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What is a rhytidectomy?

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

What should I expect before a rhytidectomy?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your medical history and any medicines you take. He will ask what you want to change about the way you look. Your healthcare provider will examine your face and neck. He will take pictures of your face and neck to help him plan your surgery. You may need to have blood taken for tests.

How is a rhytidectomy done?

  • 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.

What are the risks of a rhytidectomy?

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.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • Your wound is red, swollen, or draining pus.
  • You feel depressed after your surgery.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care?

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • Your face starts to swell and large bruises appear.
  • You have trouble moving part of your face.
  • Your lip sags on one side.
  • Blood soaks through your bandage.

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 healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

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Further information

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