Facelift surgery is a life-changing procedure that can help both men and women regain a more youthful appearance. The out-of-date attitude of belittling cosmetic surgery has been replaced with the understanding that there is a way to help us improve some of the signs of aging. At the Langsdon Clinic, we strive to reverse the signs of aging while preserving the “natural appearance.” We strive to create results that are subtle and perfectly balanced because we want our patients to regain their youthful looks, not look like an entirely different person.
A facelift (Rhytidectomy) procedure is designed to reduce sagging caused by loose skin and muscles and drooping, fatty tissues of the face and upper neck. A facelift is performed to treat the relatively early signs of aging or to improve the advanced signs in older patients. If the sagging is significant, the results of surgery may be more dramatic. In younger patients, the results may be subtler; they may simply “look less tired.”
What Areas of the Face Does a Facelift Improve?
A facelift treats only the lower face, jowls, and upper neck. Other procedures may be recommended to improve the eyelids, eyebrows, forehead, or mid cheek. Contrary to popular belief, wrinkles cannot be “pulled out” with a facelift, and areas of facial deflation (the groove between the eyes and upper cheek, the folds along the sides of the mouth, and cheek depressions) cannot be eradicated with a facelift. While the facelift can help soften the appearance of deep wrinkles around the mouth, a facelift is more effective in restoring tone and contour to the lower facial features like the jaw and the neck.
After a facelift, patients with sagging skin around the jaw and the neck can look forward to a jawline that’s more contoured and a sleeker, smoother neck.
It should be mentioned that patients with thick or fatty tissue in the cheeks and neck might have different results for the facelift because the tissues may not be as mobile or malleable and the contouring obtained may be somewhat less than that obtained in a patient with thin tissues.
Meet Dr. Langsdon
2018-2019 President of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Phillip R. Langsdon, MD, FACS is Professor and Chief, Division Facial Plastic Surgery, Department of Oto-Head & Neck Surgery, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis. Dr. Langsdon’s career has been limited and focused entirely on Facial Plastic Surgery and he has dedicated himself to the pursuit of excellence in this field.
Before the surgery, patients will be given medication to help them relax and to help minimize any swelling and bruising after the facelift surgery. The procedure is usually performed at the clinic’s outpatient surgical center. The facelift does not require endotracheal inhalation anesthesia; instead, “Twilight” sedation supplemented by local anesthesia is used for our facelift procedure. Most patients have no discomfort during the procedure, won’t remember the experience, and they’ll wake up simply feeling like their tissues are tight. After the facelift surgery, patients will be able to go home, provided they have a trusted friend or family member that can drive them home.
The face is divided into several areas of concerns: the neck, the lower cheek-jowl, the upper cheek, eyelids, and the forehead. The facelift deals with the lower cheek-jowl and neck. It does not treat the forehead, eyelids, or cheekbone areas.
Normally, we do not shave the hair in preparation for the facelift surgery because when patients don’t have to wait for hair regrow, it makes it easier for them to camouflage their incisions during postoperative healing.
Incisions for the facelift are made where we can easily access the tissues, and we also strategically place them in areas that will make it easy for the patient to conceal them. The incision for the lower cheek-jowl-neck operation begins in the temple by the hairline and extends down to just in front of the ear, around the earlobe, up behind the ear, and then back along the hairline. Through this incision, the skin is elevated out into the cheeks and neck. The underlying muscle and connective tissues are raised and repositioned with sutures to help support the underlying facial structures of the cheek-jowl and the upper neck. After we reposition the sagging muscular tissue responsible for the sagging tissues on the cheeks and jowls, then excess skin is removed. Once we’ve lifted and repositioned the cheeks, jowls, and neck, we make an effort not tighten it in a way that makes it look stretched or “pulled.”
A small incision is usually placed in a crease under the chin. Through this incision, fatty accumulation in the upper neck may be improved and the muscles may be tightened. The incisions are then secured with absorbable sutures in front of the ear and under the chin, and small skin clips may be used for the incisions along the hairline.
Your Recovery From Facelift Surgery
While you will be able to go home on the same day as your facelift surgery, you will still need a trusted friend and family member to drive you home and take care of you for the first 24 hours after the facelift surgery. Patients should also avoid driving within the first two days of the facelift. During the first two weeks of your recovery, you must take great care to keep your head elevated at all times, even while sleeping, to avoid swelling. Patients can sleep on an incline pillow, or propped up by multiple pillows. After two weeks of recovery, you can continue your social activities, although it should be mentioned that you will still have some bruising and feelings of soreness. The bruises can be covered with makeup at this point. Your incisions will have healed, but not completely faded; thankfully your incisions were placed where they will be hidden from view. Thanks to Dr. Langsdon’s natural facelift results, you will still look naturally refreshed and rejuvenated only two weeks after the facelift.
It’s highly recommended that patients avoid strenuous activity for the first couple of weeks of recovery. Patients should also avoid smoking for a few weeks before and after the surgery to prevent complications.
On average, patients experience numbness in the cheeks, hard knotty sensations, and discomfort in the incisions for around 5-6 months. Although some patients take a year before their facelift results settle down, their results will still look appealing in the meantime.
It’s highly recommended that patients take great care to keep their skin nourished and healthy so that they maintain precious facial volume and enhance the results of the facelift.
Those seeking a facelift in Memphis choose the Langsdon Clinic for more than its natural, perfectly balanced results; we’re known for our outstanding patient care. Learn for yourself what the Langsdon Clinic patient experience is like by taking a look at our patient testimonials.
Ideal Candidates for a Facelift Procedure
The ideal candidate for a facelift should be someone who wants to lift sagging skin on the lower face and the neck for a sleeker, more youthful look. More importantly, an ideal patient is someone who is realistic about what surgeons can accomplish surgically and someone who is emotionally healthy enough to undergo the facelift. It’s important that patients consider certain factors before undergoing the facelift, like whether they’ll be happy with their results years into the future.
Patients who smoke are advised to abstain from smoking at least two weeks before and two weeks after the facelift surgery to prevent scarring and other complications. Patients who wish to undergo the facelift should be in relatively good health.
Frequently Asked Questions About Facelifts
We’ve collected some of the most frequently asked questions by our facelift Memphis patients about the facelift and answered them in detail. At The Langsdon Clinic, we’re passionate about informing our patients, because we want them to understand their procedures every step of the way.
When people age, they lose precious facial volume and their skin becomes thinner and less elastic. Our body starts to decrease its production of collagen and elastin, the proteins responsible for keeping our skin structure firm and youthful. Muscle tone in the face also decreases, leading to looser facial features. All these factors lead to facial skin that sags and droops around the mouth and the jaw.
Once the swelling has mostly dissipated a few weeks after the surgery, you will be able to notice a major improvement in the reduction of sagging skin on the lower face and neck.
A full facelift will lift sagging on the cheeks, along the jaw, and on the neck. A mini facelift will address a smaller amount of sagging on the cheeks. The mid facelift will lift sagging skin on the upper cheek.
A facelift’s results will last for years, and the excision of sagging, excess skin is something that can’t be reversed. However, the aging process will still continue after the facelift is completed. The rate that a patient’s aging will progress will all depend on the quality of their skin and its elasticity. Other factors like a patient’s age, hormonal balance, and lifestyle can affect their aging process after the facelift is performed. Patients who want to maintain their results can request a touch up.
Those seeking a facelift in Memphis choose The Langsdon Clinic for our natural results. The “too-tight” look associated with the facelift is more of a result of a surgeon’s work or old facelift techniques. When performed correctly, a facelift should make someone look younger and more refreshed; they shouldn’t look any different or look too artificial. The Langsdon Clinic creates natural and balanced results by respecting a patient’s tissues and facial anatomy. We take great care to personalize each facelift so that they fit perfectly for each patient.
Your scars from the facelift will eventually heal and then fade. First, the scars will look pale and red before the scar fully matures. About a week or two after the surgery, you will be able to safely cover the scars with makeup; however, it might take a few months to about a year before the scars fully fade. Your incisions will be hidden carefully by Dr. Langsdon, so they will not be easily visible while you’re healing.
It’s recommended that patients take a week off of work or school, and up to two weeks away from social events. Patients might still have some bruising at the two-week mark but by then it should be easy to cover with makeup. While patients will be able to see their new youthful looks a few weeks after the surgery, patients might still have some swelling, bruising, and discomfort in the incisions up to 5-6 months after the surgery. It might take up to a year before swelling has completely subsided.
Dr. Langsdon will strategically place your incisions where they won’t be easily seen. The incisions will go from the temple by the hairline and then travel down in front of the ear and then around it. Most patients will also have a scar running below the chin that’s not easily noticeable.
Your facelift will be performed in The Langsdon Clinic’s onsite, full-service outpatient facility. This surgical facility is fully licensed by the State of Tennessee Department of Health, meaning the facility runs with a hospital-grade if not higher level of safety. During your facelift, you will work with our board-certified anesthesiologist and a highly professional, compassionate medical staff.
Since a facelift only addresses signs of aging on the lower half of the face, it can be combined with other compatible procedures like the forehead lift and the eyelid lift.
As you grow older and become bothered by signs of aging, you may find a facelift to be the right solution. If any of the following apply to you, a facelift is an option to consider.
- The way the skin of your face and neck tends to sag makes you feel self-conscious.
- In the mirror, you see that your face makes you look a lot older than you feel.
- You’ve begun wearing scarves and turtlenecks to hide the folds in your neck.
- You feel that looking older than your years is negatively affecting your career or relationships.
After your facelift, you can expect an improvement in self-confidence, as your younger appearance will highlight your health and vitality.
Your meeting with your doctor is a time for you to ask questions and be prepared to discuss:
- Your goals for this surgery
- Any medical conditions, drug allergies, and medical issues you might have
- The medications, vitamins, and supplements you take, as well as your alcohol, tobacco, and drug use
You should also expect your doctor to:
- Inquire about your general state of health and any preexisting health conditions or risk factors
- Go over your facelift options with you
- Examine and take measurements and photographs of your face
- Discuss the expected outcomes of your facelift, as well as any risks or potential complications
It usually takes around two weeks to attend social functions and/or work. The more treatment that is needed, the longer the recovery.
If you have some visible swelling and bruising at the end of this period, it may not be noticeable to others, or it may be camouflaged with makeup.
If your job tends to be strenuous, you may need a little more time to ensure that healing is well underway.
If you’re looking for a facelift in Memphis, call The Langsdon Clinic to find out if you are a good candidate and to discuss your possible facelift outcomes. Dr. Phillip Langsdon is a facial plastic surgeon with over 23 years of experience bringing beauty and youth to the Memphis community.