Dr. Mark Barlow MD, Plastic Surgeon in Houston, Clear Lake, Texas

450 Medical Center Blvd., Suite 207, Webster, Texas 77598

(281) 333-8999

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Facelift - Rhytidectomy

A facelift, or rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure to improve the appearance of the face and neck. Time, environmental factors and genetics all affect the way our faces age. Common changes include wrinkling and sagging of the skin, jowling, and soft tissue atrophy. Rhytidectomy usually combines removal of excess skin with lifting of the deeper tissues. Frequently, the neck is tightened during the same procedure. Dr. Barlow strives to provide a natural-looking result while effectively improving your facial appearance.

During your personalized consultation, Dr. Barlow will discuss your facial changes with you. Together, you will formulate a surgical plan. You are encouraged to bring photographs of yourself taken when you were younger. This will facilitate Dr. Barlow's analysis of your facial aging and allow formulation of the most appropriate surgical plan. Ancillary surgical procedures such as brow and eyelid lifts may be offered. Non-surgical modalities may also be suggested. These would include fillers, laser resurfacing, etc. During your second consultation, any questions you may still have will be answered and your plan reviewed. You will also be measured for your post-operative compression garment. The next office visit will be your pre-operative appointment. This will occur approximately two weeks prior to your surgery. Your current health status will be reviewed, Dr. Barlow will complete a pre-operative physical examination and you will receive prescriptions. You will also have the risk, benefits and alternatives to your surgery explained to you. You will then register at the hospital.

The surgery, itself, is typically performed as a day surgery at Houston Methodist St. John Hospital under general anesthesia. When combined with other procedures, you may need to spend the night in the hospital. A rhytidectomy can take between two and four hours to complete. Most rhytidectomies require sutures in front of the ears and behind the ears. In addition, a small drain tube will be placed on each side. Following the procedure, will be taken to the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit to begin the recovery process. After continuing to recover in the Outpatient Surgery Unit, you will be discharged home. You will need to have a responsible individual drive you home and stay with you for the first 24 hours following surgery.

Although all surgical procedures have discomfort, most patients find that this procedure is very well tolerated. You will be provided with a prescription for pain medication for your comfort. You will need to wear a post-operative compression garment at all times (except showering) for the first week and every night for the second week. The garment provides support for the neck and face and minimizes swelling. Your first visit is usually the next day, at which time the drain tubes are removed. At one week, the sutures in front of your ears are removed. During the next visit at two weeks, the remainder of your sutures and/or staples will be removed. You will be seen weekly for the first month, biweekly for the next month and then at four and six months. After that, you will be seen each year for an annual review of your condition. Your post-operative appointment schedule will be given to you at the time of your pre-operative visit.

A variable amount of bruising and swelling can be expected. Bruises may take a few days to appear and may descend down out of the cheek area into the neck. Bruises in the neck sometimes descend into the upper chest as they mature and fade. Swelling typically improves daily but will likely be noticeable to you for several weeks. Numbness around the ears is also common and may take months to resolve. As with all invasive procedures, your scars will take time to fade. Scars are not typically considered fully mature for over a year.

You will be restricted from exercising for a month following your surgery. This will allow your body time to recover from the surgery and avoid any unnecessarily prolonged swelling. During the early recovery period, increased activity will often lead to increased swelling.

Dr. Barlow looks forward to meeting with you and discussing your options. Call or e-mail today to schedule your appointment!

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