A rhytidectomy or facelift is a procedure to tighten and lift the skin of the lower face. As we age a number of changes take place with our face. The face, in particular the cheeks, begin to lose volume. The main bulk of the cheek volume also moves downwards with gravity. The skin loses its elasticity and so becomes more loose and sags more.
Consequently, the nasolablial folds (nose to mouth lines), marionette lines (angle of mouth lines), and jowls begin to appear. Most patients undergoing this procedure will be between 40 to 60 years of age. They will have started to experience sagging of the skin around the lower face and neck.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are a number of different types that have been described. These include the one-stitch lift; puppet lift; liquid facelift; mini-facelift; SMAS lift; and, MACS lift to name a few. The one-stitch, thread and puppet lift procedures are regarded as minimally invasive options that involve placing threads underneath the skin to lift it. These are generally performed in clinic under local anaesthetic. The effects of this type of procedure may last up to 2 years. The liquid facelift refers to the use of fillers to replace volume and help provide some lift to the sagging skin. This again has a relatively short term effect lasting up to 12 to 18 months. There are also new technology procedures such as the FaceTite or Morpheus8 that use radiofrequency for skin tightening.
The mini procedure involves removal of skin from the face and tightening of the underlying tissues. The extent of a mini procedure is much less than a full one. This means that not all patients may be suitable for this and the results will be more subtle. The mini facelift can be performed under local anaesthesia and as a day case procedure. The full lift procedure will require a general anaesthetic.
A full facelift is a procedure that involves raising the skin of the face and tightening the underlying SMAS layer. The skin is then redraped and any excess skin trimmed. The scars of a facelift are usually well hidden in the hairline and around the ear.
A thread lift is a procedure that involves placing a special thread just underneath the skin. The skin can then be pulled over the thread to lift the sagging skin and improve the jowls. Thread lifts are also temporary and will last for about 1 year.
There is a popular phrase amongst plastic surgeons that ‘it will turn back the clock but will not stop it ticking.’ This means that although the effects will be longstanding for several years the ageing process will continue. The results from less invasive procedures will be less than a full facelift.
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