Men and women who are considering facial rejuvenation through a facelift, or rhytidectomy, procedure have many more options available today than ever before. Advances in technology and surgical technique are allowing surgeons to employ less-invasive methods of tightening excess facial tissue to achieve a longer-lasting, more youthful appearance for their patients.

Those who are looking to treat aging of the lower face, which includes removal of sagging cheeks or jowls and loose skin or “wattles” underneath the chin, are the best candidates for the traditional facelift procedure. Patients who choose facelift may range in age from their 40s to 60s and up, depending on the degree of sagging and wrinkling as well as overall health. Since the needs of patients seeking facelift surgery in their 40s are vastly different than those encountered in their 60s, different surgical and non-surgical options will be offered depending on each individual’s situation and goals.

In a traditional facelift, incisions are made at the temple, around and then behind the ear and into the hairline. The skin is then lifted for access to the underlying muscles and connective tissue which are tightened and secured with sutures. The result is a smoother, more refined jawline and neck, giving the patient an overall refreshed, more youthful look. Traditional facelifting is generally recommended for women in their fifties and older.

As with any surgical procedure, there are certain risks associated with facelift. Bleeding, scarring, infection, numbness, unsatisfactory results, and other outcomes requiring revision procedures are all possibilities. It is also important to note that fine lines and deep wrinkles cannot be completely removed and skin pigmentation problems cannot be corrected through facelift. A browlift, cheek lift and/or eyelid lift may be necessary to address sagging in the upper face and skin resurfacing treatments may be needed for pigmentation and texture problems. Thorough consultation with a highly qualified, board-certified surgeon to discuss these risks and limitations will help ensure that you understand them completely and have realistic expectations regarding results.

Recovery from a traditional facelift takes about three weeks during which swelling and bruising will dissipate, though incisions may take up to six months to heal. For the first few weeks, patients should refrain from any activity that would stress or put pressure on the treated areas in order to give the tissues time to heal in their new positions. Your surgeon will provide important instructions on caring for the incisions, and will prescribe medications to help with any discomfort and to prevent infection.