Facelift (Rhytidectomy)

couple copyAging of the face may be inevitable, but looking old is not. Facelift surgery has become extremely popular and is being sought by an ever growing number of women and men who simply want to maintain a healthily, attractive, and youthful appearance.

Time, gravity, and years of exposure to the elements conspire to bring about the inevitable signs of aging in facial skin. As we age, the skin loosens, thins, and sags on the face and neck. Crow’s feet appear at the corners of the eyes. Folds by the upper and lower lip, or marionette lines develop. The jawline softens into jowls. The neck skin and muscle loosen, a wattle or double chin may form. As the platysmal muscle relaxes, vertical folds appear on the front of the neck. Wrinkles develop and pouches may form in the cheeks, jawline, and neck.

Dr. Brunner has performed hundreds of facelift procedures. Her extensive surgical expertise and comprehensive experience will allow you to look 10 to 15 years younger. A facelift, by removing excess skin and tightening sagging tissue, can turn back the clock and restore the youthful appearance that reflects the way you feel. Whether you are having a facelift to improve the advanced signs of aging or to remove mild jowling and minimal skin laxity, a facelift should make you look relaxed, refreshed, and more youthful. Many patients experience increased self confidence. Friends may never guess that you had surgery…unless you choose to tell them!

Procedures that are frequently performed along with your facelift to give an overall harmonious appearance include eyelid lifts, forehead lift, chin augmentation and neck liposuction. In many cases, more than one procedure can be performed at the same time without increasing discomfort or recovery time. When you come in for your consultation, Dr. Brunner will formulate the best treatment plan to suit your specific needs.

Facelift Consultation

During your one hour facelift consultation, a full medical history will be taken. The physical examination performed by Dr. Brunner will focus on your age, genetics, skin type, skin elasticity, skin laxity, bone structure, soft tissue volume, and facial proportion. It is important for you to discuss any pre-existing conditions, allergies, and previous surgeries. Dr. Brunner will ask what you like and dislike about your face. Once Dr. Brunner understands your expectations, mutual, realistic goals can be set and a treatment plan will be formulated specifically for you.

Facelift Preoperative Instructions

For at least two weeks before surgery, you are required to refrain from alcohol, all aspirin products, ibuprofen, and certain vitamins and herbal supplements. These products thin the blood and increase the risk of bleeding. Please tell Dr. Brunner about all the medications that you take, both prescription and non-prescription. Smoking interferes with circulation and healing, and must be stopped three months before surgery.

Facelift Procedure

Facelift surgery takes about three hours. Unless other cosmetic procedures are being done at the same time, you can usually go home the same day of the surgery. The procedure is relatively painless and can be done with either twilight sleep or general anesthesia. The facelift is done by making an incision that is completely camouflaged by the ear and the hairline. The underlying muscles (SMAS) and tissues are tightened, giving you the “lift”.

Facelift Post Operative Instructions and Recovery

After your facelift, you can go home or stay overnight at the hospital, depending on what you planned with Dr. Brunner. Immediately after the procedure, a soft cotton dressing will be wrapped under the chin and around the top of the head. This will be worn continually for the first four days after surgery. A removable support garment will be worn during the next 7 days. It can be removed briefly to bathe and wash your hair.

Antibiotics and pain medications may be prescribed. There will be some degree of swelling and bruising, which can be kept to a minimum by the application of cold packs, sleeping with your head elevated, and taking Arnica Montana pills. Strenuous activity should be avoided for three weeks after surgery.

Timing to return to work and full social activities is usually two weeks or less. Some bruising and swelling will always accompany a facelift. This usually subsides within one to two weeks. A little make-up, hairstyling, and a light scarf can help cover some of the small irregularities in the first two weeks after your surgery. Strenuous and full aerobic activity should be avoided in the first several weeks after surgery.

Your New Look after your Facelift

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A facelift should make you look relaxed, refreshed, and more youthful. Your friends may never guess that you had surgery. Instead they may ask if you lost weight, changed your hairstyle. They may even ask if you are using new make-up or moisturizer. As a result, you can experience increased self confidence.

Having a facelift doesn’t stop the clock. Your face will continue to age with time, and you may want to repeat the procedure some years down the line. But in another sense, the effects of a facelift are very long lasting; years later, you’ll continue to look better than if you’d never had a facelift at all.

More Information About Facelift Surgery

To help our patients make the best decision for their needs and goals, Dr. Brunner has provided answers to a selection of frequently asked questions (FAQs). If you would like to know more, please reach out to our skilled medical team to make an appointment.

When should I consider a facelift?

Many patients elect to have facelift surgery in their 50s and 60s, but there is no specific age that is ideal for this procedure. Some people experience significant signs of aging by their 40s while others may not develop skin laxity and deep creases until they reach their late 60s or even 70s. Ideal candidates will be in good general health and have reasonable expectations for results. Regardless of your age and concerns, Dr. Brunner can help you determine if this or another treatment will optimize your goals.

What concerns can this procedure address?

Facelift surgery is designed to achieve a more youthful look in the mid and lower face, including the jawline. As part of the natural course of aging, as well as other factors, skin laxity can develop, leading to sagging skin and deep creases in these areas. During facelift surgery, the skin and underlying tissues are tightened and lifted to a more youthful location. As a result, firmer and smoother skin that lasts for many years can be attained. Furthermore, by combining this technique with non-surgical treatments like dermal fillers and laser skin resurfacing, greater enhancement is possible. Dr. Brunner can provide details during your initial consultation.

Will the scars be visible?

The location of your incisions will depend on your unique treatment plan, but Dr. Brunner takes great care to make them as unnoticeable as possible. She typically places them within the hairline and behind the ear, making them fairly inconspicuous. Additionally, we offer state-of-the-art laser skin resurfacing therapy that can further reduce the appearance of scars.

How long will recovery take?

As an outpatient procedure, you should be able to return home the same day as the operation. We recommend that you take at least a week off from work, potentially more depending on your individual rate of healing and if other procedures were performed. Swelling, a feeling of tightness, bruising, numbness, and tenderness are common symptoms, and these should fade as you heal. Try to keep your head elevated, including when you sleep, to help expedite the recovery process. You should also avoid strenuous activity and exercise for at least a month, or as long as Dr. Brunner recommends. We will provide medication to help manage your pain, and your care and comfort are our highest priorities.

When will the results be final?

Benefits of your procedure will begin to be visible a few weeks to months after the operation. You are considered fully healed after about a year, but the vast majority of the swelling and other effects often subside after a couple of months. Some tingling or numbness can also take time to fade. You will see Dr. Brunner for several follow-up appointments to ensure you are healing as intended and on the path to optimal results.

Are there any alternative treatments?

If you are not a candidate for facelift surgery, or if you prefer a non-surgical approach, we offer a range of options to help achieve your cosmetic goals. While only surgery can provide certain benefits, minimally invasive techniques, including dermal fillers and other cosmetic injectables can be used to address fine lines and wrinkles, volume loss, and other common signs of aging. Laser therapy can also enhance skin quality and texture. Mild skin laxity can also be improved with radiofrequency energy. As part of your initial consultation, Dr. Brunner will review all your options and help guide you toward the approach that best suits your anatomic needs, expressed cosmetic goals, and lifestyle preferences.

How to get started?

Dr. Brunner and her staff will be happy to discuss a facelift or rhytidectomy with you. When you come in for your consultation, Dr. Brunner will formulate the best facelift treatment plan to suit your specific needs. Please call our office (609) 921-9497 to schedule your private consultation.

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I Can Now Look at Myself in the Mirror Every Day and Be Happy with What I See

I cannot comment enough about what a brilliant, compassionate, knowledgeable and gifted doctor Dr. Brunner is. I started with smaller procedures with her such as fillers, botox, laser facials and laser hair removal...