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 May 12, 2005
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Facelift (rhytidectomy) is an operation intended to rid the skin of wrinkles and folds around the face and under the chin, many of which may be the natural effects of aging.


To some extent, a face-lift represents a form of rejuvenation for many patients, and in addition to enhancing the appearance may also improve morale and self-image, leading to an overall improvement in lifestyle. Sagging, wrinkled skin is caused by overexposure to sunlight and ultraviolet light. This type of radiation affects the structural collagen in the skin, causing it to lose elasticity. The skin is further stretched by the layer of subcutaneous fat beneath it, a layer that may increase in thickness as the skin loses elasticity and takes on the characteristic sag patterns represented by folds of skin that progressively hang downward, eventually falling over the angle of the jaw and forming jowls. Subcutaneous fat is responsible also for the loss of the contour around the cheekbone, a feature of the youthful face. Conversely, loss of subcutaneous tissue together with natural stretch eventually give rise to short, deep, vertical lines in the upper lip which tend to become progressively more marked. The major principle behind the facelift is simple. To be taut, the skin must be freed from its underlying tissue ("undermined"), and pulled backward and upward. Redundant skin can then be snipped off and discarded. A face-lift can be an expensive procedure and is usually not covered by insurance plans.


What improvement in appearance can be expected from the surgery? Will this be done on an outpatient basis, or will hospitalization be required? Is there some type of preparation needed for surgery? How will the procedure be performed? How many face-lifts have you done? Will there be scarring afterwards? Will the scars be obvious, and how can they best be concealed? How long does the healing process take?

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