What is a Facelift (Rhytidectomy)?

Sagging of the skin under the neck is usually the first sign of aging (occurring typically in your 40s), followed by the appearance of jowls (deep cheek folds). A facelift addresses these concerns by removing excess skin and wrinkles from the cheeks, jowls, and lower neck. It’s a highly popular surgery that is met with a high degree of patient satisfaction, and can offer long-lasting results. 

Headshot of a woman highlighting facelift in Upper East Side.

What Are the Benefits of a Facelift?

  • Reduces sagging skin
  • Tightens the facial muscles
  • Improves creases in the eye area
  • Tightens and tones lax skin around the jawline
  • Delivers an overall more toned and youthful look

How the Face Ages

When we’re young, we have plenty of collagen and elastin in the skin. This is why the skin is so taut, smooth, and resilient during youth.

However, as the years go by, our body’s collagen production slows down. This results in the skin gradually becoming looser, with skin that appears wrinkled and more saggy. Assisting in the skin’s aged appearance are sun exposure, environmental factors, and smoking.

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Upper East Side Patient

Facelift Surgical Details

A facelift is typically performed under general anesthesia, but some cases are done under local anesthesia with sedation. Using incisions that are placed in natural shadows and contours in front of and behind the ear, Dr. Reitzen will tighten the facial and neck musculature and remove excess sagging skin. Newer procedures are designed to tighten the muscles separately from the skin in order to prevent the appearance of an overdone or “wind tunnel” look. Fat injections may additionally be added to increase the volume of the cheeks and help smooth out contour irregularities.

Am I a Candidate for a Facelift?

If you’re considering a facelift in Upper East Side, you may be an excellent candidate. Individuals who are ideal patients for this procedure are men and women who:

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Facelift Results and Recovery

Everyone will heal from a facelift differently based on how aggressive your surgery was; what technique was used; your age and health, and how closely you follow the home instructions that Dr. Reitzen provides you with. For two weeks, you should sleep on your back to prevent your stitches from being “torn down”. A reclining chair may be helpful during this time. 

In addition, any kind of strenuous activity will need to be avoided for one month.

As with any surgery, bruising and swelling are to be expected during recovery. Some patients also experience a “tight” sensation or tingling. All of this is temporary. Be sure to not apply any kind of heat to your face, but cold compresses are fine. 

One week after a facelift in Upper East Side, most patients feel much better and are able to perform very light activity such as walking. At two weeks, you’ll be past the hardest part of recovery and most patients return to work at this point. After one month, you should be able to resume exercise. Results are visible around the three-month mark, and these results can last up to ten years. 

Types of Facelift

There are several types of facelift surgeries featuring different benefits and risks. During your consultation with Dr. Shari Reitzen, she will assess your facial structure and discuss the different kinds of a facelift to determine which technique is best for you.

Deep Plane Facelift

A deep plane facelift addresses a layer of connective tissue called the superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS). This layer is located between the skin and facial muscles. During a deep plane facelift, the ligaments that anchor the muscles and connective tissues are released, allowing Dr. Reitzen to re-suspend the face instead of using the "stretching" method previously associated with facelift techniques. Because the deep plane of muscle tissue is suspended upwards while the skin is independently lifted backward, the results are arguably the most natural of all facelift techniques.

The deep plane facelift's ability to address sagging skin while altering the face's underlying structures makes it so effective. The technique addresses nasolabial folds and jowls better than traditional facelifting. Additionally, fat pads can be repositioned within the cheeks for even more dramatic lift and contouring.

Short Scar Facelift

A short scar facelift uses limited skin access to alter deep soft tissue for lifting and tightening. Generally, the incision is placed along the natural crease of the ear to avoid extending the incision behind the scalp. The skin and connective layer of facial tissue are then elevated and shaped through the incision.

This facelifting technique is best for younger patients wanting to contour the cheeks, jaw, and lower portions of the face but does not have sagging skin in the neck. Short scar facelift recovery is quicker than a traditional facelift since there is less surface area addressed.

Short Scar Necklift

This technique was designed to be a standalone surgical treatment or facelift pairing. A short scar neck lift corrects neck sagging and fullness with the tiniest incision possible. This short, horizontally-aligned incision is made under the chin, where the skin is freed from the muscles to allow for fat and muscle sculpting. Because Dr. Reitzen can’t easily remove the deep fat under the platysma (neck muscle) with liposuction alone, a short scar neck lift allows direct muscle restructuring to create tightness and contouring for an elegant silhouette.

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Facelift FAQ

Is 60 Too Old For A Facelift?

How Painful Is A Facelift?

How Many Years Younger Do You Look After A Facelift?

What Is The Best Age For A Facelift?

How Do You Sleep After A Facelift?

How Many Facelifts Can You Have In A Lifetime?

Does A Facelift Include The Neck?

Is 60 Too Old For A Facelift?

If you’re 60 or older and worry that a facelift is too risky for someone your age, most sources claim that plastic surgery safety for people over 60 mostly depends on their health and not age. For most patients, the best age for a facelift is between ages 40 to 60, when wrinkles and folds appear on the lower face and neck.

How Painful Is A Facelift?

Generally, there is very little pain following a facelift, but you may feel a deep bruised sensation. Because of the swelling, your face may feel heavy. Additionally, the bandage you must wear the first night after your surgery may feel quite snug under your chin; it won’t restrict your breathing but should minimize bruising and swelling.

How Many Years Younger Do You Look After A Facelift?

While facelift results vary for each patient, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons states that, on average, patients felt they looked 12 years younger after their facelift surgeries. After a significant recovery period, most patients undergoing facelift surgery are satisfied with their results.

What Is The Best Age For A Facelift?

There’s no golden age for a facelift – instead, you should consider a facelift when signs of aging bother you and when non-surgical treatments no longer produce the desired results. Generally, a facelift works best for people in their 40s, 50s, and 60s when signs of aging are more prevalent. Deep lines, wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging skin are best corrected through surgical techniques, so a facelift is not generally for anyone under 30.

How Do You Sleep After A Facelift?

You should sleep on your back with your head slightly elevated using pillows for two to four weeks after a facelift. This specific sleeping position reduces swelling, promotes proper healing, and reduces the risk of postoperative complications such as inadvertently pulling out stitches. If you’re worried about rolling over in your sleep, you might try using additional pillows or rolled-up towels on either side to prevent shifting positions during the night.

How Many Facelifts Can You Have In A Lifetime?

While there is no limit or “magic number” concerning how many facelifts can be performed in a lifetime, you want to ensure your results remain as natural as possible. Too many surgeries can make your face appear “worked on.”

Does A Facelift Include The Neck?

Our facelift in Upper East Side removes excess skin, smooths folds or wrinkles, and tightens facial tissue on the bottom two-thirds of the face. The procedure can include the neck or décolletage when necessary.

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Why Choose Dr. Reitzen

Performing both cosmetic and functional surgery, Shari Reitzen, MD is a female plastic and reconstructive surgeon serving Manhattan’s Upper East Side. She also has an extensive background as an ENT specialist. Dr. Reitzen puts her patients first and closely listens to achieve their desired results. Her goal is to safely deliver a natural look that doesn’t appear overdone. Her patients love her down-to-earth warmth, her straightforward approach, and her personalized approach to procedures. If you’re in the Tribeca and Upper East Side area and you’re interested in a facelift with Dr. Reitzen, we invite you to contact us today to set up your consultation. 

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