Facelift (Rhytidectomy) | What Is It, Steps, Recovery, Complications & What to Expect

What are the possible risks and complications of this surgery?

As with all surgeries, the facelift may cause some complications, such as:

1. Hematoma

It is the most common complication. The blood collects under the skin, which causes swelling and pressure. It occurs within 24 hours of the procedure. Your doctor treats it by surgical evacuation to prevent damage to adjacent tissues.

2. Scarring

Incision of the facelift may cause permanent scars. But, the hairline, ears, and natural contour of the face usually conceal these scars. Rarely these scars may become red and raised. Your doctor may use local steroid injections to improve the appearance of these scars.

3. Nerve injury (like the facial nerve)

It is a rare but dangerous complication. An injury may affect the nerves controlling the facial sensations and expressions. The effect of this injury may be temporary or permanent. It may lead to loss of sensations or irregular facial expressions (or appearance). These effects may last up to a year. Your doctor may try some surgical interventions to correct this.

4. Sloughing (or skin loss)

The surgery may rarely interrupt the blood supply to the facial skin, which causes skin loss. Appropriate wound care and some medications may promote healing and prevent scarring. If necessary, a surgical procedure to minimize scarring may be performed.

As with any major surgery, persons who undergo a facelift are at risk of bleeding, infections, and anesthesia issues. Some people are at higher risk, such as smokers. Also, medications and medical conditions that affect blood clotting raise the risk of bleeding. Poorly controlled diabetes and hypertension also increase the risk of hematoma and poor wound healing (skin loss).

During consultation and preparation, your doctor will consider these risks and complications and your health condition to decide if this surgery is suitable. You and your doctor will consider the expected benefits and the possible risks.

5. Temporary or permanent hair loss

may occur at (or near to) the incision site. Transplantation of hair follicles may correct the permanent hair loss.