What is a Rhytidectomy?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

A rhytidectomy is face-lift surgery. This is a type of plastic surgery used to help a person look younger and more attractive. It can help eliminate wrinkles and age-related creases in the skin, sagging skin, and double chins. A rhytidectomy can even help eliminate jowls.

Plastic surgeons often offer free consultations to patients interested in cosmetic surgery.
Plastic surgeons often offer free consultations to patients interested in cosmetic surgery.

A person chooses to have a rhytidectomy for cosmetic reasons. This means the surgery is elective or not medically necessary. Many people opt for face-lifts because they help increase their self-confidence. Since face-lifts are not required for the health of the patient, many medical insurance plans do not cover them. As such, a patient may have to pay for the procedure out of his own pocket.

Both men and women have rhytidectomies. There are some people, however, who may not make good candidates for a rhytidectomy. For example, an individual who is prone to keloids, which are thick, raised scars, may not make a good candidate for a face-lift. Most plastic surgeons offer consultations for those interested in face-lifts. At such an appointment, a plastic surgeon may discuss the surgery process and answer any questions the patient has. He may also consider the patient’s skin type, age, and overall health status, evaluating whether or not the patient is a good candidate for the procedure.

To perform a rhytidectomy, a surgeon makes an incision near the patient’s temple and cuts around the ear. He extends the incision all the way around the ear and back to his original starting position. He then pulls the skin up and tightens the patient’s facial muscle, removing extra fat as necessary. He also trims extra skin and puts tiny stitches in the incision to close it. In some cases, he may use metal clips instead of or in addition to the stitches.

A rhytidectomy often takes just a few hours to complete. In some cases, the patient receives local anesthesia and a mild sedative, numbing the area and helping him to relax. In other cases, patients receive general anesthesia, which renders them unconscious for the duration of the procedure. The choice of anesthesia often depends on the preferences of the surgeon and his patient.

After surgery, a patient may experience mild pain, which can be controlled with pain killers the doctor prescribes. The patient will typically have some swelling, redness, and bruising, which can be addressed with cold compresses. Stitches or staples are typically removed within 10 days, and full recovery usually happens within about two to three weeks.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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