Facelift 101: Guiding You Through Your First Facelift
Over 120 thousand Americans had a facelift last year. As we age, gravity, loss of facial fat and excess sagging skin makes us look older than we are. A facelift removes excess skin, tightens underlying muscles and tissues and redrapes skin on the face and neck to return your youthful contours and glow. 2020 is the year to start your transformation and get a lift to your face. This guide will give you information to know and expect about getting a facelift.
What do You Mean by “Facelift”?
Googling terms like “Facelift San Diego” or “What is a Facelift” can throw up thousands of search results. Some from trusted and reliable sources and others may not grasp the true understanding of what a facelift is and what you should expect.
Known medically as a rhytidectomy, a facelift is a cosmetic procedure designed to restore the youthful appearance of your face. Saggy, droopy, or loose skin can make your face appear older. A facelift essentially “lifts” the skin and underlying tissues back to their original location on the face and neck.
Facial skin is delicate and is more affected by the aging process. Natural sagging and bagging can occur due to:
- Facial skin relaxing overtime (skin losing elasticity)
- Fold lines around the nose and mouth deepening due to use (natural aging cycle)
- Weight loss causing loss of fat in the facial region
- Certain lifestyle choices (smoking, sun exposure, activity level)
Your face is unique – and you can keep it that way. If you’re ready to take back your youth, the following will describe the process in more detail.
How Does a Facelift Work?
The basic objective of a facelift is to reposition, lift and tighten the underlying tissues and facial skin to achieve a more youthful appearance. This younger look is achieved through:
- Repositioning and Tightening of deeper facial tissues and muscles
- Tightening of the jawline, jowls and cheeks
- Removing excess skin
- Removal or addition of fat or other soft-tissue fillers if necessary for improved contour
These goals can typically be achieved in an outpatient procedure, sometimes using just local anesthetic. There are three main types of facelifts to give you the look you deserve.
#1 Standard Facelift
This procedure corrects moderate to advanced signs of aging by lifting and pulling the facial skin to tighten the patient’s face. This procedure addresses the lower 2/3rds of the face with incisions being made within the hairline so there is no visible scarring. See the image below for the typical standard facelift procedure.
#2 Deep Plane Facelift
This modern procedure focuses on the midplane of the face, specifically issues that stem from underlying muscle degradation. Just like the rest of our muscles, facial muscles become weaker over time and may contribute to droopy cheeks, changes in nose shape, and fine lines around the mouth, nose, and eyes. The deep plane procedure addresses the muscle tissue for a rejuvenating effect on the entire face.
The image below shows the general vector of elevating the tissues with a deep plane facelift. The muscles underneath the skin are lifted upward to achieve a fresh, tightened look. If the procedure is done on the neck, the muscles are generally lifted and tightened backward.
This procedure is appropriate for a mild level of visible aging. Like a standard facelift, it aims to tighten and rejuvenate the skin but uses smaller incisions than a standard facelift, which makes the recovery time faster and easier. The small incision is made near the ear lobe along the hairline and is typically not visible when fully healed.
Why do Individuals Want a Facelift?
There are many reasons why someone might want a facelift. Whether it’s to boost your confidence or just to look less tired or a bit younger, facial plastic surgery may be right for you. As with any medical procedure, there are some benefits and risks associated with it.
Benefits of Facial Plastic Surgery
- Restore youthful appearance
- Enhance confidence
- Lift and tighten sagging skin
- Improve Jowls that obscure the jawline
- Appear younger and energized
- Reduce deep lines and wrinkles
Potential Risks of a Facelift
- Adverse reaction to anesthesia
- Poor wound healing
- Hematoma or seroma (an accumulation of blood or fluid under the skin that may require removal)
- Changes in sensation
- Facial nerve injury or weakness
- Unsatisfactory results that may necessitate additional procedures
Before and After
A picture is worth a thousand words – check out these before and after pictures of real people who underwent a facelift procedure.
A Facelift in 4 Easy Steps
Before going into a consultation with a plastic surgeon, you should have a clear image in mind of what you want to achieve, and be prepared to share your vision with the surgical team. The more vivid an image you can paint, the better the results you will achieve.
Your surgeon will evaluate your general health and discuss your medical history and any current medications you may be on. The surgeon will then examine you and discuss the treatment options and recommendations with you including what procedure will be most effective.
#2 Before the Procedure
In preparation for the procedure, like any surgery, it is recommended to live a healthy lifestyle. Your surgeon will give you specific recommendations, which generally include:
- Getting a medical evaluation
- Using a certain skincare regimen preoperatively
- Stop smoking
- Avoid using aspirin or certain medications or herbal supplements as they may increase bleeding during the procedure
Be sure to follow all recommendations from your surgical team for the best results.
#3 During the Procedure
Depending on the procedure, you may be completely sedated or only local anesthetic will be used. Either way, you should not feel any pain during your surgery. A facelift is typically an outpatient procedure, so you can go home the same day.
#4 After the procedure
You’ll be ready to show off your new face in about 2-3 weeks. Everyone’s body heals differently but you can expect progress day by day.
- Day of Surgery: follow all post-op instructions, your face will be bandaged and when you are fully alert, you will be released to go home under the care of an adult. You should expect some swelling and possible bruising and should take pain medications as prescribed. Maintain a healthy diet and drink lots of fluids.
- Week One: Swelling and bruising should decrease, and pain should be diminishing. Sutures will be removed. Do not overexert yourself during this time.
- Week Two: Swelling and bruising should be nearly gone and you can begin to see your rejuvenated look! Continue to refrain from overexertion and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- One Month: There should be no swelling or bruising, and generally you can continue your life as normal, showing your new, young face to the world with confidence.
Overall, after about 4-6 weeks, you can confidently show your face to your friends and family.
For a full timeline of recovery, click here.
20 Frequently Asked Questions About Facelifts
1. How much does it cost for a facelift? Prices will vary depending on the type of facelift and level of your surgeon’s training and expertise. Since this is a custom procedure, prices range from $10,000 to $15,000 or more. Pricing will be discussed after the consultation when the procedure has been designed and most offices offer various financing options.
2. How long do facelifts last? This depends on a variety of factors, including the type of procedure performed, age and lifestyle. Facelift technique is the most important factor in determining how long the result will last. A full facelift can typically last about 10 years. Minimal facelift techniques with fast recoveries will last the least amount of time, generally a few years.
3. How do they do a facelift? A facelift is a series of procedures, performed at one time, on the face. These surgical procedures reposition the facial skin and underlying tissues back to their original position, creating a more youthful appearance.
4. What is a facelift called? Medically, a facelift is referred to as rhytidectomy, which means to remove wrinkles. Modern facelifts, however, do so much more than just remove wrinkles.
5. What age is best for a facelift? Facelift San Diego recommends a facelift when you notice signs of aging that physically improves significantly when you lift and reposition your facial skin. For some this occurs around age 40. At this age, the skin is still flexible and the lift can be touched up late in life if necessary.
6. Is there an upper age limit to getting a facelift? It depends on one’s overall health status. There are many people who get facelifts in their 70’s and 80’s as long as they are healthy.
7. When should you get a facelift? You should consider a facelift if your reflection in the mirror makes you feel old, tired, or just underwhelmed. Your face is the first thing people see – If your face doesn’t match what you feel, make sure it is what you want to show to the world.
8. How many facelifts can you have? Technically, there is no limit to how many facelifts you can have in your lifetime. Since the process stretches the skin, subsequent lifts may not be as effective due to loss of elasticity or alternatively may not need to be as extensive.
9. What are the risks of a neck lift? Like a facelift and any surgery, risks associated with a neck lift include reaction to the anesthetic, bleeding, temporary pain, hematoma, infection, and unfavorable scarring. To reduce your risk, make sure your surgeon is board-certified.
10. How much is a mini facelift? Just like a full facelift, this procedure is custom and can be anywhere from $5000 to $10000, depending on the scale of the procedure.
11. How much does an eye lift cost? The average cost of an eye lift is $4000 and up depending on the type of procedure, upper or lower eyes, etc. and varies from clinic to clinic.
12. What does an eye lift do? An eyelift is a facelift for the eyes. It is a surgical procedure that reduces eye bagginess by tightening the surrounding skin, creating a more energized and youthful appearance. For more information on the eye lift procedure, check out this resource.
13. How do you sleep after a facelift? After a facelift, the best position to sleep in following the procedure is on your back, with your head elevated about 45 degrees. You need to avoid applying unnecessary pressure to the region.
14. What can I do about sagging jowls? A lower face and neck lift targets jowls specifically by removing and tightening excess skin and underlying tissues. Some parts of a facelift may also address the jowl area.
15. How many years does a thread lift last? Unlike a full facelift, a thread lift will only last about three years, as the stitches placed in the skin will dissolve and degrade over this time.
16. Can a facelift Improve my eyelids too? A facelift may have some effects on the eyelids, but for true rejuvenation, and eyelid lift may be right for you.
17. How soon can I expect results? Results of a facelift should be visible two weeks after your surgery. As your face fully heals, more and more improvements can be seen over the first 3 months.
18. I’m planning on losing weight – should I wait to get a facelift? Typically, it depends on the amount of weight loss. If it is a large amount, it may be recommended to lose the desired weight first and then return for a reassessment.
19. How long does the procedure take? The procedure itself should take about three to four hours depending on the type of facelift.
20. What will I look like during recovery? Directly after your procedure, your face will be bandaged and you will have sutures around the incision sites. After 1-2 weeks, the sutures will be removed and there should be little to no bruising or swelling. Full recovery is expected to take about 3 months. Most patients are quite presentable within 2 weeks of their surgery.