Aging in the face and neck may lead to a loss in definition of the jawline, the appearance of jowls or marionette lines. Sagging of neck skin may lead to a “turkey gobbler.”

At Loudoun Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, we can perform rhytidectomy, or a facelift, to correct these conditions and enhance your appearance. A facelift involves tightening the neck and facial muscles as well as removing excess skin.  Facelifts are often performed in conjunction with other cosmetic surgeries, including forehead or brow lift, blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), chin augmentation, and liposuction. These procedures can be performed at any time after the signs of aging appear to help you achieve a more youthful appearance.

Before Surgery

We will evaluate your complete medical history in order to determine the state of your overall health. Dr. Vandervort will discuss how your face can look following the procedure and what you can expect from the facelift procedure. Our objective is to create a natural-looking appearance that is pleasing to you. Digital photographs are taken and computer imaging may be performed in order to simulate results of surgery.

We will also provide you with pre-operative instructions that can include ceasing the use of drugs that may lead to post-operative bleeding several weeks before surgery. We may also prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection.  A small amount of hair may be shaved around your temples and ears as part of the surgery.

The Procedure

A rhytidectomy can be performed under oral sedation, IV sedation or general anesthesia in our state-of-the-art surgical facility. These anesthetic options will be discussed in detail with you prior to your surgery. Pre-medication may be administered to help you relax. Incisions are carefully hidden inside the hairline at the temple, inside of the ear, under the earlobe, and behind the ear, finally ending in the hair of the scalp. The loose skin is pulled up and back. Excess skin is removed. Sagging connective tissues and muscles are tightened using sutures. In some cases, we may remove fatty deposits from beneath the neck and chin. To close the incisions, we use small sutures. The facelift procedure may take three to five hours, depending on complexity or whether any other cosmetic procedures are performed concurrently.

Post-Operative Care

We will apply bandages to the area of surgery and remove them after a day or two.  You will then be given a removable pressure bandage, which may be worn for up to six weeks.  Discomfort is usually moderate and easily controlled with oral medications. Your sutures will be removed within the first five to ten days following the facelift. In order to minimize scarring and preserve appearance, the doctor may remove the sutures in several different stages. Any scarring will fade quickly. Discoloration and swelling will decrease within two weeks. It is normal to feel tightness in your face for several weeks and you may notice some slight changes in your hair pattern around the incision.

We recommend that you avoid the sun for several weeks after surgery. Healing is gradual so you may not notice the final results for up to six months after the procedure. Improvement will vary depending upon the initial condition. Most patients who have had rhytidectomies are pleased with their new, more youthful and vibrant appearance.