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What is a facelift?

A facelift (Rhytidectomy) is a surgical procedure designed to result in tightening and providing more definition to the face and neck. The procedure is customised to suit your individual requirements and may range from a mini- facelift to a Deep Plane Facelift with the addition of other procedures, such as a browlift, eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty), or laser surgery. It is very much a matter of what concerns you and designing a treatment plan to address that concern in the best possible way.

Who is a candidate for facelift surgery?

If you are considering a facelift (Rhytidectomy), please schedule a consultation at one of our practice locations — Gold Coast or Ballina — to determine whether or not you are a good candidate. If you have experienced a loss of skin elasticity and muscle tone of the face and neck, or have developed facial and neck wrinkles, you may be interested in a facelift. The surgery can redefine jowls and jawline, the deep creases between the base of the nose and the corner of the mouth and define the chin and neck contour.

The results of a facelift can often be greatly defined by the addition of other procedures such as lip augmentation, eyelid surgery, brow surgery, fat transfer, or laser skin resurfacing. As mentioned previously, the procedure needs to be customised to your exact needs to get the results you desire.

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How is the facelift (Rhytidectomy) procedure performed?

The facelift (Rhytidectomy) operation requires general anaesthesia and can be performed as an inpatient or on a day surgery basis. The facelift incision is made behind the hairline and above the ear, extending down behind the ear, where it can be easily hidden in the hair. The neck muscles are tightened, the facial skin is lifted and re-positioned, and the excess is trimmed away. In some cases an incision under the chin is added to further address neck laxity.

The final result is typically evident in 4 to 6 weeks or sooner with continued improvement for several months.

All surgical and invasive procedures involve risks. Before proceeding with treatment, it is recommended that you consult with an appropriately qualified practitioner for a second opinion.

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Does a facelift (Rhytidectomy) always include a neck lift?

A facelift(Rhytidectomy) procedure often involves a neck lift component, as well. This can address the descending and inelastic skin that tends to collect in the upper area of the neck and under the chin. Some degree of neck lifting performed in combination with a facelift can also help create a more defined jawline and neck caused by the excess descending skin and fat. With that in mind, some patients may not need a neck lift in addition to their facelift procedure. When you are evaluated during the initial consultation, our plastic surgeon can recommend the best options for your customised treatment plan.

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What are the potential risks and complications of a facelift (Rhytidectomy)?

Surgery is not an exact science. Incisions and scars are part of any surgery and the location and extent of the incisions will be discussed with you. Every effort is made by the surgeon to minimise scarring. Scars will fade over time, but they are permanent. They can also become hypertrophic or keloid. Scars vary from person to person and are related to each individual’s skin type, genetics and the ability of their skin to heal.

Every surgical procedure involves certain risks and complications (as per the ASPS brochure) including, but not limited to:

Asymmetry is evident physically in every person.  No two sides of the body are ever exactly symmetrical in shape, position or size and the surgeon will make every effort to achieve as close to symmetry as possible but some asymmetry is normal.

Delayed Healing, Infection and Suture Reactions can all be possible healing issues and may require antibiotics or in some cases surgical exploration.

Bleeding, Haematoma or Seroma Collections may resolve themselves but, in some cases may require further surgery.

Loss of Sensation and Numbness may also be experienced. In most cases this will improve over time on its own. In some cases this can be permanent.

Bruising and Swelling may also be a short term effect from surgery and will usually settle in one to two weeks.

Allergies to dressings, medical lotions, sutures or other materials can occur with some patients. You will be advised to cease the use of the dressing, lotion or material that is causing the reaction. In some cases anti-inflammatory medication may be prescribed.

Breathing Difficulties may be due to a general anaesthetic or breathing tube during the operation which has caused some swelling, noisy breathing or discomfort.

Blood Clots can also occur in some surgeries and may require urgent treatment and hospitalisation.

Pain thresholds vary from patient to patient. This may lead to different pain management and/or different recovery times to resume normal activities.

Achieving excellent results with minimal risk is a joint effort. It is important to disclosed to the surgeon and clinic and understand the following:

Full disclosure of your medical history including: allergies, personal, physical and mental history, previous surgeries, current medications and co-morbidities (including but not limited to, smoking, vaping, diabetes, prescription and illegal drug addictions, blood or heart disease, obesity or anorexia).

Co-morbidities may impact on outcome and healing post surgery.

Smoking, vaping, or taking recreational drugs must be ceased in the 6 weeks prior to some operations and during the healing phase. Failure to do so may increase the risk of complications, decrease your healing ability and affect your surgical outcome.

You should not take aspirin based prescription drugs 14 days prior to surgery and during the healing phase of the operation unless advised otherwise by the surgeon.

As per the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), all non-rebatable (cosmetic) procedures require a validated screening of Body Dysmorphia to be undertaken.

If Dr Layt is concerned about your mental state or physical state prior to the procedure, he may request evaluation by a psychologist, psychiatrist, general practitioner or other specialist. This referral is to assess your suitability, increased risks during surgery or any underlying physical or psychological problems which may affect your recovery or mental health.

In some cases this may require surgery to be postponed or cancelled by the doctor in his primary role to consider your care and personal well-being.

Every patient is an individual and therefore final surgical results will vary from patient to patient. Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified practitioner.

Any surgical procedure involves a certain amount of risk. Although facelift surgery is performed regularly, there is always the potential for certain complications, such as infection, severe bruising, or damage to nerves. Dr Craig Layt provides each patient with a list of pre- and post-operative instructions that can help reduce the chances of complications and encourage a speedy recovery.

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How Long Do Facelift (Rhytidectomy) Results Last?

Generally, many patients have enjoyed the results of a facelift for many years. However, it is very important to take excellent care of your skin, limit weight fluctuations, and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Specific Pre-Operative Instructions

WASHING: Wash the evening prior to surgery and the day of surgery, paying particular attention to the area to be operated on, including behind the ears. This decreases the bacterial count and should decrease the risks of infection.

HAIR: Wash your hair the evening prior to surgery. If you have long hair it should be tied up in a pony tail using a simple elastic band. This will keep it out of the way during surgery and make dressings easier to apply.

FASTING: You should have nothing to eat or drink for 6 hours before your operation. If you are required to take medication during this time please speak with your physician to check if this can be taken before the 6-hour fasting period or after your procedure.

PRODUCTS: Do not apply moisturisers, make-up, perfume/deodorant, nail polish, or hair products after washing. Remove all jewelry.

CLOTHING: Wear loose, comfortable clothing and footwear. A shirt with a button or zipper opening is ideal for removal.

MEDICATION: If you are having the operation as a day case, you will be given a script for antibiotics and pain relief tablets that you will need to purchase from the chemist and bring with you on the day of your procedure. Do not take these prior to surgery. The nursing staff will advise you and your carer after your procedure on how to administer them.

Certain over-the-counter products and prescription medicines can cause complications before and after surgery. They can reduce the ability of your blood to clot and could increase your tendency to bleed during and after surgery. Do not take any medication containing or related to aspirin 2 weeks prior to your procedure. This includes NSAID’S, anti-Inflammatory medications, blood thinning medication. Please see your doctor regarding if and when to cease medications. *This is not an all inclusive list*.

Also avoid Vitamin E supplements and red wine. Stop all herbal medications before surgery. The most common herbs used are Echinacea, Ephedra, Garlic, Ginseng, Ginkogo, Kava, St. John’s Wort, and Valerian. They may adversely affect anaesthetic drugs, prolong bleeding, and impair healing after surgery. Please consult your physician before ceasing any medication.

SMOKING: Smoking and vaping increases the risks of complications significantly and should be ceased 6-8 weeks prior to surgery. There are risks involved with all surgical or invasive procedures. Before proceeding, please seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

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ADMINISTRATION: Unfortunately, paperwork is a necessary evil. Each theatre complex has its own procedures. We have attempted to make it all easy by providing a simple series of steps to follow titled “THINGS TO DO FOR YOUR PROCEDURE” that is specific to the surgery centre you are attending. Please follow these instructions. If you have any queries about this or anything else don’t hesitate to contact us on 55974100.

Specific Post-Operative Instructions

POSITION: Swelling can be reduced by sleeping on raised pillows and keeping your head above your heart level. Try to avoid excessive movements of your head and neck, and minimise facial expressions.

DRESSINGS: The surgical dressings can be quite bulky and are fitted to help apply a firm but comfortable pressure and to absorb various serum and blood discharges. If the bandages are causing pain from being too firm, please call us at (07) 5597 4100. In some cases we may ask you to partially cut or remove some of the dressings in order to feel more comfortable. The large dressing is usually removed approximately 48 hours post your procedure.

WOUND CARE: There will be a tube of antibiotic ointment (sometimes labelled eye ointment) provided and this is applied a few times a day using a cotton tip to suture lines sparingly. Continue to use until the tube is empty and then continue with vaseline.

DRAINS: Small drains may be placed under your skin to collect any fluid from your surgery. The drains are on the right and left sides of your face and exit through a small cut behind your ears.

BLEEDING: As discussed earlier, the dressings will help absorb any small amounts of serum or blood and is a normal occurrence post-surgery. If bleeding appears more intense or if you are at all concerned, apply pressure and call us. Excessive bleeding can cause excessive swelling and be extremely uncomfortable. This is very uncommon. Any excessive bleeding or concerns should be brought to the attention of Dr Layt for urgent evaluation. Call us at (07) 5597 4100 immediately.

SUTURES: Most sutures will be removed between 4 and 6 days post your surgical procedure. If staples are required for your surgery, these and the sutures remaining will be removed between 9 and 12 days post your surgery.

SUNSCREEN AND MAKEUP: The healing and improvement of scars requires protection from the sun and harsh environment for at least 6 to 12 months. Patients that undergo facial surgery are expected to apply at least a 30+ sunscreen before applying makeup. Some makeup can also help provide a protective layer from the sun. We recommend seeing one of our dermal aestheticians to discuss skin care and skin care makeup approximately 6 weeks post your surgery.

TED STOCKINGS: TED stockings are used for leg compression to prevent blood clotting post-surgery and will be put on the patient by the theatre staff at the hospital.

MEDICATION: Pain relief and antibiotic medication will be prescribed. Some medication that patients are taking prior to surgery may be required to be ceased before the surgery and during the healing time. If you are currently prescribed medications for other medical issues, prior to your surgery, please discuss with Dr Layt as to whether these need to be ceased and for how long.

HAIR CARE: It is recommended that any hair colour, perm, or hair treatment be done at least a week prior to your surgery. Wash your hair the night before your surgery. After your surgery please do not have any hair treatment for approximately 6 weeks. Your hair may be washed approximately 48 hours after surgery or 24 hours post the drain removal. You may prefer to have your hairdresser wash it for you; however, explain that you still have sutures and possibly staples in the hair region. In either case, water should not be too hot and a hair dryer, if used at all, should be kept on the lowest heat setting, as your scalp may be partially numb and you will need to avoid burning the scalp. Facial shaving using an electric shaver may be used approximately 7-10 days after your surgery.

LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE: You may require lymphatic drainage appointments. These appointments are complimentary treatments with our Para Medical Aesthetician or Nurse. Each appointment will take approximately 1 hour.

Dr. Craig Layt

Contact The Layt Clinic

To learn more about what a facelift can do, contact our practice in Queensland today. We can answer your questions or help you schedule a consultation with Dr Craig Layt on the Gold Coast or in Ballina. Please note that invasive or surgical procedures carry risks. Before you proceed, it is advisable to see an appropriately qualified health practitioner for a second opinion.
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