Updated: January 28, 2019
The Facelift, also known as a Rhytidectomy, is a cosmetic surgery procedure designed to raise sagging tissues of the jowls, jawline, and neck. The muscles and skin is tightened to restore a refreshed appearance in both men and women. While tissues of the face are still subject to the effects of aging and gravity, the results from a Rhytidectomy will be long lasting. The Facelift can provide a more refreshed appearance, including facial rejuvenation, though it is not meant to completely alter the looks.
Table of Content:
- Scheduling a Consultation
- The Traditional Facelift
- The Mini Facelift
The procedure does not address the top 1/3 of the face, so for optimal results, the Facelift may need to be paired with a complementary procedure, such as the Brow lift, Eyelid Surgery, or Liposuction of the neck.
Facelift Before & After Photos
Before and after patient photos. Individual results may vary.
Tissues of the cheeks, jaw, and neck will often begin to lose their elasticity with age, migrating downward on the face. One of the first noticeable signs of aging, these lax tissues can betray how good we may feel on the inside. Drooping skin and deep creases may make the appearance look frustrated, unhappy, and even unhealthy.
Confidence and self-esteem can be deeply affected by these changes in appearance. While the loss of tight skin and tissue is simply a part of the normal aging process, these changes can be further complicated by smoking, sun damage, dramatic weight loss, and illness.
Am I a Candidate for a Facelift?
Both men and women, looking to improve the look of lax facial tissue, can benefit from the Facelift procedure in Washington DC:
- Patients in their late 30s and 40s can use the Rhytidectomy to head off early signs of aging
- Patients in their late 40s and 50s are able to restore a more youthful appearance
- Good candidates should be in generally good health
- Good candidates should understand Facelift procedure
- Hold reasonable expectations for their results
- All skin types and ethnicities can safely opt for a Facelift
Scheduling a Facelift Consultation:
An initial consultation appointment will be scheduled with Dr. Schoenfeld, prior to setting up the Rhytidectomy procedure. During this visit, the patient will have time to get to know the surgeon, discuess their medical history, and learn if they are a good candidate for facelift.
Conversely, Dr. Schoenfeld will take a moment to listen to the patient’s needs and aesthetic desires. He will perform an exam of the facial tissues, review the medical history, and review all current medications. Dr. Schoenfeld will clearly explain the facelift techniques, as well as the other surgical and noninvasive options for facial rejuvenation. If the facelift is determined to the best procedure for an individual situation, a personalized surgical plan will be created.
What does a Facelift Cost?
The exact cost of the Facelift procedure will be established at the consultation. During the appointment, a patient coordinator will further review the payment choices in depth.
The Traditional Facelift Procedure:
Dr. Schoenfeld’s Facelift procedure will take between three and six hours to complete, under I.V. sedation or general anesthesia. An overnight hospital stay is not always necessary, but may be recommended to increase patient comfort, before beginning the healing process at home.
He will begin the facelift surgery by making several meticulously placed incisions at the temple, then running down in front of the ear and behind the tragus to camouflage the incision. The incision will then be tucked under the ear lobe and then follow the crease behind the ear before entering into the hair behind the ear. Dr. Schoenfeld will then gently separate the skin from the underlying tissues.
The main pull on the facial tissues will be placed on the tissue layer beneath the skin called the SMAS (Subcutaneous Muscular Aponeurotic System). Placing the tension on this tissue layer avoids the “Facelift” appearance that people associate with a facelift, and provides long lasting, natural results. He will excise the unneeded tissues; lifting and tightening the remaining muscle, SMAS, and skin.
Finally, Dr. Schoenfeld will suture the tissue in place using two or three layers of suture so that the wounds heal appropriately and to keep the tissues in place.
The Mini Facelift:
This technique is also referred to as a Minimal Incision Facelift or Weekend Facelift. The procedure does not provide the extensive results seen with a traditional procedure, however the Mini Facelift has a short recovery period of about one week. Less pain and discomfort will be experienced, as well. This technique is well suited for patients in their 40s and 50s.
The SMAS – The Subcutaneous Muscular Aponuerotic Facial System (SMAS) is an area of facial muscle tissue. The SMAS is comprised of fibrous extensions connected to the upper two layers of the skin; all which move together as a single unit. As the facial tissues age, the SMAS will slowly glide downward, contributing to the sagging, drooping tissues.
Taking from one to two hours, the Mini Facelift is usually performed under local anesthesia and IV sedation. Dr. Schoenfeld will begin by making a small incision along the front of the ear, hidden within natural facial contours. Through these areas, a small amount of skin can be raised to allow for access to deeper tissues. Excess skin will be excised after the SMAS is lifted and sutured into place.
The SMAS technique is used to create tension within the deep facial tissues. For long lasting results, this will be suspended in an upward direction with permanent sutures, while removable stitches are used to close the incisions.
What Are the Risks of a Facelift?
The Rhytidectomy is one of the most well known plastic surgery procedures; it has been performed for many decades. A refinement of techniques and advances in medicine make today’s Rhytidectomy safer and more effective than ever before. The modern Rhytidectomy can provide consistent, satisfying results. As it is an invasive procedure, a small chance for complications is always present. These can include excessive bleeding, scarring, infection, nerve damage, and facial asymmetry.
Hi Dr. Schoenfeld, I'm amazed - my face looks so refreshed and no sagging. Thank you - I look healthier and prettier too. When I walked in the house yesterday, my husband said 'you look beautiful', it must be your hair. I decided to keep the filler procedure to myself, and see what kind of unprompted feedback I get. I don't have any bruising and I don't think I'm swollen... really amazing. Thanks again, I'll check in with you in next 6 weeks to see what we should plan to do next per your recommendations. Also, I'll drop off one of our driving club magazines for the porsche club in potomac region- it's a fun a hobby and great social- networking group of folks.
Patients must take care to only trust their appearance to a respected and experienced cosmetic surgeon. Dr. Philip Schoenfeld is considered one of the top Rhytidectomy providers in the country. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, performing the facelift for over 20 years.
How Long Does It Take to Recover from a Facelift?
The facelift recovery period will depend on the technique used. Swelling and bruising are common; these will slowly resolve over the first two to three weeks. Keeping the head elevated, and intermittently applying icepacks, can be used to effectively reduce swelling. Detailed post-operative instructions will be given at the consultation appointment. Patients should read these over carefully.
Any questions that arise should be asked prior to the day of surgery. It is vital for patients to commit to stop smoking for at least one week prior to the Facelift procedure, and at least four weeks afterward. Cigarettes can impact circulation, cause delayed wound healing, and weather tissues of the face.
Immediately after surgery, two small drains may be placed to prevent an accumulation of fluid and blood under the skin. Full facelift bandages are worn on the face for the first 24 hours; this is then swapped out for a smaller dressing to be worn for the next week. Significant swelling and bruising will occur after a traditional Facelift.
Discomfort is mild, and Dr. Schoenfeld will prescribe the appropriate pain medications to keep patients resting comfortably during the healing process. Temporary tightness and numbness may also be experienced, lasting for the first several months.
A week after surgery, at the second follow-up visit, Dr. Schoenfeld will remove the bandages and sutures. Patients are normally feeling well enough to return to work or school in about two weeks.
For More Information on the Facelift Procedure at Renu by Dr. Schoenfeld:
Renu by Dr. Schoenfeld is located in the heart of Washington, DC, Chevy Chase, and Maryland. The office is an easy commute from nearby Bethesda, Baltimore, and Washington D.C. For those people traveling from outside of the area, Renu MedSpa is also located close to several major airports. Contact the office at 301.652.7368 with your Facelift questions, or to schedule a consultation appointment with Dr. Schoenfeld.
- I’ve been considering getting a facelift
- Choosing the Male Facelift Procedure
- Is numbness after a facelift normal? Can it ne prevented?
- I fear a rhytidectomy could damage the nerves in my face
- How Long Do You Really Need for a Mini Facelift?
FAQs about Facelift, Washington DC
How long does the facelift take to perform at Renu?
Dr. Schoenfeld’s facelift will take between two and four hours to perform, depending on the exact technique and level of correction required. The exact amount of time for your procedure will vary based on specific technique utilized and whether it’s performed in conjunction with other procedures.
Will there be scarring after a facelift?
Yes, the facelift procedure will result in scarring, although Dr. Schoenfeld will use meticulous care to keep these well hidden within the natural hairline. Scars may remain pink for some time after surgery though turn noticeably more white and matching your normal skin tone after time has past. One of the benefits of facelift surgery is that surgical scars are hidden above the hairline for most people.
Is the facelift recovery painful?
Patients may experience moderate discomfort for a few days after their facelift. Dr. Schoenfeld will prescribe the appropriate pain medications to allow patients to heal comfortably at home. Individual recovery time may vary based on facelift technique utilized.
When can I return to work after a facelift procedure?
After the Rhytidectomy procedure, patients are generally feeling well enough to return to work in about two weeks. It can be possible to return to work sooner, though the optimal time period is two weeks.
Links to external resources:
- Fact vs. fallacy regarding facial plastic surgery.
- What causes facial aging?
- Maintaining a youthful appearance.
- 10 ways to tighten your neck skin.
- Washingtonian: Washington, D.C.’s best doctors.
This article was written and edited by Philip S. Schoenfeld, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Dr. Schoenfeld is founder and Medical Director of Renu by Dr. Schoenfeld. Double board certified in Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery and Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, he has been practicing facial plastic and reconstructive surgery in Washington DC and Maryland since 1998.
Dr. Schoenfeld received his undergraduate degree from Hobart College where he majored in Chemistry and minored in Religious Studies. He was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity and played lacrosse. He received his Medical degree from New York Medical College and did his residency training at the world renowned Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Dr. Schoenfeld served 10 years in the U.S Army, five of which were with the 82nd Airborne Division and as Chief of the Department of Otolaryngology and Facial Plastic Surgery at Fort Bragg, NC.