Facelift Surgery (Rhytidectomy)

Once upon a time is was considered imprudent to have face lift surgery as results varied and many patients left looking worse off than they did on entering. These days however, thanks to improvements in technology and increased exposure and experience of the surgeons, success rates are constantly climbing.

The Procedure

A face lift procedure, or rhytidectomy as it is technically referred to as, is one form of cosmetic surgery which focuses on returning the skin around the face and neck to its former glory. They are designed to improve the aesthetic qualities of the face by tightening the skin in order to give the patient a more youthful appearance and smoother skin.

The face lift procedure is performed under general anaesthesia and depending on the type of face lift can last anywhere from two to 6 hours. In a traditional facelift the surgeon will begin by making an incision in the hair line, which will then run down past the front of your ears and then up into the hairline again behind the ears. Cuts can also be made under your chin if you want to lift a sagging jawline. Carefully, the surgeon then separates the skin from the underlying tissues. Excess fat is then removed or repositioned by the surgeon who may also tighten the muscles or surrounding tissues in the face. The skin is then lifted, where it is pulled back and tightened and any excess may be cut away.

Once the surgeon is happy with the amount of skin being tightened, the skin is stitched back to where the first incisions were originally made. The face is then bandaged to protect it, with some techniques requiring bandaging under the chin and around the neck and ears. These bandages will remain in place until you are ready to return home. Drainage tubes may also be left in place after the face lift procedure but these are typically removed the day after surgery.

There are several alternative techniques to the traditional face lift procedure. Such techniques include minimal-access cranial suspension (MACS), mid-face lift and mini facelift surgery.

Minimal-access cranial suspension is a face lift procedure that involves making surgical incisions that are smaller than in a traditional face lift procedure. It is advantageous as the scarring from this technique is less prevalent than other techniques.

A mid-face lift procedure involves an incision made in the temporal hairline. The procedure is aimed at those who have lost fullness of the cheeks and the upper lips.

Mini Facelifts

A mini facelift, a form of keyhole surgery as it avoids large incisions, involves making several tiny cuts into your skin. Special operating instruments and an endoscope are passed through the cuts, and the surgeon operates by looking at pictures sent from the endoscope to a monitor. This technique also leaves less scarring and patients generally make speedier recoveries. Mini ‘weekend’ facelift procedures are generally cheaper than conventional facelifts and the procedure can be carried out and completed over a weekend.

Face Lift Procedures for Men

Male facelifts (male rhytidectomy) are very similar to the procedure performed for women, after all our faces are the same, and both sexes desire an outcome for a younger more youthful appearance caused by advancing years, sun damage and life's stresses. However, the approach to male procedures differs slightly to the approach for women as men have distinct considerations - such as facial hair growth and receding hairlines. As men generally style their hair shorter than that of women, it is more difficult to hide scars, so incisions need to be carefully planned. As with all cosmetic surgery one has to remain realistic as to the end result.

Benefits Vs Risks

The benefit of a face lift performed successfully will not only make the male look more youthful he will most certainly feel better about himself therefore the benefits are more far reaching than just appearance. Confidence will be boosted and a positive outlook will be noticeable. As with all medical procedures though, risks and complications are always real. As males have a higher amount of blood cells in their faces the possibility of bleeding afterwards is greater than that of women undergoing a similar procedure. Due to this, there is also a greater risk of a blood clot (a pocket of blood) forming in the face. Also, visibility of scars and some nerve damage can occur, and in extreme cases paralysis of the face. The best results are usually achieved if the patient is emotionally as well as physically healthy at the time of their procedure.

Will It Break The Bank?

You should think realistically of what you hope to achieve. You cannot change your face nor make yourself look like Brad Pitt - what you want to aim for is turning back the clock to the more youthful, fresher you, which will result in a more handsome you. Fat can be removed, and it is possible to make modifications which will emphasise the structure of your face, but overall the less you try to 'change' the better the result. Many people opt to travel overseas for their cosmetic procedures. The majority of overseas clinics will speak English and will be just as welcoming to you. The benefit of travelling overseas is that the cost is greatly reduced and that's taking into account flights and accommodation. A good number of clinics do "the whole package" and arrange flights, transfers and accommodation for you. Alternatively, face fillers are an option, they are much cheaper to perform and no surgery is required. However, the downside to fillers is that there is not so much history - it's early days, so no one can truly predict if they are a good thing or not. The effects are rather short lived too, six months to a year compared with 10 years for a face lift.

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