What Exactly is a Facelift?
Facelifts remove and tighten excess skin and reposition fat deposits and muscles that have sagged or warped over time. Facelift procedures can remove deep-set wrinkles, sagging jowls, fatty deposits or banding on the face and neck. This is accomplished by removing or repositioning fat to areas which will fill in wrinkled or sagging skin, as well as reducing and tightening skin around the lower jaw.
Facelifts fall into several categories: Full, lower, and mini lifts:
- Full facelifts: A full facelift is the most complex type of facelift because it is a combination of separate procedures that work together to rejuvenate the overall appearance of the face. Because everyone ages differently, the procedures that work for one person could be completely inappropriate for another. The surgeries generally included in a full facelift target the lower face, mid-face and neck.
- Lower facelifts: Lower facelifts target only the lower portion of the face and are used to sculpt the skin and tissue around the mouth, jaw and neck. Lower facelifts help to remove the signs of weariness and falsely expressed emotions (sadness, anger, fatigue) which can look permanent on aging skin.
- Mini facelifts: Mini facelifts generally involve a single incision site along the ear. This tiny S-shaped incision is designed to be virtually invisible once healed. Also known as the “weekend facelift,” this procedure is popular among women aged 40-50 who have only just begun to show signs of aging. Skin that has severe deep wrinkles and signs of aging would not generally benefit much from a mini facelift.
About the Facelift Procedure
General anesthesia is almost always used for full facelifts so that patients are unconscious and immobile for surgery. Local anesthesia combined with sedation may be used for less complicated procedures such as lower or mini facelifts. In this instance, the area surrounding the surgical site will be numbed and you will receive intravenous sedation to relax you and keep your body still. You may fall asleep as a result of the sedation, but many patients remain awake throughout their procedures.
The surgeon will make incisions necessary to access the targeted areas of the face. Through these incisions, the doctor will reposition and tighten the facial muscles and skin for a smooth, youthful appearance. Fat may be repositioned to fill in facial hollows and promote symmetry. Excess skin and fat will be removed before the incisions are closed and dressings are applied.
Swelling, bruising and bleeding at the incision sites are typical after a facelift. Patients should focus on resting with their head elevated for the first week after surgery to maximize healing and prevent unnecessary strain on the body.
Initially, patients may have a surgical drain placed at the incision site to reduce swelling. This drain must be emptied and reset frequently to prevent a fluid buildup. Drains are typically removed a few days after surgery. The sutures will either dissolve in a couple of weeks or be removed along with any drains.
Most patients return to office jobs within one to two weeks following surgery, depending on the extent of the facelift. Bending, lifting and strenuous exercise will be off-limits for several weeks following a facelift. Patients should take great care to follow all recovery instructions to enhance the results of the procedure and help prevent complications.
Swelling will subside over the weeks and months following surgery and patients can expect to see final results in about six months to a year. Preliminary results will be visible after about six to eight weeks.
Are You the Right Candidate for a Facelift?
Ideal candidates for a facelift are in general good health, have a positive self-image and attitude, realistic expectations, and the ability to devote time to the healing process.
Below are characteristics a facelift patient commonly has:
- Fat deposits in the face which have shifted or fallen to create hollows or wrinkles
- Sagging skin along the jawline or fatty jowls
- Creases or folds extending from the corners of the mouth to the nose
- Marionette lines which extend from the corners of the mouth down to the chin
- A double chin resulting from fallen fat deposits or excess skin
- Creases or banding along the neck
- Any loss of muscle tone in the lower face leading to an aged appearance
Frequently Asked Questions
At Mia Aesthetics, the starting cost for a facelift procedure is $7,500. Your final cost will depend on your surgeon, location, and your specific individual needs.
Your surgeon can give the appearance of turning back the clock with a facelift, but he can’t actually stop time. As such, facelifts last about 10 years. After that, you may start to see the effects of aging slowly creep back into your face.
There technically is no limit to the number of facelifts you can have in a lifetime. If you wish to have multiple lifts, your surgeon will assess your skin and make sure that performing another facelift won’t result in a fake, pulled-too-tight look. Because they last for a decade, most people have only one procedure. A second facelift is rare but not unheard of in people who were young when they had the first.