Rhytidectomy (Facelift, Minifacelift, & Necklift)
As the population ages, face and neck lift surgery (called rhytidectomy) has become the third most desired facial plastic procedure. With facial aging, the skin and tissues lose volume and loosen on the face and neck. Crow's feet around the eyes and forehead lines also appear and deepen. The jawline also becomes undefined and jowls begin to form and banding in the front of the neck occurs. All of these aging changes are due to a number of factors including genetics, tobacco use, and sun exposure.
The goal of face and neck lifting is to improve the overall facial appearance and obtain a youthful, but natural look. This procedure can be successful on patients from their thirties to eighties. A facelift cannot stop the aging process; however it can reverse some of the tell-tale signs of aging. Many patients also experience increased self-confidence as a result of the procedure.
Some patients decide to have neck liposuction to remove excess fatty deposits in conjunction with a facelift. However, more important is the need for replacing the lost facial volume that occurs with age. This is especially important around the eyes and in the cheek regions and can be completed with a fat transfer at the same time as the facelift. Dr. Meier is an expert on this procedure and has recently published the landmark article on clinical fat transfer results that last.
Dr. Meier, in an individualized consultation, will examine the structure of your face, skin texture, color, and elasticity. He will then take a thorough medical history to determine if you are a good candidate for the surgery. Expectations and recovery time-frame will be discussed and Dr. Meier will answer any questions or concerns you have regarding the procedure.
About The Surgery
Dr. Meier begins the surgery by making a small incision under the chin in a natural crease. He then contours, sculpts, and tightens the neck. He then makes incisions just inside the hairline in front and above the ear in order to provide a well hidden scar when healed. The incision continues around the ear and into the scalp behind the ear. The lax skin and underlying tissues are raised, repositioned, then tightened to improve the jawline and neck, eliminate jowling, and smooth deep facial lines. It is important to realize that a face and neck lift only address the lower portions of the face and other ancillary procedures would be necessary to improve the regions around the eyes, brows, and midface.
After trimming the excess skin, Dr. Meier closes the incisions with fine sutures. Depending on the extent of the surgery and additional procedures, the process can take from two to five hours. Most often the procedure is performed with a combination of mild sedatives, local anesthesia, and a mild intravenous anesthesia which allows for maximum comfort and recovery. Dr. Meier works only with board-certified anesthesiologists.
After The Surgery
Dr. Meier uses a new tissue sealant that replaces the bulky and uncomfortable bandages typically worn after facelift surgery. He also does not place drains, therefore patients can better focus on recovery rather than bandages and drains. Most patients experience very little discomfort after surgery; however Dr. Meier will prescribe pain medication to be used if needed. Some degree of swelling and bruising is unavoidable and cold compresses with head elevation will keep swelling to a minimum. Detailed instructions regarding care of incisions and other aspects of recovery will be given to you. All sutures are removed within five to seven days following surgery.
Recovery usually takes two to three weeks, though many patients go back to work within two weeks. Scars are well hidden and not usually apparent after enough time has passed for them to mature. Follow-up care is important so Dr. Meier can monitor the healing process.