A face lift is a surgical procedure to improve visible signs of aging in the face and neck.
Reasons for procedure | What to expect | Call your doctor | Resources
Reasons for procedure
Cosmetic reasons for a face lift include:
- Sagging in the midface
- Deep creases below the lower eyelids
- Deep creases along the nose extending to the corner of the mouth
- Fat that is displaced
- Jowls created by a loss of muscle tone in the lower face
- Loose skin and excess fatty deposits under the chin and jaw
What to expect during face lift surgery
Prior to rhytidectomy procedure. Your plastic surgeon may evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors. In addition, he/she may examine and measure your face and take photographs for your medical record. Leading up to your facelift procedure, your doctor may ask you to:
- Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
- Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
- Stop smoking, well in advance of surgery
- Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding
Anesthesia. Medications are administered for your comfort during the face lift procedure. You and your plastic surgeon will have decided in advance what type of anesthesia is to be used — either intravenous sedation (twilight) or general anesthesia.
How is a facelift performed?
The face lift surgery usually involves incisions in front of and behind the ear. The incisions may extend into the scalp. Once the incisions are made, various degrees of undermining of the skin are performed, and the deeper layers of the face are lifted. Muscle tightening as well as liposuction of the neck and jowls may be performed, and excess skin is either removed or repositioned. The results are a reversal of the effects of gravity and tightening of soft tissues of the face to restore a more youthful contour to the face.
How long does the procedure take?
About three hours.
What is recovery like after facelift surgery?
The recovery from a face lift procedure varies greatly between individuals, however, there is generally very little discomfort after face lift surgery. Any discomfort you may experience will be controlled with pain medication as needed.
Average hospital stay.
You may be permitted to go home after a few hours, although some patients may stay overnight.
Postprocedure care. When facelift surgery is completed:
- A bandage may be wrapped around your face to minimize swelling and bruising
- Small tubes may be inserted beneath the skin to drain fluid that may collect under the skin
- Straining, bending and lifting should be avoided as these activities may predispose you to bleeding
Possible complications. Complications are rare but no procedure is completely risk free. If you are planning to have a face lift cosmetic surgery procedure, your doctor will review possible complications, which may include:
- Unfavorable scarring
- Bleeding (hematoma)
- Poor wound healing
- Anesthesia risks
- Correctable hair loss at the incisions
- Facial nerve injury with weakness
- Facial asymmetry
- Skin loss
- Numbness or other changes in skin sensation
- Fluid accumulation
- Skin contour irregularities
- Skin discoloration, sensitivity or swelling
Call your doctor
After arriving home, contact your cosmetic surgeon if any of the following occur:
- Sudden appearance of new swelling
- Severe or persistent pain
- Fever of 100 degrees or higher may be indicative of an infection
- Popped stitches
- Abnormal discharge from the incision site (milky or pus-like in appearance)
American Society of Plastic Surgeons
American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
VISIT the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) site for more information on face lift. more >>