Mr A. O. Grobbelaar  MBChB  MMed(Plast)  FCS(SA)(Plast)  FRCS(Plast)

Face-lift Surgical - Rhytidetomy

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Introduction

Aging of the face results in a number of typical features and affect the forehead, eyebrows, eyelids, cheek, jaw and neck areas. It is due to loss of skin elasticity and the effect of gravity on the face. People that have had a lot of sun exposure will often show signs of facial aging at an earlier stage.

The most common effects are the loss of the youthful curve of the cheek and jaws, deepening of the lines running from the base of the nose to the corners of the mouth (nasolabial folds), loose skin and bands in the neck. Not all people age in the same way and therefore the proposed surgery has to be tailored to individual needs.

The operation

Surgical Face-lift - Rhytidetomy

The exact extent of the surgery depends on the individual need. If the problem is the upper face or eyes then a browlift or eyelid reduction may be indicated. In some cases an endoscopic facelift or subperiosteal facelift may address problem in these areas.

(See sections on blepharoplasty, browlift and endoscopic face-lift) Small wrinkles around the mouth may be improved by laser or chemical peels. (See sections on laser resurfacing and chemical peels).

For the mid-and lower face and neck problems the incision lines will start in the temporal hairline, curve around the front and back of the ear and then extend into the hair at the back of the ear. This will allow the surgeon access to tighten the muscle layer (SMAS) of the face and neck as well as excising any extra skin.

Sometimes a small incision under the chin will allow removal of fat, and tightening of the muscle in this area. Surgery is normally performed under a general anaesthesia and the patient typically stays in the hospital for one night at least. The last of the sutures is normally removed 10-12 days after the surgery at which stage most of the swelling and bruising will be gone, and you look at your best from 3 months post-surgery onwards.

Consequences and complications

The facial skin will feel numb in the first 6 weeks to 3 months after the surgery. Swelling and bruising can last up to 2-3 weeks. The temporal hairline may start higher up in front of the ear after the surgery and male patients may have to shave behind their ears as beard skin is transported to that area. Any of the following rare complications can occur:

After the surgery

A complete list of "do's and don'ts" will be provided before the surgery to minimise swelling and bruising afterwards - it is important to try and stick to it. Lifting of heavy objects or hard physical activity is not recommended during the first two weeks after the surgery.

You can wash your hair backwards in the shower or with a hand shower but do not bend forward. All aspirin and any other blood thinning tablets should be stopped before the surgery and avoided in the immediate period after the surgery.

Most of the discomfort after the surgery is due to the tightness of the skin caused by the swelling. Pain is normally moderate. Avoid colouring your hair during the first month after surgery.

If you require further information or want to schedule a consultation please contact Mr. Grobbelaar's secretary details on the Contact page