FAQ – Face lift
1. What is a rhytidectomy?
This is a plastic surgery procedure to improve and correct several different regions of the neck and face. This procedure allows for the proper elevation of the patient’s midface (also known as the checks), an increased amount of neck definition and improvement to the jowls on the lower portion of the face.
In the neck region, the platysmal bands are the areas of focus. The sagging skin is lifted as a result of the procedure. This surgery is not designed to correct any issues that are taking place in the upper portion of the face. Patients looking to remedy this area may consider a brow lift instead.
Fat transfers can be used by Dr. Sheffield in order to fill the areas that are in need of assistance and to provide further augmentation that face lifts cannot provide. The texture and quality of the skin is not an aspect that is improved by this procedure. Alternatively, Dr. Sheffield often recommends certain skin resurfacing techniques instead such as micro needling. A medium depth peel may also work well in these instances.
2. Who are the best facial rejuvenation candidates?
Dr. Sheffield believes that the ideal candidate is one who is beginning to show the signs of aging.
The most common question that is asked of Dr. Sheffield in these instances has to do with age. Specifically, patients want to know if the procedure should take place when they are older or younger. Dr. Sheffield once believed that it was the best interests of the patient to wait until they had reached a certain age before receiving a rhytidectomy. Over the course of time, his experience has taught him that patients actually benefit from receiving surgery when they are younger so that they can receive better results.
The more youthful the patient is, the more attributes are available for optimal results. Since the skin possesses a higher level of elasticity when the patient is younger, it will conform to the neck and face muscles more easily. There are no magic numbers to share but the average patient’s face tends to show noticeable signs of the aging process by the time they reach the age of 50.
3. What are the limitations of what this procedure can achieve?
Facial rejuvenation is not going to be able to put a stop to the process of aging. This procedure cannot be used as a means of changing the skin’s texture or quality. What a facelift can do is provide the patient with a more rested and youthful appearance. Patients will usually ask Dr. Sheffield to let them know how much younger they are going to look. He is quick to remind patients that this procedure can allow them to look at least ten years younger or more.
4. What happens during the consultation?
Dr. Sheffield is more than happy to meet with patients when the consultation process is taking place. He takes the time and effort to get to know each patient on a more personal level so that the best plan can be chosen for each patient. From there, the patient is also examined so that he can learn more about the patient’s specific age-related concerns.
Dr. Sheffield also provides a full gallery of before and after photos from past procedure so that his patients know exactly what to expect going forward. Once all of the information has been collected, Dr. Sheffield offers patients the necessary recommendations and explains the entire process in detail so that there is no confusion about the techniques being used.
He firmly believes that patients who undergo procedures of this nature should always know exactly what will take place. They will also need to know the how’s and why’s of the procedure. Once this step has been completed, Dr. Sheffield takes the time to properly explain the type of anesthesia that the anesthesiologist is going to be relying on. The entirety of the process is explained and no steps are left out. Our patient care coordinator will walk the patient through the process of scheduling the procedure.
5. Where is the surgery going to be performed?
These procedures are performed in a facility that is certified by the AAAASF. Only anesthesiologists that have been board certified are allowed to perform the surgery.
6. What type of anesthesia is going to be used?
One of Dr. Sheffield’s strongest held beliefs is that only anesthesiologists who have received board certification should be providing anesthesia to patients who are in an office setting. These surgical procedures are performed with the use of general anesthesia or IV sedation. A board-certified anesthesiologist will evaluate each patient and decide what the safest course of action should be.
7. How will the actual procedure take place?
Dr. Sheffield uses the deep plane rhytidectomy technique. This technique is preferred because it allows the patient’s neck to become smoother and tighter. The results will appear to be all natural. To start the procedure, liposuction must take place. A small incision is made behind the patient’s chin. There are some patients who may not need this procedure.
Patients who receive this incision are able to enjoy the benefits of tighter neck muscles once the incision is made a bit larger. The neck becomes more contoured as a result. Incisions are made by the ears. Because of the post-tragal fashion in which these incisions are made, this allows for them to remain hidden and they are imperceptible once the healing process takes place. Facial muscles are elevated and tightened as well. Small stitches are used to drape, trim and close the skin.
8. How long does the procedure take?
The typical surgery takes roughly three to four hours.
9. Where are these incisions going to be made?
Dr. Sheffield is able to place the incisions in areas that allow for them to become imperceptible after the healing process is complete. The tiny cartilage just in front of the patient’s ear is the location he chooses. Incisions are also made inside of the crease. By using this method, patients avoid unsightly scars in their hairline. Dr. Sheffield avoids using hairline incisions for this specific reason.
10. Does any scarring take place?
Scars take place any time an incision is made. That being said, the scars that take place during this procedure cannot be seen. Dr. Sheffield’s scars are typically invisible because of the placement that he chooses. No tension is placed on the skin and tiny stitches are used to close the incision.
11. Is the procedure painful?
The majority of Dr. Sheffield’s patients do not experience any pain. Every patient is different and some could experience a mild form of pain. Medication is prescribed to any patient who is experiencing discomfort.
12. Will I need help at home after the procedure?
Patients will need assistance back at home for at least 48 hours after surgery. Patients are urged to arrange for help from friends and loved ones.
13. What is the recovery process going to be like?
Patients need to know that this process is much easier than they think it is going to be. These surgeries are ambulatory and this allows a patient to return home on the same day as the procedure. A bandage dressing is used and the patient must sleep with their head elevated for the first night. The morning after the facelift has been completed; the patient will visit Dr. Sheffield’s office.
At this time, the dressing is removed and the patient receives instant relief. After five days have passed, the patient returns to the office. The tiny stitches in front of the ear and beneath the chin are removed. Once this visit is complete, much of the swelling will have subsided and bruising should also begin to recede. Another visit is scheduled ten days later. Dr. Sheffield removes all stitches that have been placed behind the ears. At the fourteen day mark, patients can resume their normal work/school schedule. Three weeks after the surgery, exercise regimens can be resumed as well.
14. How long before I can return to work?
The majority of Dr. Sheffield’s patients resume work within fourteen days.
15. How long before I am able to exercise again?
Dr. Sheffield’s patients resume their exercise routine within three weeks.
16. How soon will the stitches be removed?
The stitches that are placed in front of the ear and beneath the chin are removed by Dr. Sheffield five days after the procedure has been completed. The stitches behind the ears are removed ten days after.
17. Does this surgery come with any risks or complications?
This can happen in only in the rarest of occurrences. Dr. Sheffield’s level of attention to detail keeps such issues from taking place. However, it is important to note that unexpected problems can occur when it comes to any surgical procedure. Scarring, bleeding, poor healing, infections and nerve injury are a few of the potential risks. These will all be discussed with the patient extensively during the consultation process.
18. What will the results look like?
While the results of the procedure will certainly stay with the patient forever, it does not stop the aging process from continuing to progress. A patient is always going to look younger after a rhytidectomy has taken place than they did before. Since the aging process is different for each patient, it is hard to say how long the results are going to last for.