A facelift is very helpful for eliminating loose skin on the neck and laxity in the tissues of the cheeks. Sagging in the mid-face, deep creases below the lower eyelids, fat that has fallen or is displaced and jowls are all common complaints of age that can be rhytidectomy. It's not very helpful for nasolabial folds or perioral mounds marionette lines (which are better treated with liposculpture or Botox) though recently developed techniques have been showing great promise. Rhytidectomy patients should be 30 years or older.
The biggest contraindications to facelift surgery are unreasonable expectations or unhealthy motivations for having the surgery done. Facelift surgery should be done for you and you alone. Not for anyone else or for any other reason other than your own personal desire to look a certain way for your own benefit
Other contraindications have to do with your health. Rhytidectomy is major surgery requiring deep sedation or, more commonly, general anesthesia. Patients who cannot tolerate the anesthesia are not good candidates for surgery. If you are on blood thinners or have a clotting disorder, are in poor overall health or smoke, facelift surgery may not be for you. A thorough consultation with a surgeon is the only way to be sure if you are or are not a good candidate for surgery.
The first rhytidectomy was performed more than a hundred years ago, in 1901. Over the last century, the procedure has evolved and improved into what it is today. There are several techniques now used, though the basic concept and surgery are much the same.
As with any surgery, a facelift has certain risks associated with it that need to be considered.
Recovery from a facelift varies from individual to individual and depends, to some extent, on the type of facelift done. It is common to wake up from surgery feeling nauseated and cold. Medication will be prescribed if you feel nauseous and of course, a warm blanket. Your face will be covered in large dressings though it is typically replaced with an elastic wrap the following day. There may also be drainage tubes placed at the incision sites to allow drainage and help keep the swelling down. There will be initial mild to moderate discomfort and if needed, your doctor will prescribe you pain medication. It is very common that your doctor will prescribe prophylactic antibiotics in the hopes of preventing infection. Bruising and swelling is entirely normal but any really excessive pain or signs of infection (including fever) should be reported to your doctor immediately. Walking and moving around after surgery is recommended however, you are going to feel woozy and need plenty of rest. Normal activities can usually be resumed after a week or two but it will take several weeks for all the swelling to go down and for results to really be fully appreciated.
Facelift surgery is often combined with other procedures to both lower the cost for the patient as well as reduce risk to the patient from multiple exposures to general anesthesia. Procedures that can be combined with rhytidectomy are Rhinoplasty, blepharoplasty, Botox, brow lift and ear correction surgeries.