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A rhytidectomy, or facelift, is surgery to remove signs of aging, such as wrinkles, extra fat, and loose skin.


The week before your surgery:

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.
  • Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
  • Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
  • If you smoke, you may need to quit for at least 2 weeks before your surgery. This will help your incisions heal faster.
  • Your healthcare provider may take pictures of your face and neck to help plan your surgery. You may need blood tests before your surgery. Talk to your healthcare provider about these and other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.

The night before your surgery:

  • Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your surgery:

  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
  • Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell caregivers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.


What will happen:

  • A large incision will be made near your hairline on the side of your forehead. It will extend downward around the front of your ear and circle behind your earlobe. Another incision may be made below your chin. Your healthcare provider will gently lift your skin and remove extra fat and skin in your cheeks and chin. He will also tighten the skin between your cheekbones and eyes.
  • A drain may be placed in your wound to remove extra fluids from the surgery area. The wounds will be closed with stitches. Your healthcare provider may use glue to help prevent fluid drainage or bleeding in your face. A bandage will be placed around your head to cover your ears and chin. It will not cover your eyes, ears, nose, or mouth.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. The head of your bed will be elevated to help decrease swelling. Your healthcare provider will remove your bandages to check for bruises and nerve damage. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. When your healthcare provider sees that you are okay, you will be taken to your hospital room.


  • You cannot make it to your surgery.
  • You have a fever.
  • You get a cold or the flu.
  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery.


You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. You may not be happy with the results of your facelift. You may have scars or hair loss. Your face may swell or parts of your face may droop. You may have large bruises caused by bleeding in your face and neck. These bruises can cause tissue in your face and neck to be damaged. You may have pain in your jaw, which may make it hard for you to open your mouth. You may have nerve damage that causes parts of your face or neck to be weak or numb. You may need another surgery to fix these problems.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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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.