The cutaneous facelift is a traditional technique used when the patient only needs removal of excess skin from the face. A long incision is placed along the hairline and the surgeon will excise loose skin to tighten and smooth facial skin. The technique does not disturb the underlying muscles in the face.
- avg. recovery
About the Procedure
A cutaneous facelift is one of the earliest techniques developed for tightening aging, wrinkled skin. The cutaneous facelift does not manipulate the underlying musculature in the face like more modern SMAS facelifts. Like a thread lift, the results of a cutaneous facelift will not last as long as a technique that cuts and re-drapes the muscles however the recovery time will be faster. Once the skin has been marked for incision and the patient is thoroughly anesthetized, the surgeon will cut the skin. Next, the surgeon will undermine the skin, separating the skin from the muscle to the extent of where the excess laxity is present. Special care will be taken to only dissect as far as needed since aggressive undermining may lead to insufficient blood flow resulting in skin bunching or poor healing. The skin will then be pulled into its new position and extra skin will be excised. Removing more skin will produce a tighter result but will create increased tension at the closure and may create a windswept look. Also, earlobe deformities are more common when greater tension is applied near the lower earlobe. Drains may be used to reduce swelling. Sutures will be placed to close the incisions.
Facelifts aim to rejuvenate the candidate's face for a more youthful look. By "lifting" sagging cheeks and jawline skin, a cutaneous facelift removes excess skin and corrects facial skin laxity.
What to Expect
A cutaneous facelift only removes excess skin from the face and does not address muscle laxity. Here is a quick guide for what to expect before, during, and after a cutaneous facelift.
- Stop taking blood thinning medications for 2 weeks
- Stop smoking 4 weeks before and after surgery
- No alcohol 2 days prior
- Do not eat or drink for at least 6 hours before
- Skin is marked for incision
- Skin is separated from the muscle
- Skin is pulled into new position and extra skin is excised
- Drains may be placed to reduce swelling
- Sutures to close incisions
Of the surgical facelift techniques, a cutaneous facelift has the least involved recovery period. Dressings and drains will be applied to the face immediately after the procedure. It is common for patients to experience bruising and swelling that encompasses all parts of the face. Some pain medication may be prescribed to reduce pain. Patients will also be encouraged to apply cold compresses to alleviate swelling and elevation of the head will be recommended as well.
The ideal candidate for a cutaneous facelift is younger and only needs to address excess skin on the face.
Not Recommended For
A cutaneous facelift is not recommended for patients with advanced signs of aging or with facial muscle laxity who would be better suited for a more invasive facelift procedure.
Side effects from a cutaneous facelift may include infection, bleeding, swelling, bruising, facial nerve damage, and facial asymmetry.