Facelift / Rhytidectomy/ Cosmetic Surgery of the Face

Facelift / Rhytidectomy/ Cosmetic Surgery of the Face

Sagging or wrinkled skin occurs naturally with increasing age. Folds and fat deposits appear around the neck, and deep flexion creases form between the nose and mouth. The jawline grows "jowly" and slack. Heredity, poor diet, smoking, or obesity may contribute to early or severe skin problems.


A facelift can help repair some of the visible damage to skin, fat, and muscles and can restore a "younger" look. A facelift can be done alone or with nose reshaping , a forehead lift , or eyelid surgery.

A facelift is a surgical procedure to repair sagging, drooping, and wrinkled skin of the face and neck. It is performed to improve visible signs of aging, poor diet, or heredity; it is performed by removing excess fat, tightening underlying muscles, and redraping facial and neck skin.

While the patient is sleepy (sedated) and pain-free (local anesthesia) or deep asleep and pain-free (general anesthesia), the plastic surgeon makes incisions above the hairline at the temples, behind the earlobe, to the lower scalp.

The surgeon removes some of the fat tissue and loose skin, then stitches (sutures) the incisions closed. The fat tissue is called the SMAS layer and is the primary lifting portion of the facelift.

A "thread lift" procedure provides many of the benefits of a face lift, without the risks or recovery time, according to an expert who outlined the procedure Thursday at a meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology in San Diego.

"Thread lifts can be an alternative to a face lift for patients who want lifting and tightening of their cheeks, mid-face, jowls or eyebrows, but don't want to undergo major surgery," Dr. Victor A. Neel, director of dermatological surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, said in a prepared statement.

"Patients find that it gives a more natural result and is very easy to tolerate, because it is done with local anesthetic in the doctor's office," Neel said.

During the procedure, the dermatologist places a special thread below the skin. The thread is used to lift sagging skin and tissue, which is anchored underneath the hairline. The procedure takes about an hour.

Potential side effects include bruising and swelling that can last for a week. Some patients have reported being able to see or feel the sutures under their skin.

A thread lift is not permanent. It lasts about two to three years.

"While this is a great option for some patients, it's not something that will work for everyone with sagging skin. Patients who are interested in thread lifts should discuss their expectations carefully with their dermatologist," Neel said.

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