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Face Lift
Rhytidectomy


It may be argued that the most prominent feature of the human body is the face. Unfortunately, over time exposure to the sun, fluctuations in weight, genetics and many other factors (i.e., smoking and exposure to pollution) express their collective effect within the appearance of our face. As a result of these factors, facial skin loosens, wrinkles and furrows develop, and the muscles of the neck, jowls, forehead, etc., may weaken. The plastic surgery process referred to in clinical circles as "rhytidectomy," more commonly known as "face lift," may address these various effects by firming and tightening the skin of the face and neck.

"Furthermore, to

achieve a more profound rejuvenation of the face, injections of various collagen fillers or Botox may be utilized."



There is little debate that a face lift procedure is most effective in treating problem areas present in the lower facial regions such as the jowls and neck. More often than not, face lifts are commonly performed in tandem with other facial plastic surgery procedures such as upper and lower blepharoplasty which treat the facial region surrounding the eyes. Furthermore, in an effort to achieve a more profound rejuvenation of the face, injections of various collagen fillers or Botox ® may be utilized to treat pronounced creases in the forehead or frown lines between the eyebrow area. Concomitantly, in an effort to accentuate and define the chin region, frequently due to the presence of a double chin, the facial surgeon may incorporate a procedure referred to as "supplemental lipectomy" along with a face lift.

woman faceIn an effort to rejuvenate the appearance of their face, more and more people are turning to face lifts. In fact, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, over the past four years, the number of face lift procedures performed in the United States has increased to 128,667. The increasing frequency of face lift procedures places it among the top five most popular plastic surgery procedures along with nose-reshaping (rhinoplasty), liposuction (lipoplasty), Breast Augmentation (Augmentation Mammaplasty), and eyelid surgery (Blepharoplasty).

When considering a face lift, it is important to recognize that, despite conventional opinion, the texture of the skin on the face will not be modified by the face lift procedure. Facial skin conditions such as fine lines, acne scars, age spots and smoker's creases will quickly return to their original texture and presentation regardless of how tightly the skin is pulled during a face lift. Furthermore, a face lift will not result in bestowing beautiful skin on the recipient unless the patient possessed it prior to a face lift procedure. This being the case, there are solutions. For example, skin treatments such as laser resurfacing and chemical peels may be used in conjunction with a face lift in an effort to improve the texture of the skin and minimize the appearance of wrinkles, age spots, etc.

While the information contained in this website will provide you with a good introduction to the procedure, when considering a face lift, or any plastic surgery procedure for that matter, we recommend that you consult a qualified provider with experience in face lift surgery. This being said, some important elements you should understand include the following:

Benefits of Face lift Surgery:

"While face lift surgery

cannot stop the aging process, it may deter and offset some of its effects."

While face lift surgery cannot stop the aging process, it may deter and offset some of its effects. Furthermore, face lift surgery offers many patients a way to address the effects of heredity, sun exposure, environmental issues (i.e., pollution), smoking, etc. In some face lift surgery cases it is believed that the person receiving the face lift may appear to be a decade younger than their actual age. Because of these various issues, face lift surgery continues to enjoy widespread and growing popularity.
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How is Face lift Surgery Performed?

The traditional technique for performing face lift surgery utilizes an incision that begins in the hairline near the temple and continues in front of the ear, around the ear lobe, behind the ear and back into the hairline. Following the precise creation of this surgical incision, the facial/neck muscles and sagging tissues are tightened, excess skin is removed and the remaining skin is repositioned in way that creates a rejuvenated and youthful appearance. In face lift cases where the neck needs specific lifting, a small incision is made under the chin from which the neck muscles and tissues are tightened. Following the lift process, the surgeon will use synthetic stitches to close the surgical incision. In some cases, the surgeon may elect to use metal clips to suture the incision depending on its length and depth.

Keep in mind that a face lift may improve the appearance of wrinkles but it will not remove them entirely from the facial region. Additional facial treatments such as chemical and laser resurfacing, along with
Botox and collagen injections may be used to help treat laugh lines, wrinkles, furrows and other skin blemishes such as age spots and acne scars.
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How Much Pain is Associated With Face lift Surgery?

While time duration of a face lift procedure varies from surgeon to surgeon, a face lift usually requires two to three hours and may be performed using either local or general anesthesia (i.e., "deep sedation"). The longer the procedure is expected to take, the more likely it is that general anesthesia will be recommended for the face lift procedure. Anesthesia preferences will be discussed with the surgeon during the doctor-patient consultation. Furthermore, issues such as the complexity of the facial condition and the patient's desired results factor into determining how long the face lift procedure will take. Again, during the doctor-patient consultation, the surgeon will be able to provide a more specific time frame to the patient.

"Usually, there is very little

pain associated with a face lift, and swelling typically disappears within a few days."

While many face lift procedures may be performed in a hospital setting, many are done in an office surgical suite. The location of where the face lift procedure is to be performed will depend on the patient's preferences as well as the surgeon's. Furthermore, while some patients are allowed to return home the same day as their face lift surgery, for some it may be necessary to spend the night in a hospital facility so that their recovery process may be monitored by trained medical staff.
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What is The Long-Term Effect of Face lift Surgery?

Following the initial recovery period, patients may expect a rejuvenated and more youthful appearance. While most patients feel and look surprisingly okay following face lift surgery, the fact remains that face lift surgery is an invasive surgical technique and as such, pain accompanies the procedure. While the degree of pain varies significantly from patient to patient, factors such as one's level of pain tolerance, the magnitude of the face lift procedure, etc., contribute significantly to the level of pain experienced following face lift surgery. Usually, there is very little pain associated with a face lift and residual swelling typically disappears within a few days. Additionally, most bruises are gone within a few weeks. Patients generally feel a sense of tightness and numbness that should gradually dissipate within several weeks. Following face lift surgery, it is important to follow the surgeon's plan when returning to strenuous activity. This will help avoid placing unnecessary tension on the wound that could lead to additional scarring.

faceliftIn regards to scarring, face lift surgery scars typically remain pink in color for the first few months before maturing into less visible white scars as time passes. Furthermore, face lift scars are primarily confined to the hairline region and within the natural creases of the skin.

While the immediate effects of a face lift may last for many years, the aging process continues. As a result, it is impossible to predict how long it might be before an individual would consider having a second face lift. As with all forms of plastic surgery, the results of face lift surgery are different for each and every patient. Typically, those patients who look best after a face lift are those who looked best before the procedure. While some patients may have one face lift during the course of their life, other patients may have a second face lift performed seven to fifteen years later.


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Who Would Best Represent an Ideal Candidate For Facelift Surgery?

The best candidates for facelift surgery are typically those who:
  • Possess good facial skin elasticity
  • Are in good physical condition
  • Are psychologically stable
  • Don't smoke
  • Maintain realistic expectations
  • Are well informed as to the facelift procedure's outcome
In questioning the appropriate age and time for one to have a facelift, it is frequently suggested that a person have a facelift when they are prepared for it and that they may enjoy the benefits of facelift surgery. In other words, age range varies significantly. For example, a person with fat deposits on the sides of their face or neck may be in their early twenties, while another person may be in their seventies when face surgery is most appropriate.
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What Are The Risks and Limitations of Facelift Surgery?

When evaluating facelift surgery it is important to remember that a facelift is a surgical procedure and is subject to the usual problems and complications that accompany surgery. As in most surgical procedures, bleeding from cut tissues may lead to bruising and possible accumulations of blood under the skin resulting in topical discoloration of the skin and soreness. Also related to most surgical procedures, any time the skin is cut infection is a possibility. As a result of new surgical techniques and drug therapies, infection is uncommon and treatable when and if it occurs. For those patients with low or compromised immune systems, this matter should be conveyed to the surgeon during the initial consultation visit.

In an effort to minimize any risks associated with facelift surgery, it is important that the patient follow all of the surgeon's instructions - both before and after surgery.
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What Are The Typical Costs Associated With Facelift Surgery?

"The national average cost

for face lift surgery is $6,231."

According to cost data supplied by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the national average for surgeon fees, relative to face lift surgery, is $6,231. Surgeon fees within various regions may vary depending on whether the practice is in an urban, suburban, or rural area. The national average fee covers the surgeon's fee only and does not include fees for the surgical facility, anesthesia, medical tests, prescriptions, or other miscellaneous costs related to face lift surgery. A comprehensive cost figure may be obtained while consulting with the surgeon. Make sure the total figure includes any and all costs associated with the face lift surgery.

Due to the various costs associated with face lift surgery, most surgeons offer multiple financing options.
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Ten Questions Every Facelift Surgery Patient Should Ask Their Surgeon:

faceliftPrior to all face lift procedures a consultation will occur between the prospective patient and the providing surgeon. During this consultation the surgeon and patient will discuss issues such as the desired outcome, various options that are available to address said outcome, the procedure itself as well various risks and limitations. The surgeon will also provide information regarding anesthesia options, the location, and description of where the face lift procedure will be performed (i.e., hospital vs. an accredited office based surgical suite) and associated costs. A discussion regarding the patient's medical history, as well as a physical examination of the area to be treated will also take place during the consultation.

In an effort to educate individuals regarding face lift procedures, as well to assist in formulating realistic face lift expectations, it is recommended that the patient view numerous before and after photographs, speak with previous face lift patients, as well as obtain responses to the following questions:

  1. Are the desired results I described realistic and will other treatments be necessary to achieve this outcome (i.e., Botox, collagen fillers, laser/chemical peels, etc.)?

  2. Where is the face lift surgery performed and how long will it take?

  3. In my case, would a "mini-face lift" or "neck-lift" work as well or better than a full face lift?

  4. What kind of anesthesia will the surgeon use during the face lift surgery?

  5. How much does face lift surgery cost and what elements factor into that cost (i.e., hospital fee, anesthesia, etc)?

  6. What is the surgeon's level of experience in performing face lift surgery?
  7. What percentage of face lift patients experience complications with facelift surgery?
  8. >
  9. What is the surgeon's policy in regards to correcting or repeating the face lift if the face lift surgery does not meet agreed upon goals?

  10. What should I expect, post-operatively, in terms of soreness, scaring, activity level, etc?

  11. Have you ever had your malpractice insurance coverage denied, revoked or suspended?


"It is imperative that face lift surgery

patients relay to their surgeon information regarding any allergies and serious medical conditions they may have."

It is also recommended that interested persons request and view several before and after photographs of recent patients who have received face lift surgery from the surgeon. These photos may be supplemented with additional valuable information by requesting the names and contact information for several of the surgeon's face lift surgery patients, giving you access to his or her references.

In addition to the previously mentioned questions, it is imperative that face lift surgery patients relay to their surgeon information regarding any allergies and serious medical conditions they may have. Furthermore, face lift patients should inform the surgeon of any medications they are taking.

This site provides information about plastic/cosmetic surgery and is designed to help users make decisions regarding their own treatment options. But medical information is not the same as medical advice--the application of medical treatment to an individual's specific circumstances. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a qualified medical practitioner if you want professional assurance that our information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.
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