FACELIFT SURGERY (RHYTIDECTOMY)
What Is a Facelift, and Why Choose Our St. Louis Practice?
West County Plastic Surgeons specializes in facelift surgery, helping St. Louis men and women rejuvenate and freshen their appearance. Also known as a rhytidectomy, a facelift works by tightening the skin on the lower face to smooth nasolabial folds (deep creases between the cheeks and upper lip), define the jaw line, reduce droopy skin or “jowling” along the jaw, and correct sagging or wrinkled neck skin. Liposuction below the chin is often used in conjunction with facelift surgery. Fat transfer or fat grafting is also used to help restore a more youthful but natural appearance to the midface. In spite of many alternative procedures and treatments available, facelift surgery remains the gold standard in facial rejuvenation simply because it can deliver the greatest, most lasting improvements with one procedure.
Thousands of patients have trusted board-certified plastic surgeons Dr. Terry Myckatyn and Dr. Marissa Tenenbaum to perform their facelift surgery. At West County Plastic Surgeons, we believe that once you schedule your initial consultation, you will understand why: Our patients come first, so we make every effort to be approachable, compassionate, and good listeners. We value good communication because it helps us meet each patient’s individual expectations. In addition, because we are part of the Washington University School of Medicine, our surgeons stay abreast of the most advanced techniques and technologies in plastic surgery so that they can help you achieve beautiful, satisfying, safe results.
What Are My Facelift Options?
West County Plastic Surgeons performs four primary facelift types at our St. Louis practice: standard, short-scar, neck lift and mini-facelift. These versions differ based on the number of facial layers that are lifted, the length of the incision used to perform the procedure, and subtle nuances in technique. In general, procedures that involve longer incisions or more extensive manipulation of the facial tissues typically offer more dramatic results, but they also generally involve longer recovery time. Dr Tenenbaum or Dr. Myckatyn will explain which procedure they think will best suit your needs. For detailed information about the standard facelift options we offer, see below:
Standard facelift. In this procedure, one long incision is created along the hairline above the ear, through the natural crease in front of the ear, behind the ear, and into the upper neck hair. The skin is then lifted toward the central face and redraped in a more youthful position. In addition, the supportive connective tissue of the face, or superficial myoaponeurotic system (SMAS), is either pulled, partially removed and tightened, or elevated and pulled in an upward direction before being secured in a more youthful position. Most facelifts include some combination of these techniques; the degree to which the skin and SMAS are manipulated usually differentiates the various techniques. In addition, some facelifts will transition between the skin, SMAS, and even facial muscle planes to achieve the desired goals of facial rejuvenation. The best candidates for a standard facelift are 45 or older and are seeking a more dramatic rejuvenation of the face, a significant reduction or tightening of redundant neck skin, or both.
Short-scar facelift. A relatively short scar differentiates the short-scar from the traditional facelift. In a short-scar procedure, the scar usually starts in the hair just above the ear and then extends in the natural crease immediately in front of the ear. It stops at the base of the ear rather than extending behind the ear. As in a standard procedure, the skin and SMAS layers are elevated and manipulated. To address fat pads under the jaw, a patient may undergo a neck liposuction along with a short-scar facelift. The best candidates for this procedure are people seeking to refine features of the central and lower thirds of the face around the cheeks and jawline, but who do not have large amounts of loose neck skin.
Neck lift. This procedure involves creating an incision that travels behind the ear and, possibly, curves immediately in front of the ear. The goal of this surgery is to improve the neck skin through a combination of skin-tightening, stitch, muscle-pulling, and fat-removing techniques. The best candidates for a necklift are people who are satisfied with their facial appearance, but wish to improve only loose or excess skin on their neck.
Mini-facelift. This in-office procedure is performed with the patient under local anesthesia, and it involves creating a short incision immediately in front of the ear. The skin is then lifted and redraped to a more youthful position, and the SMAS layer is repositioned to provide a longer-lasting result. A mini-facelift is best for people who seek an office-based facial rejuvenation that will provide moderate improvements to the central and lower thirds of the face. Combined with fractionated laser resurfacing or other office-based procedures like upper-lid blepharoplasty and neck liposuction, the mini-facelift can serve as part of a comprehensive facial rejuvenation package that can be performed in a comfortable office setting.
Click here to view an informative video on facelifts.
Facelift Surgery: What You Should Know
Anesthesia: Standard and short-scar facelifts are usually performed with the patient under general anesthesia, while mini-facelifts are typically performed in the office with the patient under local anesthesia.
Length of procedure: 1 to 5 hours, depending on technique chosen.
Estimated recovery time: Patients can return to work after 5 to 14 days, depending on the technique chosen, but should avoid vigorous activities for 2 to 3 weeks. Visible bruising or swelling should resolve within 1 to 2 weeks. To learn how to prepare for a facelift and what to expect afterwards, click here to download our patient instructions.
Side effects: Common side effects include bruising, swelling, a well-hidden scar, and some cheek numbness. Muscles that raise your eyebrows or lift the bottom corners of your lips may be weak for 1 to 3 weeks after surgery. Click here to download a detailed consent form from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons that lists the risks and benefits of this procedure.
Before-and-after photos of facelift results: Click here
Procedures That Complement Facelift Surgery
Although a facelift is a plastic surgeon’s most powerful technique for rejuvenating the lower two-thirds of the face and neck, it does have a few limitations that can be addressed by other techniques. When performed together, the following can provide a comprehensive approach to facial rejuvenation:
Before & After
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- Fractionated laser resurfacing. Fractionated laser resurfacing provides an effective, low-downtime solution for treating fine wrinkles and blotchy skin throughout the face. It can also address the deeper wrinkles around the mouth and eyes.
- Upper-lid blepharoplasty (upper-eyelid lift).A facelift does not address issues concerning the upper eyelid. An upper-lid blepharoplasty provides crisper contour to the upper eyelid by removing redundant skin.
- Lower-eyelid blepharoplasty (lower-eyelid lift). Depending on the style performed and your specific concerns, a facelift effects only moderate improvement to the lower eyelids. To rejuvenate this area, we recommend a lower-lid blepharoplasty, which tightens extra skin, removes fat bulges, and smooths the contour between the lower eyelid and the cheek.
- Brow lift (forehead lift). Whereas a facelift rejuvenates the lower two-thirds of the face, a brow lift can help rejuvenate the upper face. This procedure reduces forehead and frown-line wrinkles, and it repositions the eyebrows with well-concealed incisions.
- Fat grafting. Autologous (your own) fat grafting, also know as fat transfer, can restore lost facial volume and rejuvenate your appearance. Your own fat may be used to replace lost volume in the lower cheekbone area, the folds between the cheeks and the upper lips, and between the jowl and the chin. This is very commonly combined with facelift surgery.
- Dermabrasion. This technique removes a superficial layer of skin. This skin then heals over the next few days, and the new skin looks smoother and has fewer wrinkles.
Combining facelift surgery with other procedures or treatments can help you achieve your aesthetic goals. To learn more about which procedure, or combination of procedures, might be right for you, contact our St. Louis office by phoning (314) 996-8800, requesting your consultation online, or emailing us today.