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Are you considering a rhytidectomy to get the perfectly sculpted face you have always longed for? In 2016 alone, 107261 women opted for a rhytidectomy in the United States. A rhytidectomy is a highly popular form of plastic surgery that helps your face recovers its youthful look. Here we will tell you all you need to know about a rhytidectomy, including the procedures involved and ways to recover speedily after the surgery.
What is Rhytidectomy?
A rhytidectomy, colloquially known as a facelift, is a surgical procedure in which excess skin on the patient’s face is tightened and removed in order to create younger-looking skin and a more youthful appearance overall.
As you age, your skin loses its elasticity and starts sagging, and your facial muscles also weaken. All of this causes your facial skin to start drooping and forming deep creases around areas such as the mouth and nose, while also creating jowls below your chin. Such features are typically considered unattractive and may hurt your self-confidence. By undergoing a rhytidectomy, you can tighten all of this excess or loose skin and create a more taut appearance for your face. You can also tighten or reposition the underlying muscles for an enhanced appearance of tightness. The result will be much younger-looking skin and more shapely features that help you look more attractive and enhance your confidence levels.
A rhytidectomy can be combined with other forms of facial plastic surgery, such as a brow lift, a blepharoplasty or a rhinoplasty, in order to achieve the maximum beneficial effects.
Why is it best?
- It is a comprehensive procedure that treats 1. Loose skin and wrinkles, 2. Muscle laxity, and 3. Excess fat.
- It can tighten loose skin that is hanging around the jawline also known as jowls.
- It can remove any deep creases around the nose and mouth that exaggerate the look of aged, tired skin.
- It can remove any extra fat deposits below the chin and in other pockets of the face.
- It can tighten the underlying tissues of the skin to help support the tighter skin more effectively.
- Any healthy adult who wants to improve the appearance of his or her facial skin can opt for a rhytidectomy.
- It lends well to combination with other facial surgical procedures for a more enhanced look.
- The procedure takes only a few hours and the patient can go home the same day.
How to prepare for Rhytidectomy?
A rhytidectomy is a fairly complex procedure as it involves altering the look of your entire face. It is thus important that you research thoroughly about what the results will be like and what you can expect, as even small changes to the facial structure often make a big difference. Keep the following points in mind when preparing to undergo a rhytidectomy.
Thoroughly research on your doctor
A rhytidectomy is a delicate procedure and thus requires you to opt for a highly experienced plastic surgeon with a strong track record of successful facelifts. Consult your family members, friends and colleagues for recommendations if they have undergone a rhytidectomy themselves.
Provide accurate medical information
our doctor will require a full medical history from you prior to the rhytidectomy to assess your fitness for the surgery. This will include any past surgeries you have undergone, the medical conditions and allergies you are currently suffering from, the medication you currently take and your history of substance use including alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. It is essential that you not withhold any information here as this could impact whether or not you are eligible for the surgery. For instance, if you tend to bleed excessively or have heart disease, your doctor may decline to perform a rhytidectomy and discuss non-surgical alternatives with you. In addition, your allergies will determine the type of anesthesia given to you.
Be open about your expectations from the surgery
You will likely have certain expectations about the kind of facial features you want after going for a rhytidectomy. It is crucial that you share all these expectations frankly with your doctor so that he or she can determine how best to conduct the surgery and also show you exactly what is feasible and what is not. Typically, your doctor will take multiple photos of your face from different angles and use software to manipulate them into ‘before-and-after’ images to show you what you can realistically expect from the procedure. This is also the time to discuss aspects related to side effects and how you can combat any side effects that crop up for you.
Consider opting for other facial surgeries as well
While a rhytidectomy does an excellent job of restructuring your face and giving your skin a younger, tighter appearance, there are several other procedures that you can opt for along with it to give your face an even more enhanced look. For instance, consider a lip lift to get plumper lips or a brow lift for a more alert, youthful look around the brows and eyes. Discuss the benefits and risks of each with your doctor and agree on procedures that will give you your desired effects.
The Rhytidectomy Procedure
A rhytidectomy will usually be conducted in an outpatient environment in a licensed surgical clinic or a hospital. You will need to bring along a family member or friend who can escort you home after the surgery and stay with you for the first night to help you out. A typical rhytidectomy usually involves the following steps –
- The surgeon administers intravenous sedation or general anaesthesia to put you under for the duration of the surgery.
- Incisions are made in your face for fat, tissue, and skin to be removed. Typically, incisions may start at your hairline and then extend downward, and may be larger or smaller as needed. Excess fat and tissue are removed from the deeper pockets of the face and the rest of the skin is pulled towards each other and trimmed of any excess.
- The incisions are usually held closed with sutures that may require removal after a few days or could dissolve on their own. The sutures are held in position with staples or surgical tape. Your doctor may attach a small drainage tube to the side of the wound to siphon off any excess fluid or blood that seeps out.
- Bandages are applied over the wound for support and protection.
New techniques for Rhytidectomy
Apart from the traditional process detailed above, there are several modern techniques that find application in rhytidectomy which can be listed as follows.
1. Laser-assisted surgery involves cutting a one-inch incision beneath the chin and using lasers to melt the excess fat deposits. This is a quick way of getting rid of fat but comes with some risk of burn marks on the skin.
2. Endoscopy is another method that has gained popularity – this involves the use of a small camera attached to a thin tube for greater precision during the surgery. This also means that smaller incisions are needed, which implies faster healing time.
3. Small incisions can be made in the frontal hairline to help lift the forehead more tightly – the skin is then attached firmly to the deeper tissues to smoothen out the look.
4. Liposuction can be used to extract pockets of fat from the face and neck. It can be done separately or along with a rhytidectomy.
Post-care treatment after Rhytidectomy
Once your rhytidectomy is complete, you will usually be allowed to go home the same day. Keep the following tips in mind during your recovery period so that your surgery wound heals fast.
- Some bruising, swelling and pain are completely normal after the procedure. Ask your doctor for pain medications to help you deal with it more effectively.
- You may notice some numbness in the facial area – while this is normal initially, consult a doctor if it persists beyond a week or ten days.
- It is crucial that you completely stop smoking and using any tobacco products after the surgery, as these could heighten your chances of slow healing and infection.
- Carefully follow all the instructions given by your doctor with regard to changing bandages, applying medications and getting your sutures removed.
- Apply sunscreen every time you go out so as to protect your skin from sun exposure.
- You can resume work or school after around two weeks – however, avoid strenuous physical activity until at least a month after the surgery.
- It is critical to remember that the effects of rhytidectomy are not always permanent. Research illustrates that 21% of such surgeries relapsed five and a half years after the surgery – however, 76% of the patients still retained their youthful looks. Be aware of this before signing up for the procedure and keep your expectations at a realistic level. Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and an appropriate exercise regime can help you maintain your post-rhytidectomy looks.