Facial Rejuvenation

The main objective of rhytidectomy is to give the patient a youngster look, sweetening the action of time effects on skin, like folds, wrinkles and flaccidity. In other words, it intends to restore the beauty lost by the years, without showing the aggression of an operated face. In order to let it happen it is important to assure a natural result without the artificiality of a stretched skin. That´s why it is essential to treat the muscles in order to preserve the facial structure and to keep natural looks. Maintaining the hair line is a current tendency that allows the patient to have short hair cut. It is usual to perform blepharoplasty combined to rhytidectomy, whe the eyelid region is also implicated. It is also possible to associate the liposuction of the fat under the chin. In the majority of cases, rhytidectomy has positive psychological effects to the patient, giving back his/her youngster looks. The patient must be aware that the surgery may delay the aging process, but it does not stop it.

Preoperative Preparation

The main recommendation for this period is suspension of medications based on acetylsalicylic acid (i.e.: aspirin), for the 10 days that precede the surgery. It is recommended that the doctor is told of any medication that is being taken or any physical changes as a flu or infection. If the patient has dyed hair, it is advisable to dye it one week before the surgery as dying will not be allowed for at least three weeks after the surgery. The patient must carefully wash the hair on the eve of the surgery, mainly the region near the ears. After washing the hair there must be no use of any chemical product. On the day of hospitalization the patient must not wear make-up and it is important to bring sunglasses to the hospital as they will be used when returning home.

Surgical Procedure

The surgery lasts approximately from 3 to 4 hours. There are various technique options, but usually the incisions are made behind the ears and in the area preceding them becoming almost imperceptible. The undermining of the facial skin is performed until the allowed limits, when the deepest tissues are treated to be reinforced . The excess of skin is removed and in a rotation movement, not a traction one, the skin is brought to its new position, giving this way a more natural result. The neck flaccidity is treated by a discreet incision under the chin, through which liposuction is performed to remove existing fat and the replacement of the local muscles. Anesthesia may be either general or local.

Postoperative Care

Pain in postoperative period of rhytidectomy is rare, an a regular painkiller is able to solve the problem. The hospitalization for this type of surgery varies from 12 to 24 hours. While resting the patient must keep his/her head lightly raised. After 24 hours, the patient must be seated longer than lying down, as it helps to diminish the swelling. Compressive dressings are kept for 3 days. In some cases, there is need to a drain placed behind the ear for 24 hours.
The hair can only be washed after the dressings are removed. Stains (ecchymosis) and swelling (edema) are common, but disappear gradually, as well as eventual feelings of “stretching” and lack of sensitivity on the neck and face. The patient may feel itching or burning in the region of the stitches, usually removed from the 6th till the 10th day after the surgery. After that, daily massages, with the cream recommended by the doctor, must be done. The use of cosmetics is allowed only after the stitches are removed and the products must be indicated by the doctor or the aesthetician. Sun exposition is allowed, with limits, after 30 days, always applying sunblock lotion. The final result will be verified after the third month.