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  • A rhytidectomy is also called a facelift. It is a cosmetic (plastic) surgery that removes signs of aging, such as wrinkles in your face and neck. Your face and neck are made up of skin, fat, muscles, connective tissue, nerves, and ligaments. Connective tissue supports other tissue in your face, while facial ligaments attach your skin to your bone. Aging may cause your skin tissue to become thin. Extra fat also may form in the lower part of your face and neck. This may look like wrinkles, sagging cheeks, and loose skin on your neck and chin. Deep lines also may appear on the area between your cheeks and lips.
  • During a rhytidectomy, extra fat around your eyes, cheeks, and chin may be removed. The muscles and tissue in your cheeks or neck may be lifted and tightened. Sagging skin is pulled up and extra skin may need to be removed. A rhytidectomy may help remove your wrinkles and other signs of aging. Your face may have less fat and your skin may be less droopy. These changes to your face may help you look younger.


Take your medicine as directed:

Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

  • Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.
    • Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.
    • Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.
    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.
  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your primary healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your primary healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

Ask your caregiver when to return for follow-up visits. Your caregiver will need to remove your stitches. You may need to visit your caregiver more than once if you are taking too long to heal. Tell your caregiver about any pain, swelling, redness, or numbness in your face.


Ask your caregiver when it is okay to return to your normal daily activities. Do not lift heavy objects until your caregiver says it is okay.

Body position:

While sleeping or resting, do not lie down flat. Keep your back and head angled upwards or sit up while you sleep. Ask your caregiver when it is okay to sleep or rest lying down.

Do not smoke:

If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Ask for information about how to stop smoking if you need help.


  • You have a fever.
  • Your skin is itchy or has a rash.
  • The skin near your stitches is swollen, red, or has pus coming from it.
  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery, medicine, or care.
  • You feel depressed (very sad) after your surgery.


  • Your face starts to swell and large bruises appear.
  • You have trouble moving part of your face.
  • Your lip sags on one side.
  • Your bandage becomes soaked with blood.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Rhytidectomy (Aftercare Instructions)

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