Facelift surgery, or a rhytidectomy, is designed to restore a more youthful appearance by removing major wrinkles and sagging skin. It involves tightening of the facial and neck muscles as well as the removal of any excess skin.
The skin begins to wrinkle and sag as a result of age, sun exposure, smoking, medical conditions and genetics. Children and young adults have smooth, round faces due to evenly distributed fatty tissues in facial contours. Over time, the skin sags then folds and wrinkles develop around the chin, jawline and neck. Furthermore, the aging face progressively loses volume and elasticity. Not only does a facelift improve facial appearance but also has a dramatic effect on the neck, enhancing its contour and profile. Dr. Sofola believes in the holistic and comprehensive approach to facial rejuvenation. He also believes in turning the clock back and achieving the refreshed and restored look gracefully. “I strongly believe that esthetically, less is more. I take pride in the fact that my patients don’t look over-operated, but rather look and feel refreshed and restored”. This may involve a comprehensive facelift with restoration of volume. A full consultation with Dr. Sofola will determine what will best achieve your goals.
We will evaluate your medical history (including habits such as smoking) in order to determine your overall health and suitability for surgery. A comprehensive list of all medicaitons (including herbal remedies) and skin care products will be obtained from you. Dr. Sofola believes that one can achieve superior results with superior material. As a result, a detailed cellular nutritional assessment, as well as a skin analysis will be performed.
Dr. Sofola will discuss with you how your face can look and what you can expect from surgery. Our objective is to create a natural appearance that is pleasing to you. Before and After photographs will reveal what the surgery has accomplished.
Patients are advised to avoid drugs that contain aspirin several weeks prior to surgery to minimize excess bleeding. Smokers are advised to discontinue smoking at least one month prior to and abstain for at least one month post-operatively. A detailed review of your medications, including skin care products will be reviewed at your consultation and managed peri-operatively. You may be required to take antibiotics to prevent infection. You may be instructed to shampoo your hair the night before surgery.
Facelifts are performed in outpatient surgical centers or in our accredited office. A facelift very nicely addresses aging below the cheekbones; for aging around the eyes or forehead, a blepharoplasty or browlift may also be recommended. These procedures can be performed at the same time, if desired. The result after a facelift is a natural, refreshed appearance with no visible scarring.
Using incisions that are hidden in the natural contours of the ear, this is a fantastic procedure for lifting sagging jowls, neck and midface skin. The deeper tissues are lifted to restore youth to the midface and neck. Excess skin is removed and sagging muscles and connective tissues are tightened. In some cases, fatty deposits are removed from beneath the chin and neck. Incisions are closed with small sutures.
The procedures are performed under twilight sedation, using medicines given through an IV. General anesthesia is also commonly used, but not required. In all cases, a board certified anesthesiologist will provide your anesthesia care, allowing Dr. Sofola to fully concentrate on restoring your youthful apearance. Dr. Sofola will discuss these issues with you upon your consultation. Pain is usually described as less than expected, and patients are able to eat and drink as soon as they get home. Downtime after a facelift or minilift is typically one week with restrictions on activity and lifting to minimize bruising and swelling. With our detailed pre-operative assessment and holistic optimization, bruising and swelling is admirably minimal, and complications are rare, while results are immediate.
As mentioned previously, a facelift is frequently performed in conjunction with blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), forehead lift, chin augmentation, and/or liposuction, to create an overall rejuvenation of the face, as well as facial balance. As aging is a continuous process, Dr. Sofola will maintain a close relationship with you to optimize your results long-term, providing guidance on less invasive procedures such as fillers to restore volume as needed, thus achieving your full aesthetic potential.
Post Operative Care
It is necessary to have someone drive you home and stay with you for the first 24 hours. Alternatively, you may stay overnight at the Surgical Center for observation. Initially you will have a large dressing wrapped around your head. You may also have surgical drains attached to bulbs hanging at your neck which will be removed in approximately 24 hours. Stitches around the ears will also be loosened or removed in a few days. The scalp sutures will be removed in 7-10 days.
To minimize scarring, the doctor may remove the sutures in stages. Scarring fades quickly. Swelling and discoloration decrease within one week. Tightness in your face will be present for several weeks and there may be slight changes in your hair pattern around the incision. We recommend that you avoid the sun for several weeks after surgery.
Complications following facelift are rare. These include bleeding, infection, loss of skin behind the ears, facial nerve injury, discoloration of the skin, numbness, asymmetry and scarring. Infection is rare due to the large blood supply to the face. As mentioned, the risk of bleeding is greater if you take aspirin or blood thinners within 2 weeks of the surgery. The risk of wound complications increases in diabetics, persons with a history of radiation, autoimmune and collagen disease as well as in smokers.
By following pre- and post-operative instructions, you will significanlty minimize potential problems. Dr. Sofola and his staff will closely assist you with this important step.
Recovery: What to Expect
Even though most patients experience very little pain after surgery, the surgeon will still prescribe medication. Some degree of swelling is unavoidable, and your surgeon may instruct you to use cold compresses to keep swelling to a minimum. The surgeon will also instruct you to keep your head elevated
when lying down, to avoid as much activity as possible, and to report any undue discomfort.
In the weeks following surgery, the facial skin and area around the ear may be numb. There may also be some temporary discoloration as healing begins, which may take a few weeks to disappear. Dr. Sofola and his team of aestheticians will work very closely with you to ensure that your recovery is pleasant and event free.
The healing process is gradual, so you will not notice final results for up to 6 months. A single procedure often achieves the desired results. Most patients who have had facelifts are pleased with their new, more youthful appearance.