Face Lift (Rhytidectomy)

A facelift will lift your sagging cheeks, smooth your jaw line, and eliminate jowling. Plastic surgery of the face will also tighten the loose skin of your neck, remove excess fat from under your chin, and correct the turkey-gobbler appearance of your neck.

A facelift will NOT (here comes the bad news) eliminate your wrinkles and other skin problems. You may want to consider Skin Care, Laser Resurfacing, Chemical Peel, and Dermabrasion to complement a facelift because they address these problems.

There are some people that are interested in gaining the benefits of a facelift, but unwilling to undergo surgery. For them, instead of a facelift, that is a procedure called Thermage.
Incisions and Scars from a Facelift

Most scars from a facelift are hard to see once they heal. Scars will extend from above your ear, down the front of your ear, around your ear lobe, up the back of your ear, and into your hairline behind your ear. There is another incision beneath your chin. Your scars can be camouflaged with make-up within three weeks and should fade beyond detection in one to three months.

Ask Your Plastic Surgeon About These Complication and Telltale Signs

  • Hematoma
  • Skin death
  • Facial weakness or paralysis
  • Attached earlobe (pixie ear)
  • Open ear canal

What to Expect if You Have A Facelift

  • Anesthesia: Sedation or general.
  • Location of operation: Office or hospital.
  • Length of surgery: 2-4 hours.
  • Length of stay: An overnight stay may be recommended.
  • Discomfort: Mild. Anticipate 0-3 days of pain medication.
  • Swelling and bruising: Will be mostly gone in 2 weeks but may last longer
  • Numbness: Cheek numbness is expected and lasts several weeks or months.
  • Bandages: Changed in 1-2 days.
  • Make-up: May be worn in 1-2 weeks.
  • Presentable in public: You should be presentable within 2 weeks with the help of make-up.
  • Work: You may feel capable of returning within 5 days, but your appearance will be the limiting factor.
  • Exercise: May be resumed in 2-3 weeks.
  • Sun protection: Six months with SPF 15 or higher.
  • Final result: Seen 1-4 months following most facelifts.

Tips and Traps of a Facelift

*Mini facelifts have been touted all over the internet. Do not be deceived. Those who perform them likely do so because they do not know how to perform real facelifts. They claim that mini facelifts provide excellent results with only a few days of recovery. This is simply not true. Mini facelifts involve removing a minimal amount of excess skin near the ear, but have no effect on the skin near the cheeks, jowls, or neck. As stated by Dr. Lawrence Robbins, former president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, “The only thing a mini facelift lifts is the patient’s wallet.” Realize that if mini facelifts were effective, then all plastic surgeons would be performing them. Also, be suspicious when viewing “impressive” results of a mini facelift on the web. The actual results are not that impressive.
*Beware of plastic surgeons whose facelifts cause their patients to look like someone else. You want to look like a younger version of yourself, not like a different person.
*A facelift will only rejuvenate the lower two-thirds of your face, you may want to consider eyelid surgery and forehead lift at the same time to restore youth and maintain harmony.
*Quit smoking two weeks to two months prior to surgery.
*Quit taking aspirin and aspirin products at least two weeks before surgery.
*Wait two to three months after a chemical peel or laser resurfacing of your cheeks before you have a facelift (unless it is a micro peel).
*Frequent application of ice is important to help reduce swelling.
*Sleep in a recliner or with your head elevated on pillows for the first several days to minimize swelling. Frequent application of ice is also important.
*Expect your facelift to turn back the clock by an average of seven to ten years. You will continue to age on your new face, and you may be ready for another lift within a decade.


Dean Plastic Surgery