Facelift or rhytidectomy procedures have gotten an undeservedly bad rap lately. Due to poorly performed, pulled and overdone procedures on visible celebrities, the procedure has unnecessarily created fear for many. In contrast, the procedure in reality, in the right hands, is very natural appearing, highly effective, and actually safe!

The goals of a facelift procedure are not always what is commonly believed. Simple wrinkle removal via stretching (the actual translation of rhytidectomy) is certainly NOT the goal of the procedure. The actual goals of the procedure are the restoration of a youthful shape to the neck, a sharpening of the jawline, and a restoration of the cheek tissue upward to its youthful position. This shape improvement restores an aesthetically pleasing youthful harmony to the lower facial structures.

Facelifting procedures are actually a natural way to rejuvenate the neck and jawline when performed well. Incisions are hidden and camouflaged in the curved creases around the ear. The muscle layer known as “the deep plane” is entered and freed. The actual lifting works because the cheek and neck tissue freed by the deep plane approach actually heals into its new position.

A wrap is worn for 24-48 hours post-procedure. The recovery time is surprisingly rapid, and most people can be out in public within 7-10 days of the surgery, with a complete return to most activity within a month.

We perform two variations on the facelift procedure

Focus Lift (Neck and Jawline Lift)

This procedure specifically targets just the jawline and upper neck preferentially, and can be performed under local anesthesia.

Deep Plane Facelift

This procedure comprehensively lifts the cheek as a complete unit, involves more extensive work and recovery time, but can result in more complete improvement in the cheek area above the neck and jawline and potentially can be longer lasting.

Filler Techniques

In many cases, an alternative or complement to surgery is the use of facial fillers. The most commonly used soft tissue filler in our practice is the hyaluronic acid family (Restylane™ and Juvederm™ family of products). These can provide in many cases excellent improvements in facial contour. While these products are only FDA approved for the smile lines (naso-labial folds), they can be used to improve contour in nearly every part of the face. They work by filling the bottom of a line, wrinkle or fold in order to flatten it, and decrease its noticeability. We find that this can be particularly effective in FDA off label use at the “marionette lines”, jowl, glabella and in the creases below the eyes.

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