Facelift


As people age, the effects of gravity, exposure to the sun, and the stresses of daily life can be reflected in their faces.  Deep creases form between the nose and the mouth.  The jaw line becomes less taut and jowls become prominent.  Folds and fat deposits appear around the neck.  A facelift (“Rhytidectomy”) cannot stop this aging process.  It can however set back the clock, improving the most visible signs of aging by removing excess fat, tightening underlying muscles, and redraping this skin of the face and neck.  Dr. Wolf can perform the facelift alone, or in conjunction with other procedures such as a forehead lift, eyelid surgery, or laser skin resurfacing.

As such, the facelift represents the cornerstone of facial rejuvenation.  Though laser skin resurfacing, Botox, fillers, peels, fat graft injections, and ‘mini-facelifts’ have their role, they do not represent a substitute for a proper facelift.  Where the facelift is indicated, relying on these ancillary procedures will ultimately create disappointment.

The maximum benefits of the facelift are in the region of the neck, the jawline, the area of the jowls, and the lower two-thirds of the face.  As good as the facelift is, it does little for the vertical lines around the mouth, frown lines, the forehead, and the upper and lower eyelids.  When these areas represent issues, they can be addressed at the time the facelift is performed.  There is, therefore, one visit to the operating room, one anesthesia, and one recovery period.

The purpose of the facelift is to rejuvenate while retaining a soft, natural appearance.  Poor examples of facelifts are readily obvious.  The face assumes a mask-like appearance. The skin is tightly drawn as it drapes across bony prominences.  The face may even appear expressionless, with all lines of expression eliminated. The proper facelift, on the other hand, leaves an appearance which is soft, distinctly natural, and rejuvenated.

The procedure is performed in a Marin County Outpatient Surgery Center under a superficial plane of general anesthesia administered by a Board Certified Anesthesiologist.  All dressings are removed the morning after surgery, and the patient may shower and shampoo that same day.

The incisional scars are designed to be essentially imperceptible.  All sutures are removed within one week.  Pain and discomfort are modest, and most bruising and swelling should be resolved within 7-10 days.  Return to work is generally within two weeks.