Want to look years younger safely and comfortably? Get informed about receiving your rhytidectomy, face lift performed by cosmetic surgeon, Randolph C. Robinson, MD, DDS, FAACS:
The face lift (sometimes spelled as one word, ‘facelift‘) is a cosmetic surgery that can restore youthful contours on your face which have become obscured with the effects of gravity and aging.
The procedure can set the clock back seven to 10 years; although, it does not stop the aging process. Most effects of a face lift will last about 10 years, and often the procedure is combined with other operations such as eyelid surgery, the removal of fat from under the chin, and/or a brow lift.
The technical term for a face lift operation is rhytidectomy, which literally means to cut away wrinkles. This term has led to the misconception that a face lift will remove all the wrinkles of the face. It will not. It will only remove the sagging areas. The procedure has many variations, depending on the needs of the patient. The most common need is to remove the jowls along the jaw line that occur from sagging skin and fat.
Fine wrinkles form over time from repeated facial expressions (smile lines and crow’s feet) sun damage, dryness, exposure to nicotine, fatigue, and stress. These lines are only moderately diminished by a face lift and may be more effectively treated by a rejuvenation procedure such as a chemical peel or a laser resurfacing.
You can learn more about face lift procedures from the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery: ABCS Facelift Guide.
The Rhytidectomy Procedure
The outpatient operation is performed in three to four hours. Most patients prefer a general anesthetic rather than an intravenous (IV) sedation. The incisions begin at the temple, go around the ears, and then back into the scalp. The hair around the incisions does not need to be shaved. The scars usually fade to fine white lines. The incisions are slightly different for a man because of the hair-bearing skin of the face. Also, the incision will vary depending on how you usually wear your hair.
The skin is elevated and any excess fat contoured. Then the muscle layer is lifted separately and tightened. The skin is then advanced into the new position, trimmed of any excess, and sewn into place. Self-resorbing stitches are placed under the skin surface. Stitches that must be removed are placed along the incision edges.
Other procedures can be performed with the face lift, including brow lifts, chin surgery, eyelid surgery, nasal surgery, and liposuction. Sometimes dermabrasion or laser skin resurfacing of the lips is done at the same time.
The day after surgery, your surgeon will remove bandages and check the surgical sites. The sutures in front of the ears are removed on the seventh day, and the sutures in the scalp are removed 14 days after surgery.
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The recovery time generally takes up to 10 days, and it’s best to have someone who can care – be present and attentive – for you the first 48 hours, either at home or in a local hotel.
Substantial swelling is to be expected but usually begins to subside after three days. Bruising and discoloration are most visible four days after surgery and then both begin to fade. Swelling, the body’s normal response to injury, will peak on the third or fourth day after surgery.
Steroids are occasionally given to help reduce the amount of post-surgical swelling. Ice packs and elevating the head of the bed also help reduce the amount of swelling.
A temporary skin color change, usually reddish or light purple, will result after a face lift and will fade over the weeks following surgery. Associated bruising may also occur and, like the swelling, will be most apparent three or four days after surgery. Bruising may extend to the chest and will change in color from dark to greenish to yellow as it fades.
After the first set of sutures is removed at seven days, the discoloration may be hidden. Tips include hiding facial bruising with makeup, neck discoloration with a high collar or a scarf, and eye bruising with sunglasses.
After advancing the skin to remove the sagging, patients usually experience some numbness, most commonly around the part of the face near the ears and upper part of the neck. In about six weeks the numbness begins to resolve and usually the sensation returns over the next few months. Limited numbness, however, sometimes is permanent.
Is a face lift painful?
The amount of pain following surgery is not severe. The swelling is uncomfortable and patients often have some difficulty sleeping. The bandages feel confining and may cause a pressure sensation on the ears. But you may remove the bandage the day after surgery. Pain relief medication and sleeping pills are available as needed.
Nausea can occur after surgery; sometimes caused by the anesthetics and strong pain relief medicines. Eat a small amount of food with each pill (e.g. soda crackers or foods that you can see through; initially avoid dairy products). This can help alleviate nausea.
What can I eat after my face lift surgery?
On the first post-operative day, if you don’t feel like eating, don’t force yourself to eat. Take the pain pill with repeated sips of clear liquids that you can tolerate, e.g. ‘flat’ 7-Up, ginger ale, water, apple juice, etc. Call our office if you do not feel better, or if repeated vomiting is a problem.
The typical oral medications prescribed for you after surgery include pain relief medication, anti-nausea medication, an antibiotic to prevent infections, and sleeping pills as needed. Also, steroids may be prescribed to decrease swelling. Continue taking any prescribed medications except aspirin-containing compounds, ibuprofen (like Advil), or drugs that cause increased bleeding, such as Vitamin E or Coumadin.
Apply topical antibiotic ointment, such as Neosporin, on your incisions several times daily. Clean the incisions. Then apply the ointment with a diluted hydrogen peroxide and water solution. This routine is to avoid crusting, which can increase scarring at the incision sites.
Exercise & diet after surgery
Do not engage in strenuous activity, lift anything heavier than 10 pounds, bend over, or strain for the first four weeks after surgery. Since the pain relief medicine may cause constipation, a laxative may help to avoid straining. Light walking or similar activity is acceptable and will help you feel better. Avoid sexual relations for 10 days.
Most patients may eat whatever they enjoy eating for a balanced diet. Take a daily multiple vitamin with iron (on a full stomach). Also take 1,000 mg of vitamin C, taken in four divided doses daily. The first few days following surgery, some patients notice difficulty chewing because of the tightness of the skin.
Any surgery has possible complications. The risks with a face lift include: bleeding, infection, scarring over the incisions, skin loss, irregular contours, numbness, and loss of facial movement. Sun exposure following a face lift can result in color changes in the skin. Possible anesthetic complications include drug reactions, pneumonia, or heart attack.
- Arrange for someone to take you home and stay with you, available as needed to assist in your walking, bathing, and eating, after the operation for the first 48 hours.
- Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the operation. Let Dr. Robinson know about any medication complications you have.
- Wash your face and shampoo your hair the morning of surgery, but do not apply makeup to your face.
- Wear comfortable clothes that are loose and easy to put on. Wear shirts with front buttons.
- Take medications with only a sip of water as directed by your surgeon.
- Take no aspirin, ibuprofen, blood-thinning medications, or vitamin E beginning two weeks before surgery, unless otherwise directed by your surgeon.
- You should arrange for at least 10 days of convalescence. Avoid driving and air travel for 10 days.
- For better healing, a more youthful appearance, and general well-being, permanently stop smoking. But especially do not smoke for at least two weeks prior to your surgery so your lungs will function better after the anesthesia with less risk of pneumonia.
- Maintain your weight to within five to ten pounds of your weight at the time of your face lift.
- Keep your head elevated on two pillows for two weeks.
- Do not engage in strenuous activity for four weeks.
- Do not lift anything heavier than 10 pounds for four weeks.
- To prevent any stress to your incision lines in your neck, do not turn your head suddenly or side-to-side for two weeks. If you must turn, then turn from the shoulders.
- Eat a balanced diet as you desire, but you may want to eat only lightly the first day after surgery.
- Continue to drink plenty of fluids, limiting alcohol as it may impact your balance and interact with your post-operative medications.
- Take anti-nausea medication, as prescribed when needed.
- Wear the night support provided for at least two weeks.
- Take one multiple vitamin with iron (on a full stomach) and 1,000 mg of vitamin C, in four 250 mg doses, daily for six weeks following surgery.
- Keep incisions clean with hydrogen peroxide three times daily, then apply an antibiotic ointment, like Neosporin, to the incision after each cleaning.
- You may wash your hair and face the day after surgery, but do not allow the water to hit your face directly for one week.
- Call if:
- medication doesn’t relieve your pain
- nausea and vomiting persist, despite taking anti-nausea medications
- your have bright red bleeding
- bleeding necessitates changing the dressing every hour
- swelling is asymmetric (uneven) or sudden over one to two hours
- temperature is greater than 101.0° F by mouth
- Wear at least a 20 SPF sunscreen and sun hat when outside.
Request a free cosmetic consultation for your face lift procedure in Denver, Colorado
Your search for ‘face lift denver‘ is over. Dr. Randolph Robinson is a highly respected Denver face lift surgeon. He has vast training and experience performing numerous facial procedures. This best assures you optimal results. Schedule your free cosmetic facial consultation today.