Updated September 24, 2020
Facelift Surgery – Fort Worth, Texas
With aging, gravity and the environment, the face changes over time. A facelift, or rhytidectomy, smoothes out wrinkles on the face and neck, allowing for a more youthful, fresh-faced look. Skin, fat, and soft tissue are restored to a younger position in the midface. Lines alongside the nose and below the eyes are smoothed out. Extra tissue in the jowls and neck areas (commonly called a “double chin”) are firmed up. Facelifts can be performed in combination with procedures such as a brow lift, full neck lift, and/or eyelid surgery for full facial rejuvenation.
What kind of anesthesia will I have?
The procedure is performed under general anesthesia for optimal comfort. This means you will be asleep for the entire procedure. Typically, the procedure is performed as outpatient surgery, but depending on your specific surgery, you may need to stay overnight.
Where will my incisions be?
The operation is performed through incisions placed in natural skin creases in front of each ear. These extend up into the temporal hair and also up into the hair behind the ear. The skin of the face and the underlying deeper tissues are tightened, eliminating most of the wrinkles and creases. In most cases, this operation is combined with other procedures to more completely rejuvenate the face.
An incision may be made under the chin to remove fat from the neck and to tighten the neck muscles. An upper and lower eyelid lift or “blepharoplasty” may also be performed. A brow lift may also be performed to elevate the eyebrows, which fall lower with age and gravity, and to eliminate wrinkles and creases from the forehead. Any combination of these procedures may be performed depending on your individual condition and your goals.
How long is the surgery?
The operating time will vary depending on your individual anatomy, the extent of your specific procedure, and whether any additional procedures are performed. Generally the time is approximately 3-5 hours.
What are the risks?
The decision to have a facelift is personal and you will need to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable. Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Kirby will explain in detail the risks associated with surgery. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo and any risks and potential complications. Possible risks associated with facelift surgery include unfavorable scarring, bleeding (hematoma), infection, problems with wound healing, anesthesia risks, hair loss at the incision sites, facial nerve injury with weakness, facial asymmetry, skin loss, numbness or other changes in skin sensation, fat necrosis, fluid accumulation, persistent pain, skin contour irregularities, skin discoloration, sensitivity or swelling, sutures may spontaneously surface through the skin, become visible or produce irritation that require removal, deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications, and the possibility of revisional surgery.
How do I prepare for surgery?
Prior to any procedure, it is necessary to review medications you are taking that may affect your surgery. You may be asked to stop or adjust some medications you are on. As always, it is important to include supplements on your list of medications. Aspirin and aspirin products (Alka-Seltzer, Carisoprodol, Excedrin, Goody’s, Midol), anti-inflammatory medications (except acetaminophen, or Tylenol), and herbal supplements must be avoided for 10 days prior to your surgery. For more details about which medications and supplements to avoid, click here. Dr. Kirby will discuss your medications with you.
Depending on your medical condition, you may be asked to get lab testing or a medical checkup prior to your surgery. It is especially important in facelift surgery that your blood pressure is well controlled. You may be asked to visit your primary care provider to closely control your blood pressure prior to surgery.
Tobacco products impair your body’s ability to heal. You will be asked to stop smoking for 6 weeks prior to any surgery. Tobacco step-down products such as chewing gum and Nicoderm continue to provide your body with tobacco and must be stopped as well. Please ask Dr. Kirby if you will need assistance with quitting.
Be sure to arrange for a responsible adult to drive you to and from your surgery. You will need someone to stay with you the night following your surgery as well.
You will receive specific instructions for your surgery day from Dr. Kirby’s office.
What is my recovery from surgery like?
The recovery process for a facelift lasts for several days. A bulky dressing is applied after the procedure and this is changed to a light dressing in 2-3 days. Sometimes an elastic wrap or support is used to give gentle compression to the operated areas after the dressings are removed. Sometimes ice packs are applied to the sides of the face to help reduce discomfort and swelling. There is usually a moderate amount of swelling and bruising after a facelift. You should try to sleep with your head and shoulders elevated to help reduce the amount of swelling. You may bathe the day after surgery, but do not get the dressings wet. You may shower and shampoo your hair once Dr. Kirby has removed the dressings. You may remove the elastic support to shower or bathe. Men should be able to shave after approximately 3 to 5 days. Initial discomfort is controlled with oral medication. Stitches are usually removed in 5 to 7 days.