When considering a facelift, also called rhytidectomy surgery, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of the procedure and what it entails. A rhytidectomy can help reduce signs of ageing such as skin laxity. However, it’s an invasive surgery and has risks and potential complications. Before you undertake a facelift (rhytidectomy), make sure that you ask your surgeon the six vital questions we’ll discuss in this blog.
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Questions to Ask Your Surgeon before Getting a Facelift (Rhytidectomy) Surgery
Getting rhytidectomy surgery is a significant decision, and it is important to make sure that you have all the necessary information before you undergo the procedure. Here are some questions you can ask your surgeon before making your decision:
1. What are the different types of rhytidectomy procedures, and which one do you recommend for me?
Before undergoing a complex plastic surgery procedure, it’s important to know the details and specifics of the intervention. There are several types of facelift (rhytidectomy) procedures, including:
- Traditional rhytidectomy: This procedure involves making incisions along the hairline and around the ears to lift and reposition the facial skin and underlying tissues
- Mini rhytidectomy: This is a less invasive version of a traditional procedure that involves smaller incisions and less skin and tissue manipulation. It might be suitable for those with mild to moderate facial laxity in the midface or jowls
- Mid rhytidectomy: This procedure focuses on the middle of the face, including the cheeks and under the eyes, and can be combined with other procedures, like a mini rhytidectomy or neck lift (platysmaplasty)
- Non-surgical rhytidectomy: This is a non-invasive procedure that uses injections or other non-surgical techniques, such as dermal fillers, muscle relaxants, or laser resurfacing
The best type of facelift (rhytidectomy) for you depends on several factors, including your individual anatomy, skin quality, and personal goals. It’s important to consult with a specialist plastic surgeon who can evaluate your specific needs and recommend the best course of action.
2. Can you explain the facelift rhytidectomy procedure, including the risks and potential complications?
A facelift, also known as a rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure designed to target and reduce facial laxity by lifting and tightening the skin and underlying tissues. The procedure typically involves making incisions in the hairline, around the ears, and sometimes under the chin. Your surgeon will then lift and reposition the facial tissues and remove any excess skin.
As with any surgery, there are risks and potential complications associated with a rhytidectomy. Some of the most common risks include:
- Bleeding: Excessive bleeding during or after the procedure can lead to complications
- Infection: There is always a risk of infection with any surgical procedure, including a facelift
- Nerve damage: The facial nerves can be damaged during the procedure, which can lead to temporary or permanent numbness, weakness, or paralysis
- Scarring: While the incisions are typically well-hidden, there is always a risk of visible scarring
- Skin necrosis: In rare cases, the skin may not heal properly, leading to tissue death and potential scarring
- Haematoma: This is a collection of blood under the skin that can occur after surgery and may require additional treatment
- Seroma: This is a build-up of fluid under the skin that can also occur after surgery and may require additional treatment
It’s important to note that while these risks are real, they are relatively rare when the procedure is performed by a qualified and experienced surgeon. Before undergoing a facelift (rhytidectomy), it’s important to have a thorough consultation with your surgeon to discuss your individual risks and potential complications.
3. What will I need to prepare before the rhytidectomy surgery?
There are some important steps you will need to take to prepare for facelift, or rhytidectomy, surgery. Your surgeon will likely provide you with specific instructions tailored to your individual needs, but some general preparation steps may include:
- Stop smoking: Smoking can impair healing and increase the risk of complications, so it’s important to quit smoking at least several weeks before the surgery
- Avoid certain medications and supplements: Your surgeon may advise you to stop taking certain medications and supplements, including aspirin and other blood-thinning medications, as these can increase the risk of bleeding
- Stay hydrated: It’s important to stay hydrated before and after the surgery to support healing and recovery
- Arrange for transportation and assistance: You will need to arrange for someone to drive you home after the surgery, and you may also need help with daily activities during the recovery period
- Prepare your home: You may need to make some adjustments to your home to ensure a safe and comfortable recovery, such as arranging a recovery space and making sure you have easy access to the things you will need
- Follow any other instructions from your surgeon: Your surgeon may provide you with additional instructions or recommendations to help you prepare for the surgery and help you attain a positive outcome
It’s important to follow all of your surgeon’s instructions carefully. Although this won’t eliminate the risks, it will help to minimise them and help your body in its post-op recovery.
4. What will be the recovery process like and how long will it take for me to heal completely?
Recovering from a facelift (rhytidectomy) surgery is a process that typically takes around two to three weeks to complete, depending on the individual. It may take longer than this, however, to be able to go back to your usual exercise routines. Generally, after the initial few days of recovery, you will experience some swelling and bruising, which can be reduced with the help of cold compresses and other treatments. You will also be advised to take rest and avoid any strenuous activity that may put pressure on the affected area.
You will be given specific instructions on how to clean and care for the affected area, which may include keeping the wound dry and moisturised. In addition to this, you may need to take certain medications to reduce pain, swelling, and infection.
It is important to follow all the instructions given by your surgeon, and attend regular follow-up visits to ensure that the healing process is going as planned. After the period of recovery, you should be able to enjoy the full benefits of the surgery.
5. How much will the procedure cost, and what does the cost include?
The cost of a facelift (rhytidectomy) in Australia can vary depending on several factors, including the location, the experience of the surgeon, the type of procedure, and any additional procedures that may be performed. In general, the cost of a rhytidectomy in Australia can range from around $10,000 to $25,000 AUD or more.
The cost typically includes:
- Surgeon’s fees: This includes the cost of the surgeon’s time and expertise
- Anaesthesia fees: This includes the cost of the anaesthesia used during the procedure
- Hospital or facility fees: This includes the cost of using the hospital or surgical facility, including the operating room and equipment
- Post-operative care: This includes any necessary follow-up visits with the surgeon or other healthcare providers
It’s important to note that the cost of a facelift (rhytidectomy) may not include other expenses, such as pre-operative tests or medications, and there may be additional fees for any complications or revision surgeries.
It’s also worth noting that some private health insurance plans in Australia may provide coverage for a portion of the cost of a facelift (rhytidectomy), depending on the specific plan and the reason for the procedure. However, it’s important to check with your insurer to confirm the details of your coverage.
6. How long will the results of the facelift rhytidectomy last, and what can I do to maintain them?
Facelift (rhytidectomy) results typically last between 5-10 years; however, this can vary depending on the patient’s age, skin type, and lifestyle. To help maintain the results, patients should follow a healthy and balanced diet, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and protect their skin from sun exposure by wearing sunscreen or a wide-brimmed hat. Additionally, patients should avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, as these can have negative effects on the skin. Finally, it is important to keep up with regular check-ups with your plastic surgeon.
These questions will help you to understand the facelift (rhytidectomy) procedure, its risks and benefits, and what you can expect before, during, and after the surgery. Be sure to also ask any additional questions or bring up any concerns you may have so that you can make an informed decision about the surgery.
FAQs about Facelift (Rhytidectomy) Surgery
What type of anaesthesia is used for facelift rhytidectomy surgery?
- There are several types of anaesthesia that are commonly used for rhytidectomy procedures. The type of anaesthesia used will depend on the individual’s medical history and the type of procedure being performed. General anaesthesia is the most common type and is designed to make the patient feel comfortable during the procedure. Local anaesthesia is an option for those who dislike the idea of being put to sleep, and is combined with a mild oral sedative to make the patient drowsy. Most lower face and neck lifts are performed using IV sedation. In this case, the level of sedation is much lower than with general anaesthesia, but the patient is still unconscious. Depending on the patient’s comfort level, they can choose the type of anaesthesia that best suits their needs.
What is the difference between the traditional and mini rhytidectomy?
- Traditional and mini rhytidectomy are two of the most common types of facial surgery. The traditional type of procedure targets the forehead, cheeks, neck, and jawline. The goal is to adjust the facial skin and structures to reduce the appearance of signs of ageing, according to patient goals. This surgery is most often done under general anaesthesia and requires an incision along the hairline. It can be used to address moderate to severe skin laxity in the lower face and neck region. The mini rhytidectomy, also known as a mini lift, is a less invasive version of the procedure. It is typically done under local anaesthesia and involves making small incisions around the ears and hairline. The mini rhytidectomy is designed to target the lower two-thirds of the face and can be used to address mild to moderate skin laxity. The recovery time is usually shorter than with the traditional option and the results are usually seen within a few weeks. However, the results may not last as long as with the traditional rhytidectomy.
Does rhytidectomy (facelift) include a platysmaplasty (neck lift) too?
- The facelift (rhytidectomy) procedure can be done on its own or combined with a neck lift, also known as platysmaplasty. During platysmaplasty surgery, excess skin and fat are removed from the neck area. This generally aims to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and excess skin in the lower face and neck region. When both procedures are done together, it is referred to as a lower rhytidectomy. The combined procedure reduces recovery time that would be required if both procedures were performed separately.
How long does it take to perform a facelift rhytidectomy surgery?
- Generally, a facelift or rhytidectomy procedure should take 2 to 4 hours, and you might be allowed to go home on the same day. However, sometimes the procedure takes longer if more extensive work is needed.
What is the best age to get a facelift (rhytidectomy)?
- There is no specific age that is best to get rhytidectomy surgery. Generally, a person might start wanting surgery when they become concerned about visible signs of ageing that can’t be treated without surgery. Tis might include wrinkles around the mouth and eyes, excess skin on the cheeks and neck, and jowls forming along the jawline. Most people who seek the procedure are between the ages of 40 and 70, as this is when the skin is still relatively elastic and can best respond to the procedure. However, some individuals may benefit from the procedure at an earlier age due to heredity or lifestyle factors. Ultimately, the best time to get a facelift (rhytidectomy) is when you are ready for it and have realistic expectations for the results.
Further Reading about Rhytidectomy Surgery
- Read Dr Hunt’s Deep Plane Rhytidectomy Page
- Read Dr Hunt’s Lower Rhytidectomy Surgery Page
- Read Dr Hunt’s Traditional Rhytidectomy Page
- Read Dr Hunt’s Mini Rhytidectomy Page
- Read Dr Hunt’s Neck and Chin Liposuction Page
Medical References about Facelift Surgery
- Rhytidectomy Procedure Steps
- Rhytidectomy – Mayo Clinic
- Facelift (rhytidectomy) – NHS
- Rhytidectomy Surgery Guide | The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery
- Facelift (Rhytidectomy): What Is It, Recovery & More
About Dr Jeremy Hunt – Specialist Plastic Surgeon
Dr Jeremy Hunt is a specialist plastic surgeon and a member of FRACS & ASPS. He has over 20 years of experience providing plastic surgery in Sydney.
Careful, considerate and honest, Dr Jeremy Hunt works with you to find a solution that is suitable for your body and your lifestyle. Every patient is unique and requires a personalised approach to reach their goals.
Dr Hunt has provided his one-on-one service and attention to detail to thousands of women and men from the Sydney & Wollongong NSW area and across Australia.
Dr Hunt’s qualifications and education
Dr Jeremy A. Hunt MBBS FRACS graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine degree from Sydney University in 1990 and is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and member of ASPS – the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons. He completed a Fellowship at the University of Texas in the United States, where he learnt from well-established and experienced plastic surgeons.
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Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health professional.