Face lift


As time moves forward, gravity, exposure to the sun, and the daily stress take their toll on our faces and necks. Deep folds appear beside the mouth, the jaw line slackens and becomes jowly, and the neck develops loose folds and fat deposits. Facelifts counteract these signs of aging by tightening muscle, removing fat, and trimming excess skin, giving your face a fresher, youthful look. After surgery, some patients look 10-15 years younger.

What is a face lift?

A facelift is a surgical technique that restores beautiful bone structure to the aging jaw, cheeks, and neck. The surgeon focuses on resuspending the muscular substructure of the face and neck (the SMAS and platysma) to achieve long lasting, natural results. A good facelift leaves you looking like a younger, more natural, more subtly improved version of yourself– NOT a tightly-pulled, “windblown,” different person. Our surgeons’ focus is on subtle, natural, elegant, and refined results– a look that whispers, not a look that screams.

Facelift surgery is one of the top five most commonly performed plastic surgical procedures in North America, with many people seeking to rejuvenate the appearance of their middle and lower face, as well as their neck.

Is a face lift right for me?

Face lifts can produce a dramatic improvement in appearance for patients with the problems mentioned above. However, face lifts do not slow down or stop the natural aging process; in time, signs of aging gradually appear once again. Furthermore, face lifts will not rejuvenate the eyebrows, nose, eyelids, and part of the mid-face region. Patients who are looking to improve these areas may want to combine face lift with  eyelid surgery or a brow lift.  

Am I a candidate for face lift?

The ideal patients for rhytidectomy are those who wish to improve one or more signs of aging indicated above and men or women whose faces have begun to sag, but whose skin still may have some elasticity. Men and women who are generally healthy and those who have realistic expectations. those who do not smoke tobacco. Those who are also wanting to do it for personal reasons and not because of pressure from someone else. During your consultation, our patient coordinator will discuss whether a facelift is right for you.

What to expect during the procedure

Facelifts are typically outpatient procedures and may be performed in an office-based facility, surgery center or hospital. Patients may have a choice of IV sedation or general anesthesia. The procedure takes about two hours.

The way a facelift is performed varies depending on the surgeon, the patient’s facial structure, and the extent of correction desired. The three most common incision techniques are:

  • Traditional facelift: The “full” facelift for rejuvenating the face, jowls and neck, including fat sculpting, lifting and repositioning of muscle and deeper tissues, and skin trimming and redraping. The incision begins at the temples and travels down to the front of the ear, around the earlobe, and behind the ear to the lower scalp at the hairline. Sometimes, another incision is made under the chin.
  • Limited-incision facelift: For limited rejuvenation around the eyes and mouth, including nasolabial folds and other deep creases. Short incisions are made at the temples and around the ear, and possibly in the lower eyelids and/or under the upper lip as well.
  • Neck lift: A neck lift concentrates on jowls, loose skin on the neck, and fat under the chin. The incision is made around the ear lobe and behind the ear to the lower scalp.

In all three methods, incisions are closed with stitches or tissue glue. Scars are hidden in the hairline and natural contours of the face.

Recovering from a face lift

After your rhytidectomy, your doctor will wrap your incisions with bandages and may place drainage tubes in the area. The tubes will be taken out the next day when your hair will be washed carefully. If surgical clips are used to hold and close the incisions, they will be removed approximately one week after the facelift along with the stitches.  

You may experience swelling, bruising, numbness and a feeling of tension in the face and neck, and your face might appear distorted or slightly uneven with a feeling of stiffness in the neck muscles. Most of these effects will resolve in about 3-6 weeks, and your sensation will return to normal within three to four months. Scars will also become less raised, red, itchy or lumpy in time. 

You will be able to work after about three weeks after your procedure. Camouflage cosmetics can be used in the meantime to reduce the appearance of bruising. Try to be gentle with your face and hair while you recover. Men may need to shave regularly behind the neck and ears where areas of beard growing skin have moved.