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.
The Facelift, also known as a Rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure designed to raise sagging tissues of the jowls, jawline, and neck. The muscles and skin is tightened to restore a refreshed appearance. 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, but it is not meant to completely alter the looks. 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.
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. Patients in their late 30s and 40s can use the Rhytidectomy to head off early signs of aging; while those in their late 40s and 50s are able to restore a more youthful appearance. The ideal candidate should be in generally good health, understand Facelift procedure, and hold reasonable expectations for their results. All skin types and ethnicities can safely opt for a Facelift.
Before & After Facelift Patients:
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.
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.
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.
The surgeon will begin the Facelift 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 Weekend Facelift:
This technique is also referred to as a Minimal Incision Facelift or Mini-Facelift. The procedure does not provide the extensive results seen with a traditional procedure, however the Weekend 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 Weekend 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 Rhytidectomy?
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.
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 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 Chevy Chase, 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.
Dr. Schoenfeld’s Facelift will take between two and four hours to perform, depending on the exact technique and level of correction required.
Yes, the Facelift procedure will result in scarring, although Dr. Schoenfeld will use meticulous care to keep these well hidden within the natural hairline.
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.
After the Rhytidectomy procedure, patients are generally feeling well enough to return to work in about two weeks.