Frequently Asked Questions: Facelift

How long is the recovery time?

There is some swelling and bruising in most patients which lasts between one and three weeks in most cases. We tell patients that they can usually go out in about two and one half weeks after surgery and have most people not know they had surgery done. You look your best about three to four months after surgery so you wouldn’t want to have surgery three weeks before an important event.

How long does a facelift last?

You will always look better with a facelift than if you didn’t have one. Because of continued aging, it will take an average of ten years to have the same amount of facial again as before the surgery. This is very variable depending on healing, weight, genetics, smoking and many other factors.

How is a facelift different than a mini-facelift or mid-face lift?

A mini-lift is done for people with less aging and sagging than a standard facelift. The mini-lift has shorter skin elevation and flaps as well as shorter skin incisions. The recovery is usually shorter and easier than a standard facelift. Not everyone is a candidate for a mini-lift. Just lifting a little in someone who needs a bigger pull will not produce a satisfied patient. A mid-facelift generally refers to a cheek lift which will tighten the cheek but not help with jowls or sagging in the neck.

How long should swelling and numbness last after a facelift?

Swelling should last one to three weeks with more subtle improvement occurring over the following few months. Numbness is very variable. Most patients note some numbness around the ears which lasts for a few weeks.

How can I avoid getting a pulled up look from a facelift?

The best advice to avoid an over pulled look is to have an experienced surgeon do the procedure. There is a relatively fine line between not pulling enough to get an optimal result and pulling too much.

How to avoid bruising after a facelift?

Minimizing bruising can be done with multiple modalities. We have patients avoid taking medications and supplements that interfere with clotting for two weeks before and after surgery. We give you some vitamins to take around the surgery time that are safe and don’t contain any of the substances you need to avoid. We also give you products specifically to minimize bruising such as Arnica. Some patients definitely bruise more than others regardless of what we do.  If someone tells us they have always bruised easily, they generally bruise after surgery.

What are potential facelift side effects?

Side effects could be swelling, bruising, pain, numbness. They are expected. You may be asking about possible complications which are fortunately  rare and could include bleeding, infection and risks related to anesthesia as well as other less common problems.

Will I have visible scars from a facelift?

Incisions are designed to hide in normal areas you would expect to see a crease such as right in front of the ear. Some patient’s scars are more noticeable than others. Generally after healing it is difficult to notice the scars unless someone is looking closely at your face trying to see them.

Is there a non-surgical alternative for facelift?

There are many non – surgical procedures for skin toning and tightening. For mild aging and sagging, these procedures may give a significant improvement in appearance. For more significant sagging and aging, a surgical procedure is usually indicated to get a good result. In our office we have Ultherapy, a deep focused ultrasound procedure that gives excellent improvement in the appropriate patient.

What other procedures can I combine with a facelift for a younger look?

We often combine other procedures with a facelift. Examples would be upper and/or lower eyelid surgery for excess lid skin and fat, a browlift for sagging brows, rhinoplasty (aesthetic nose surgery), fat augmentation ( taking fat from the hips or abdomen and injecting it into the face to help with volume loss of aging). Other procedures can follow a facelift for improvement in appearance such as fillers, Botox®, facial products, and facial procedures by our Aesthetician such as a peel.

What is the best age for a facelift?

The best age for a facelift varies on many factors. Some patients come in in their thirties for a little tuck up. Some patients wait until they have a lot of sagging. Some patients come in because they lost a great deal of weight and have a lot of excess skin regardless of their age. Most facelifts are done in people in their forties to sixties, but some are younger and some older.