The process of Rhytidectomy is more commonly referred to as a facelift. It is a cosmetic surgery, which can visibly reduce the signs of aging in the face, neck and forehead area. A facelift can involve the extraction of excess fat, the tightening of muscles underneath the skin's surface, and the removal of loose skin.
Facelifts attempt to tighten the skin in the cheek and neck areas by creating incisions around the temples and ears and lifting the skin up and back to those points. Liposuction may also be performed at this time to extract excess fat in the affected areas. Surgical procedures to reduce the signs of aging around the eyes and forehead are traditionally not considered to be part of a facelift but can be done in conjunction with a facelift.
The facelift is meant to improve your present appearance without causing a noticeably drastic change. The procedure will not stop the aging process. What a facelift does is sort of "set the clock back." As a result, patients may opt to have another facelift after signs of aging recur.
Most facelift patients range between forty and sixty years of age but many successful operations have been performed on people in their seventies and eighties. Patients under forty may not see the same results as the older patients simply because they have fewer facial lines and greater skin elasticity.
The pain after a facelift is minimal and most patients tend to describe it as a mild discomfort which disappears after a few days to a couple weeks. This pain can be treated with various forms of medication. Post-operative bruising and scarring can be camouflaged with special cosmetics that the surgeon can recommend.
Alternatives to a surgical facelift are increasingly common. Not only are they less invasive, but they are cheaper as well. Botox is one such alternative which is the process by which Botulism toxins are injected into facial muscles to plump up sagging skin and smooth the appearance of wrinkles.
Other alternatives include facial peel and dermabrasion creams that can be bought over the counter. At a fraction of the cost of a facelift but with none of the surgical procedures you may find that this is the easiest option. Regardless, you should discuss your alternatives with your physician.