What is a Facelift/Necklift?
A facelift is a surgical procedure intended to improve the visible signs of aging in your most noticeable features—the face and neck. In general, a facelift targets the lower two-thirds of the face, and can be combined with a brow lift and/or eyelid surgery to address the upper one-third. A facelift is designed to rejuvenate and refresh the appearance of the face without changing the way a person looks. A facelift is a popular cosmetic surgery because it’s customized to your particular features. Our surgeons work with each patient individually to determine which aspects of the face need to be transformed for optimal results.
The facelift has evolved over the past 5-10 years, and Boulder Plastic Surgery takes extensive steps to ensure each facelift procedure produces long-lasting results. While each facelift case is slightly different from the next, the following details will give you a good idea of what to expect from yours.
- Length: 3 – 4 hours
- Anesthesia: Light general anesthesia, usually outpatient. Some patients may require short inpatient stay.
- Side Effects: Temporary bruising, swelling, numbness, tenderness, tightness, and dryness of skin. For men with facial hair, they may need to shave behind the ears, where skin with facial hair is repositioned.
- Recovery: Patients may go back to work after 10-14 days, and the appearance of skin may heal in the first 2-4 weeks. Subtle improvement in the skin’s appearance can be seen in the first 6 months.
- Exercise: A patient may resume low-intensity exercise in 3 weeks and moderate-intensity activity around 6 weeks. Patients may start full-intensity exercise closer to 8 weeks.
- Fading & Scar Improvement: 6-12 months.
- Swelling: Moderate swelling within the first 4 weeks. Mild swelling 2-3 months after the facelift. However, swelling depends on the extent of the facelift procedure.
- Duration of Results: Usually 5 -10 years.
- Office Visits: The first office visit 24 hours after the procedure. The second visit should be within five days of the procedure. In total, there should be 7-10 appointments in the first 3 months, and then six months to yearly.
- Garment Worn: Wear a neck strap for 4 -6 weeks.
- Pain Meds: Take ibuprofen or sedatives as directed.
Over the years, the facelift procedure has changed from simple skin lifting that left patients looking like their faces were being pulled back, to more complex deeper plane lifting techniques that lift and reposition the facial features in a much more natural looking way. While loose skin can be tightened by a facelift, the texture of the skin will not be changed by a facelift. If you have sun damage, wrinkles around the mouth, irregularities in skin color, acne scars, and/or age spots, you may want to also consider skin-resurfacing procedures in combination with a facelift to improve the skin. The following conditions could indicate that facelift surgery is right for you:
- Facial skin is loose and sagging
- The creases below the lower eyelids and around the lower lip and chin are becoming deeper
- A deep line, or fold, running from the corner of your nose to the corner of your mouth.
- Jowls or loss of a well-defined jawline
- Loose skin, wrinkles, or vertical bands of skin in your neck
- Excess fat in the neck
A facelift can be done in combination with other facial cosmetic procedures, such as a brow lift or eyelid surgery to give a more balanced, natural rejuvenation.
Depending on the patient’s individual goals and needs, facelift options can vary quite a bit. Today, many different techniques exist with outcomes that are consistently reliable and durable. A traditional facelift procedure usually involves an incision in your hairline starting at your temples, continuing down and around the front of your ears and ending behind your ears and may extend in your scalp. An incision might be made under your chin to improve the appearance of your neck. A limited-incision facelift may also be an option for younger patients who have early aging changes. It provides the benefits of a traditional facelift with fewer incisions and faster healing. Our surgeons will make short incisions in your hairline starting at your temples and continuing down and around the front of your ears. Our surgeons will discuss these options at your consultation. 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. The skin will then be draped over the new contours and the excess skin will be trimmed away creating a more youthful and natural appearance.