A facelift, also known as a rhytidectomy, is a popular plastic surgery that restores a youthful appearance to the face by removing loose skin. The skin begins to loose moisture and elasticity with age, which causes lines, wrinkles, and skin folds. During a facelift, Dr. Matthew Bridges, a Richmond facial plastic surgeon, surgically excises the excess skin from the face. Dr. Bridges will then ensure that the facial muscles and tissues are smooth and use liposuction on any fat pockets. The skin is then redraped so patients look natural, but also vibrant and refreshed.
"Time for a Refresh for this 50 y.o. - lower facelift & revision rhinoplasty - After much research and interviewing doctors, some in Manhattan and Florida, I chose Dr. Bridges. His kindness and professionalism were apparent at the first meeting. I knew he would take my case very seriously and do his absolute best work. My surgeries took several hours but I got a great result and will definitely go back when (if) I need any touch ups."- H. / RealSelf / Aug 05, 2016
"50 Years Old: Neck Lift + Eye Lid Surgery = 10 Years Younger - Dr. Bridges really cares about his patients. He pays a great deal of attention to patient's desired outcomes and devises a meticulous plan to achieve those results. His personal mannerisms are friendly and approachable, I felt very comfortable asking him and/or his staff any and all of my questions. I highly recommend Dr. Bridges!"- B. / RealSelf / Sep 26, 2016
There are various techniques used today to perform a facelift. Facial anatomy, skin laxity and the overall aesthetic goal of the patient will determine the best approach. Each procedure will be unique to the patient and will vary based on the type and location of the incision, the number of tissue layers affected, the plane of elevation and the level of invasiveness.
Skin Only Facelift@headingTag>
The skin only facelift has been in practice since the early 1900s. Known as a cutaneous facelift, this technique is less invasive because it addresses the skin only. The result of this surgery is a bit subtler than some of the newer muscle tightening procedures. However, it also offers a lower risk and recovery period for the patient.
Traditional Facelift (SMAS)@headingTag>
This SMAS facelift is considered the gold standard. This surgery, while more complicated, produces results that are more dramatic and longer lasting. The technique involves manipulating a group of muscles beneath the skin known as the superficial musculo-aponeurotic system (SMAS). This section of muscle controls facial expression. An incision is made along the hairline from the temple to just behind the earlobe. The skin is then separated and lifted. The underlying muscles and tissue are tightened and secured so they maintain their new position.
Deep Plane Lift@headingTag>
The deep plane lift goes a step further than the traditional approach. It is better suited for those with severe sagging and drooping — usually reserved for older patients. In addition to the SMAS layer being adjusted, a deeper section, known as the deep plane, is also treated. While this procedure offers certain advantages over a traditional facelift, surgeons must be skilled and act with caution so facial nerves are not damaged during the surgical process.
A mini facelift is geared towards patients who want some of the benefits of a facelift, while at the same time minimizing the cost and invasive nature of the surgery. Some procedures that are considered “mini” include the “Quicklift” or “Lifestyle Lift”. Patients who wish to maximize the outcome of their surgery, resulting in the most dramatic results, will most likely need to turn to having a full facelift in order to meet these aesthetic goals.
All facelift procedures are performed under general anesthesia at an accredited surgical facility. The length of the surgery will vary, but it generally takes between 3-4 hours. This surgery is considered an outpatient procedure. However, some patients may be required to stay overnight in the hospital. After surgery, patients will be bruised and swollen and the face and neck will feel tight. This will gradually improve within a few days. It is common for patients to feel anxious about how their face will appear. Patients need to understand it can take several full months for the final results to appear.
Plan Your Procedure
BOTOX®, injectable fillers, microdermabrasion and chemical peels are examples of some non-surgical procedures that can assist in smoothing out wrinkles, improving fine lines and adding facial volume. These procedures also help to even out skin tone. However, these are treatments that will only affect the skin’s surface. Patients with loose skin, drooping jowls or a sagging neck will need to consider surgery if they want these features improved.
Will I Look Fake?@headingTag>
In the days immediately following facelift surgery, patients will feel tight and pulled. These are some short-term effects, but they will subside. It’s important to find a reputable surgeon skilled in facial surgery. Surgeons who know what they are doing will make every effort to work within the confines of the patient’s bone, skin and muscle structures so a younger, more natural look can result.
Facelift surgery does require a long incision. However, in almost all cases, these scars are well hidden as they fall just along the hairline and around the ears in the natural folds of the scalp. In most cases, the scars should be barely visible to the naked eye.
The common age range for patients who undergo a facelift is between 50-70. It is safe to say most patients will look 5-10 years younger following a facelift procedure. Younger patients (40-50 years old) generally have stronger skin elasticity so their results may last longer than those of someone older. However, older patients may have results that appear more dramatic and, for them, this can be very worthwhile. Patients should think of a facelift as a process to turn back the aging clock. You will still age, but you will appear a few years younger.