A rhytidectomy or facelift is designed to restore a more youthful appearance to the neck and jowl region by removing major wrinkles and sagging skin. If there is excess fat in the neck or chin region, this can simultaneously be addressed with liposuction or direct excision.  A facelift can improve a tired facial appearance by smoothing the skin and reestablishing defined contours along the neck and jawline.  It is often done in combination with other procedures including a browlift and eyelid surgery to create an overall harmonious, youthful result.
The surgery is done under general anesthesia and typically takes 4-6 hours.  Incisions are made in the natural crease in front of the ear, around the earlobe, and behind the ear extending into the hairline.  It involves elevation of the skin, tightening of the facial and neck muscles and redraping and removal of any excess skin.  Postoperatively patients may have a drain in overnight as well as head and neck wrappings.  After these are removed, patients are often required to wear a removable chin strap for several weeks. Sutures are usually removed 7-14 days after surgery but it is usually 2 to 3 weeks before most patients feel socially presentable.