Facelift in a Nutshell
4 – 6 Hours
- Invasiveness 90% 90%
- Pain Factor 80% 80%
Also called a rhytidectomy, a facelift is pretty much what it sounds like—a surgical lifting of sagging facial tissue to restore your tighter, smoother, youthful appearance. Contrary to what you may believe (or what you may have seen in certain celebrity photos), a facelift should not be a procedure that makes you look like a completely different person, but a rejuvenation. That’s what we strive for in our clinic—an improved you.
To give you an idea though, at our clinic, the facelift costs generally starts at $16,000 plus tax. This includes general anesthesia. If you opt for additional procedures such as blepharoplasty or face liposuction, your overall facelift cost will increase, but will be lower than if you had each procedure separately.
How is Full Facelift Performed?
You will be placed under general anesthesia, so you will not feel any pain or discomfort during the procedure. Your surgeon will make several tiny incisions just inside your hairline, at your temples, and then extending from the front of your ear, around your earlobe, and behind your ear, ending at your scalp.
He will then gently pull your skin taut, to the point where it's lifted, but still looks natural, and then cut away the excess skin. He'll also tighten the muscles and connective tissues underneath your skin so they can better support your facial skin, and maintain your facelift results for a longer period of time.
Full facelift surgery lasts, on average, five to six hours. Once the procedure is complete, your surgeon will close all the incisions with small sutures in an effort to minimize scarring.
In our clinic, a facelift is an outpatient procedure, meaning you don't have to stay overnight, and can go home the same day. Because you will have been under general anesthesia, you'll need someone to drive you home, and stay with you, at least until the effects of the anesthesia have worn off.
It's important to remember that everyone's results will vary based on several factors, including but not limited to age, gender, weight, and underlying bone structure.
Associated ProceduresTo achieve full facial rejuvenation, you may opt to have additional procedures performed simultaneously with your facelift, such as:
A neck lift can be performed with a local anesthetic. It entails making a small incision just under your chin, which will allow your surgeon to both tighten the underlying muscles and lift the sagging skin. If any excess fat is present, he may also perform neck liposuction to further slim and smooth your neck.
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You'll also need to wear a special compression garment around your head and neck for two to three weeks to help manage swelling. In some cases, drainage tubes are inserted into the incisions to prevent fluid accumulation. These are usually removed a few days after surgery. You'll also need to sleep with your head elevated for several days—possibly longer—after your facelift.
In the weeks following your facelift, numbness in the skin on your face and around your ears. This is usually caused by a bruising of the facial nerves during surgery, and is normal and temporary. On occasion, permanent nerve damage can result from a facelift, but this is a rare occurrence.
You may also experience some facial discoloration once healing begins, which may take a few months to disappear, as well as a feeling of tightness when opening your mouth. This is also normal, and temporary.
You can expect to see your final facelift results in about six months. If you had any associated procedures performed simultaneously, your recovery period will likely last longer, and it may also be longer before you see the final results.
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Question & Answer
What does a facelift not correct?
A facelift is not to be confused with a forehead lift or brow lift. Even though the forehead is part of the face, a facelift addresses more of the mid to lower region of the face. A forehead lift or brow lift are separate procedures that can be performed simultaneously with a facelift.
A facelift also does not correct signs of aging around the eye area. A blepharoplasty will correct the tissue and skin around the eyes. It’s one of the most common cosmetic procedures performed simultaneously with a facelift.
Are there alternatives to facelift surgery?
The facelift procedure is designed for dramatic rejuvenation, and is not recommended for the removal of fine wrinkles. For this type of minor issue, we recommend dermal fillers or laser skin resurfacing.
How long do facelift results last?
On average, eight to ten years—if you take good care of yourself, and lead a healthy lifestyle. A mini facelift later on can help maintain results, if necessary.
How visible are facelift scars?
Our surgeon does his best to make the facelift incisions as inconspicuous as possible. Most of the incisions are made in the natural creases along and behind the ear, so they’re hardly noticeable. For the first couple months, until the redness subsides, covering them with makeup will help.
What are the facelift risks?
Facelift risks include, but are not limted to:
– nerve damage
– reaction to anesthesia
– hair loss at the incision sites
Your surgeon will discuss these possible complications with you in more detail.
Should I lose weight before or after my facelift?
Any surgery should be done when you are at your best, maintainable health. If you plan on losing weight, we highly recommend you lose it and make sure you are able to maintain it before you come in for your facelift. This is because your facelift will be designed for the body you have at the time of procedure. Dramatic changes to your weight could have a negative effect on your facelift results.
Will I look like a different person?
No. The most successful facelifts are those that create a look of youthfulness and rest. You will still look like you, but a happier, younger, well-rested you.
How long does facelift recovery take?
A full facelift procedure is quite complex and initial swelling can last up to three months. It will also take quite a while for your muscles and tissue will naturally settle into their new positions. You should see the final results of your facelift in about six months, but everyone’s experience will vary.
How do I sleep after my facelift?
You should sleep with your head elevated above your heart after your facelift procedure. This prevents venous congestion at the surgical site, and also prevents swelling.
Can I get my hair colored after my facelift?
Generally, you can resume coloring your hair four to six weeks after your facelift. This is assuming that all of your incisions have healed properly, and you have no openings or complications. Check with your doctor to be sure.
How long do I have to wait to fly after my facelift?
We recommend you wait at least two weeks after this procedure, assuming it was not extensively complex. If you fly prior to the two-week mark, you risk blood clotting and being affected by the change in air pressure, which can lead to serious complications. After two weeks, flying is generally safe.
Can smoking affect my facelift?
Smoking and nicotine intake must be stopped months prior to your facelift. This is because nicotine can make you more prone to necrosis (skin death), poor healing caused by restricted circulation, and other complications.