How does surgical facelift/rhytidectomy work?
As we age, our skin naturally loses elasticity and becomes loose. This is because production of supporting structures like collagen and elastin slow down, and the skin loses volume. Over time, the skin will sag due to gravity, giving a “tired” look stereotypically associated with old age.
The surgical facelift is performed specifically to address sagging skin in the face. Using fine adjustments to the tissues in the face and trimming of excess skin, the face can be “lifted” as the skin becomes tighter. This has the certain effects including:
- Reducing wrinkles and fine lines
- “Filling out” hollow-looking cheeks
- Reducing/removing jowls
- Tightening loose skin under the chin and jawline.
Facelift surgery is performed under local or general anaesthesia
The surgeon begins by making an incision starting at the temple area, along the hairline and down the skin along the ear. This skin flap is carefully separated from the SMAS and carefully lifted off the muscles in the face. The tissue beneath the skin surface is adjusted and trimmed as necessary, and repositioned higher up the face. Fat deposits in the cheeks may also be removed as required. The skin flap is then carefully trimmed and re-draped over the facial tissue, and any open incisions are closed with sutures.
Possible risks and complications
- Hematoma, which is a collection of blood under the skin that can damage facial tissue if not immediately corrected with follow-up surgery. This is the most common complication associated with facelift surgeries and usually occurs within the first 24 hours post-surgery
- Facial nerves, muscles and other tissue can get disturbed or damaged during the surgery, causing temporary or long-term numbness and stiffness of the face.
- Some parts of the skin may die if blood supply to the area becomes disrupted
- Hair loss can occur at the incision sites temporarily or permanently. This is a relatively minor concern which can be addressed with hair transplant.