Details of the procedure
The incisions allow the surgeon access to the deeper layers in the face and their fibrous attachments, which are sutured (stitched) tightly in front and behind the ear, to create a firm sling under the chin and around the jowl area. Slack skin is then precisely and meticulously removed, and if necessary, unwanted fat is also removed from under the chin area with a minor liposuction technique. The remaining skin is then re-draped over the newly defined features and carefully sutured back into place with either absorbable or fine non absorbable stitches.
This procedure is usually performed under general anaesthetic and will commonly involve one to two nights stay in hospital. Under normal conditions a typical rhytidectomy procedure will take between two and two and a half hours to perform.
How will you feel after a facelift procedure?
Following a rhytidectomy procedure incision areas are often quite tender for several weeks following surgery.
Analgesic tablets (pain killers) are always provided for any discomfort and patients are encouraged to stay as upright as possible during their early recovery stage and to use cold compresses to help diminish residual swelling. Patients usually describe the way they feel as ‘tight and uncomfortable’ rather then experiencing specific pain.
Every surgeon’s rhytidectomy technique can differ slightly and facelift wounds can be sutured with either clips, absorbable or fine non absorbable sutures, or a combination of all three. Sutures and clips are normally removed 7–14 days following surgery.
Any post-operative discomfort tends to diminish rapidly after clips and sutures are removed. Most surgeons firmly bandage the face and jaw area for the first 24 hours following surgery to minimise the development of swelling and to help reduce facial discomfort.
Following the removal of bandaging, patients are advised to gently shower and wash their hair on a daily basis and to keep their surgical wounds as clean as possible.
In the early days following discharge, patients are strongly advised to avoid any level of activity that will put undue strain on the newly operated areas, to keep their hands away from their surgical wounds and to pay meticulous attention to their personal hygiene.
Risks such as bleeding, infection, delayed healing, alteration in sensitivity and scarring will all be discussed quite openly at consultation, as well as our scrupulous efforts to manage and minimise these risks to their lowest possible potential.
In most cases, the fine incisions and subsequent scars made during surgery are well hidden in the hair-line and behind the ear. However, the recovery and appearance of scars, which generally fade progressively after surgery, are a highly individual matter. Usually these fine scars mature, soften and fade to a negligible level although occasionally, patients can develop firm, raised, discoloured scarring, known as hypertrophic or keloid scarring, which may require further corrective treatment although the results cannot be guaranteed.
It is often reported that altered sensitivity and numbness to skin around the wound areas are a common side effect for up to 12 months following facelift surgery.
Due to the additional healing and infection risks experienced with patients who smoke, smokers may be precluded from having a rhytidectomy until they cease their daily cigarette intake.
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