Rhytidectomy (Facelift Surgery)

What is a rhytidectomy?

Facelift surgery, also known as a rhytidectomy, is a procedure improving the appearance of both one’s cheeks and neck. Upon aging, skin loses elasticity and begins to wrinkle and sag, which can cause an undesired old, tired, and sad look. Facelifts improve signs of aging by lifting and tightening affected areas of the face. Newer techniques such as short scar facelifts or MACS lifts can specifically target certain areas for correction, creating a rejuvenated, yet natural look.


Usually lasting two to four hours, this procedure is either performed under local or general anesthesia. In many patients, it is possible to perform a short scar facelift, achieving good results with a shorter incision starting at the temple hairline, down along the ear, to the earlobe. A traditional facelift incision prolongs the scar into the retroauricular (behind the ear) area, permitting more tightening and sculpting of the neck if necessary. Modern facelifts also tighten the underlying muscular aponevrotic tissues (SMAS), enhancing and prolonging the results.


After the surgery, a bandage and drains may be placed for twenty-four hours. Most bruising and swelling subsides in three to seven days. It is usually possible to return to work after two weeks. Vigorous physical activity can only be undertaken after six weeks.

Risks and Complications:

All surgeries expose patients to risks and complications. In cosmetic surgery, all efforts are made to minimize these risks, but they cannot be completely eliminated. A partial list of complications for a rhytidectomy includes: scarring, hematoma, skin necrosis, facial asymmetry, and numbness. It is important to discuss these risks with your surgeon as part of your decision making process.