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All you need to know about facelift

What is a facelift?

A facelift is a cosmetic surgical procedure that improves the appearance of your face by reducing sagging or folding skin from the cheeks and jawline.


In a facelift, a flap of skin on each side of the face is pulled back, and tissues below the skin are surgically altered to return the contour of the face to a more youthful shape. Before the flap is sutured closed, excess skin is removed.


This procedure is only focused on the bottom two-thirds of the face and often the neck.

Who is an ideal candidate for a facelift?

In general, an ideal candidate for a facelift is someone in good health and:


  • Healthy individuals with no medical conditions that may interfere with wound healing

  • People that do not smoke

  • Those with realistic expectations

What are the benefits of a facelift?

As we get older our skin loses collagen and elastin, two fibers that make up the supporting structure of the skin.


A facelift has the following benefits by reducing and eliminating:


  • The excess skin at your lower jawline

  • The sagging appearance of your cheeks

  • The deepening of the fold of skin from the side of your nose to the corner of your mouth

  • The excess fat in the neck if the procedure includes a neck lift)

What are the risks of a facelift?

As with any major surgery, a facelift carries some risks that include:


  • Bleeding

  • Infection

  • Anesthesia risks

  • Poor wound healing

  • Skin loss

  • Nerve injury

  • Seroma

  • Pain

  • Scarring

  • Prolonged swelling

  • Skin discoloration

  • Suture issues

  • Hematoma

  • Hair loss around the incision sites

Does a facelift include the neck?

Typically, a facelift includes a neck lift.

How is the facelift procedure like?



General anesthesia is usually recommended for a facelift. Sometimes, other procedures are performed to enhance the outcome of the surgery and may include facial implants or fat transfer, resurfacing techniques, and wrinkle reduction.




A traditional facelift incision often begins in the hairline at the temples, continues around the ear and ends in the lower scalp.


According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, fat may be sculpted or redistributed from the face, jowls, and neck and underlying tissue is repositioned, commonly the deeper layers of the face and the muscles are also lifted.


Then, the skin is redraped over the uplifted contours and excess skin is trimmed away.


A second incision under the chin may be necessary to further improve an aging neck. Sutures or skin adhesives close the incisions.


Closing the incisions


Your plastic surgeons finish the procedure by closing the sutures that in many cases dissolve after a few days.


In some cases, you might need to return to the surgeon to have stitches removed. The incisions are made in such a way that they blend with your hairline and facial structure.

What should I expect after a facelift?

After surgery, facelift patients should expect covered incisions with bandages that provide gentle pressure to minimize swelling and bruising.


A small tube might be placed under the skin behind one or both of your ears to drain any excess blood or fluid.


You should also expect:


  • Mild to moderate pain

  • Drainage from the incisions

  • Swelling

  • Bruising

  • Numbness

What should I expect in a facelift recovery?

You should expect guidelines from your plastic surgery for proper care of the surgical site, medications, and recovery.


In the first week following surgery, you should expect to rest with your head elevated, the intake of pain medication, and the application of cool packs to reduce pain and swelling.

You should also expect a downtime of two weeks before resuming your regular activities and about six to eight weeks for exercising.

What results should I expect from a facelift?

You should expect a more youthful appearance. It may take up to six months to a year for the swelling to resolve and the scars to slowly mature and fade.


Face-lift results are not permanent. As we age, the facial skin may begin to sag again. However, in general, face-lift results are expected to last ten years.


Talk with your doctor about what you can do to help ensure a successful facelift and what you can reasonably expect from the surgery.

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