Facial plast Surg 2011; 27(1): 098-111
DOI: 10.1055/s-0030-1270427
© Thieme Medical Publishers

Rhytidectomy: Principles and Practice Emphasizing Safety

Krista Rodriguez-Bruno1 , Ira D. Papel1
  • 1Department of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
18 January 2011 (online)


There is an unprecedented acceptance of rhytidectomy by today's society. No longer limited to the affluent few, middle class citizens are devoting their expendable income to achieve a more youthful appearance that is natural and inconspicuous. Despite recent difficult economic times, the mindset of the working population continues to be welcoming of rhytidectomy as a way to achieve a refreshed look while expecting minimal downtime and morbidity. To achieve these results, the current literature has described an array of techniques; however, there is no consensus on a preferred method, which reflects limitations and advantages inherent to every style of face-lifting. Each individual patient will have specific needs, and it is key for the facial plastic surgeon to select a technique that can address those areas most affected by the aging process. Whichever method used, an emphasis on safety is of the utmost importance. A solid understanding of the relevant anatomy is imperative as is the awareness of how to best avoid complications. Rhytidectomy can be a challenging procedure, and although complications are fortunately rare, they can be cosmetically devastating and poorly accepted by the elective cosmetic patient. This article aims at providing a summary of the history, the anatomy, and the currently accepted methods in rhytidectomy, emphasizing principles and practices of safety.