What is a Facelift (Rhytidectomy)?

Facial rejuvenation (specifically a facelift) can be one of the most demanding operations. In  Cumberland, MD many surgeons regard it as a complex surgical procedure. Just as everyone’s face is uniquely different, so is every facelift. The face is characterized by three components: its underlying bone structure, which gives the face its general shape; the overlying soft tissue; and the outer layer, the skin. As we age, our skin and soft tissues change over the bony foundation. Since everyone’s bones, soft tissues, and skin are different, facial aging changes are as unique as we are. A facelift is not just simply pulling the skin of the face tighter—it is much more complex. A proper facelift involves not only a comprehensive evaluation of facial structure, the relative proportion of the features, and the age-related changes, but also a “prescription” to correct or restore balance to each change individually. If you review the procedures, you’ll find examples of different techniques, variably applied in each case according to the patient’s anatomy.

Traditional Facelift

“Traditional” facelift techniques involved modifications of several portions of the face to improve the appearance.  Surgeons in the Cumberland, Hagerstown, and Morgantown areas use a standardized approach. First, the skin is widely elevated off the deeper tissues in the area of the temporal region, the cheeks, and under the neck. Then, the deep tissues are modified with direct suturing. This allows elevation of the fatty tissue in the cheek to improve the appearance of the jowl and to correct the sagging fatty tissues in the cheek and mid-face. Next, excess fat below the chin is removed and the neck muscle, the platysma, is tightened to create a smooth contour to the neck and help define the jawline. Finally, the skin is placed with slight tension to smooth any wrinkling or remove any excess of the skin, and the extra skin is removed. The incision lines are placed in areas that are hidden either within the hair or in natural creases around or behind the ear so they are not visible. A traditional facelift restores a youthful appearance by repositioning and reconfiguring the sagging fatty tissues of the face and tightening the skin.

Dr. Robert Carpenter Results

Comprehensive Facelift

In a “comprehensive” facelift, traditional techniques such as skin tightening and fat pad repositioning are used. In addition, techniques can be added to improve the aesthetic outcome.  In Cumberland, Hagerstown, and Morgantown, bony augmentation can improve a deficient bony structure. The procedure can be performed with either cheek implants or a chin implant, usually through the same incisions. In addition to bony augmentation, soft tissue augmentation can be performed with facial fillers or with the patient’s own fat (structural fat grafting). This rejuvenates the central portions of the face or areas of the face that do not respond as well to traditional tightening techniques. A “comprehensive” facelift addresses all parts of the facial appearance, the underlying bony anatomy, the volume and position of the soft tissues, and ultimately the overlying skin in order to maximize the rejuvenated appearance.

Am I a Candidate for a Facelift?

It can be difficult to assess each patient’s candidacy from age alone, since each patient’s needs and goals are different. If you’ve begun showing signs of aging that require surgical correction rather than non-surgical treatments, you may benefit from a facelift procedure in Cumberland, Hagerstown, and Morgantown. As with any plastic surgery procedure, you should be in good health and able to successfully and safely recover. During a consultation, Dr. Carpenter can recommend the best facial rejuvenation technique for your unique situation.

Recovery and Results

Your recovery from a facelift will depend on how extensive your rejuvenation is, but most patients feel comfortable returning to work or school within one or two weeks. You can expect some bruising, swelling, and discomfort during this time, which can be managed with prescribed medications. It’s normal for your face to feel tight or pulled as your skin accommodates the newly-crafted contours. Most patients see their results within a month of surgery, but these can continue to refine over the course of many months after. Dr. Carpenter can recommend a series of skin treatments and at-home skincare to help maintain your great results.

Schedule Your Consultation

The facelift is one of the best ways to rejuvenate the face and remove years from the profile. To begin discussing your facelift options with Dr. Carpenter, contact our Cumberland office by calling or filling out our online form.