a photo of a pretty woman's face

For More Dramatic Improvement: A Facelift

If you have jowls, a turkey neck and/or notice that your face appears “flat,” because your cheeks have dropped with time, a surgical facelift may be just right for you. Different from the Lunchtime Facelift described elsewhere in another blog, a surgical facelift lasts longer because the facial muscles are actually lifted and tightened into a more youthful position and excess sagging skin is removed. While Botox® and dermal fillers are powerful anti-aging tools, they do not lift the muscles beneath the skin as in a surgical facelift.

What is a Facelift?

As the name suggests, a facelift “lifts” the face by tightening the facial muscles and tissues, to restore them to their more youthful positions, and removing sagging skin. Since a facelift is surgery, incisions are needed, and are usually placed around the ears so they are hidden in the hairline after healing has occurred.

How Much Time Does a Facelift Take?

Once you arrive at the Southwest Michigan outpatient surgery facility, I will “mark” your face with a special pen. After anesthesia has been given, I will make the incisions around the ears. The skin is lifted up, muscles are tightened, extra skin is removed and tiny sutures are put in place. A standard surgical facelift usually takes about 3 hours and patients go home the same day.

Keep in mind that a facelift doesn’t address aging in the eye area. Because of this, my Michigan facelift patients often add a blepharoplasty (eye lift) to their facelift for more complete rejuvenation. Furthermore, some patients benefit from a little “plumping” with a facelift, in the form of dermal fillers or fat transfer. If you add any of these additional procedures or injectables, the procedure does take a bit longer, perhaps an additional hour. In the case of fat transfer, liposuction is used to remove fat from your body where you desire less fat, such as the hips, tummy or thighs and then processed for injection.

What are the Risks of a Facelift?

The risks of a facelift are the same as those inherent in any surgical procedure: namely, the risks of anesthesia and bleeding. If you are healthy, these risks are extremely small. If you have health challenges, we can consider a Liquid or Lunchtime Facelift (see that blog post on this website). To minimize risk, my patients over the age of 50 are screened with an EKG and other tests, and I ask for a letter from their physician to confirm that my patient is healthy enough to undergo both anesthesia and the procedure itself.

What is the Recovery Time for a Facelift?

My Michigan facelift patients are always surprised at how quickly they recover from a facelift and how relatively little discomfort they experience. Applying ice packs and sleeping upright in a recliner or sofa the first few nights can reduce swelling. Of course, don’t smoke for at least 4 weeks after your procedure (good time to quit altogether!), because smoking keeps oxygen from reaching your cells, which can delay healing.

If you have concerns about facial aging, schedule an appointment to see me in either of my Southwest Michigan plastic surgery offices. Together we will evaluate your facial aging pattern and I will give you all the options that I believe will meet your goals!


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