expect to be off from work for 1-2 weeks afterward.
You can expect some bruising, swelling, and discoloration around the incisions. A good tip is to try sleeping with your head elevated to reduce all three issues and help with pain.
In addition to a course of antibiotics, you may need something for pain, and you should avoid strenuous activity for a time. As long as you follow the aftercare instructions, your body should heal just fine, with minimal discomfort.
How we determine if you’re a good candidate for a facelift
At your initial consultation, Dr. Heringer goes over your entire medical history, including lifestyle choices, and performs a physical exam.
You’re generally a good candidate for a facelift if you:
- Are in overall good health
- Are a nonsmoker (smoking impedes the healing process)
- Have realistic expectations of the outcome
- Have sufficient skin elasticity
- Understand the recovery process
To be a good candidate, the soft tissues of your face and neck should sag with deep wrinkles, a double chin, and jowls. If your skin is not flexible, or if you’re significantly overweight, this isn’t the right procedure for you.
You also need to accept that a facelift is not a permanent solution to aging. You’ll continue to age and may need another procedure or procedures down the line if you want to maintain your “younger look.”
What if I’m not a good candidate for a facelift?
If you’re not a good candidate for a facelift, there are many minimally invasive options to help you look your best.
- Injectable neurotoxins: including BOTOX® Cosmetic, Dysport®, and Xeomin® that prevent muscle contractions and the fine lines that come with them
- Dermal fillers: including JUVÉDERM® XC and Restylane®, natural hyaluronic acid-based fillers that plump up your skin
- Chemical peels: treatments that peel away old, flawed layers to reveal healthy skin underneath
- Skin resurfacing and microdermabrasion: treatments that scrub away old skin layers and boost collagen production
Are you looking to turn back the clock and want to know if you’re a good candidate for a facelift? Call the nearest office to set up a consultation with Dr. Heringer.