What is a Facelift?
A facelift, also called a rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure to reduce visible signs of aging. The procedure works by tightening skin and underlying tissue that has lost its elasticity and firmness over the years. The result is a smoother, younger looking complexion with fewer visible lines and less skin sagging. Facelifts are more invasive than other types of cosmetic procedures, but the results are also much more dramatic.
The facelift procedure may consist of various techniques, depending on the specific needs of the patient. Board-certified plastic surgeon Geoffrey Leber, MD carefully assesses each patient to determine the techniques that will best meet their needs. A consultation prior to the procedure provides the patient with all necessary information about the surgery, including how to prepare and what type of recovery to expect.
- Facelift Candidates
- Facelift Procedure
- Facelift Recovery
- Facelift Results
- Best Age for a Facelift
- Facelift Scars
- Facelift Cost
Who is a Candidate For a Facelift?
Facelifts can be used to address a number of cosmetic issues, including:
- Sagging skin in the mid-face and along the jawline
- Deep creases under the eyes, resulting in a chronically “tired” look
- Marionette lines (creases running from the bottom of the nose to the corners of the mouth)
- Loose skin around the chin, giving the appearance of a double chin
- Loose skin and deep creases in the neck
Patients undergoing a facelift should be in relatively good health with significant signs of aging. Those with subtle signs may want to consider less invasive cosmetic treatments—such as BOTOX® Cosmetic or JUVÉDERM®—to ward off the aging process. A facelift will help patients regain their youthful appearance to more accurate reflect their vitality and energy at any age.
How is the Facelift Procedure Performed?
Facelift surgery is performed in a fully accredited, state-certified surgical suite under general anesthesia. However, some procedures may also allow for local anesthesia and sedation. The surgeon makes an incision in the area of the temple or the earlobe, depending on the specific areas of the face to be addressed during surgery. Incisions are carefully placed in the hairline or in natural folds of the skin to reduce scarring after surgery.
The youthful face has the shape of an inverted triangle with fuller cheeks and less volume in the lower face. However, as we age, the facial shape becomes more triangular, with less volume in the cheeks and more volume in the lower face and jowl region. Facial aging leads to a loss of volume, along with sagging of the skin and facial soft tissues. In addressing these concerns, overpulling of the skin or deep tissues during a facelift without adding volume to the deflated tissues often leads to an overly tight and unnatural appearance.
Dr. Leber replaces lost upper facial volume with facial fat grafting. This restores facial volume, allowing a blending of the lid-cheek junction for a more youthful, less deflated look. Plus, stem cells in the fat graft may also benefit the overlying skin appearance. The lax and descended facial soft tissues are then elevated during his facelift procedure in an upward vertical direction (SMAS plication). This technique reduces the jowl, and helps reestablish the “inverted triangle” facial shape characteristic of youth. Additionally, the corner of the mouth is slightly elevated, reducing the appearance of an unhappy “bitterness fold” from the downward corner of the mouth. Lastly, the skin is gently redraped in a posterior and slightly oblique vector, avoiding the overpulled aesthetic. Special attention is also given to closure and the earlobe appearance, along with careful realignment of the posterior hairline, all of which can lead to a more youthful and refreshed appearance.
During his fellowship in advanced aesthetic plastic surgery in Beverly Hills, California, Dr. Leber learned how to perform a natural facelift while avoiding the the tell-tale signs of facelift surgery.*
*Obvious signs of facelift surgery:
- Accentuation of the skeletal appearance from tightening the skin without adding volume
- Overpulled eye, nose (flared nostrils), and mouth (fish mouth)
- Unnatural facial lines from vertical skin elevation
- Unnatural facial animation from overpulling the deep tissue layer (SMAS)
- Patients often look quite good in photographs; however, when using their facial muscles while talking or smiling, these irregularities are revealed
- Failure to recreate a natural earlobe, leading to a “pixie earlobe”
- Distortion of the tragus, leading to an unnatural view of the ear canal
- Step off of posterior hairline from unnatural vectors and failure to properly align hairline
What is Recovery From a Facelift Like?
Bandages are placed over the incisions after surgery. A narrow tube may also be placed behind the ear to remove excess fluid and prevent infection. Post-operative swelling may be managed by ice packs, while pain medication will be prescribed for the days immediately following the procedure. Some patients will be allowed to go home on the same day as their facelift surgery, while others may remain in the overnight stay facility monitored by nursing care. Most swelling and bruising subsides within the first two weeks, and patients are usually allowed to return to regular activities within two to three weeks.
How Long Do Facelift Results Last?
Results of facelift surgery may be seen right away, but will continue to improve in the following weeks as swelling subsides. It may take up to six weeks to see the full effect of your procedure. Results from a facelift are long-lasting, although skin will eventually begin to droop again as a normal part of the aging process. Patients can help prolong their results by avoiding sun damage and adhering to a healthy lifestyle. We advise all of our facelift patients to consult with one of our aestheticians to become educated on maintaining and restoring healthy skin.
What is the Best Age for a Facelift?
Whether a facelift can be a suitable treatment option depends less on the age of an individual and more on the visibility of wrinkles, loose skin, creases, and other indications for facelift surgery. Any patient who is in relatively good health and demonstrates moderate to severe signs of facial aging can be a candidate for the procedure. Depending on certain lifestyle factors as well as genetic predisposition, a patient in their thirties can exhibit signs that they would benefit from a facelift while someone nearing middle age may not experience the requisite cosmetic concerns. This can be the result of hereditary influences, an individual’s diet, one’s history of tobacco use or ultraviolet tanning, or a number of other factors. Ultimately, each person is evaluated on a patient-by-patient basis to determine whether a facelift is well-suited to achieve their aesthetic goals.
Will I Have Noticeable Facelift Scars?
To minimize the possibility of noticeable facelift scarring, Dr. Leber places incisions discreetly within the hairline and along the natural folds of the skin. These inconspicuous incision locations can typically camouflage scars after they heal, at which point most patients can experience some degree of pinkness or fading as time passes.
How Much Does a Facelift Cost?
The surgical fee for a facelift is approximately $7,600, according to statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). However, this fee does not reflect a universal rate, as the price of cosmetic surgery generally varies by geographic location and by the experience of a plastic surgeon. The overall cost of a facelift will ultimately be determined by:
- The extent of surgical work necessary
- The surgical technique used
- The complexity of the procedure
Therefore, a patient’s facelift expenses will depend on the details of their treatment plan. After a consultation with Dr. Leber, a personalized quote will be provided detailing the costs associated with facelift surgery. In addition to accepting major payment methods, our practice works with plastic surgery financing companies like CareCredit® and Prosper® Healthcare Lending to make the price of a facelift more affordable. Once approved through the simple application process, patients can choose from a variety of low- to no-interest payment plans to select the option that suits their budgetary concerns most ideally. For more information about the cost of a facelift, please contact our practice today.
A facelift can be an effective way to dramatically turn back the clock on the skin. For more information about this surgical procedure, contact Dr. Geoffrey Leber and his staff to schedule your consultation.
Dr. Leber and his team are here to help you achieve your aesthetic goals in a safe and caring environment. If you’re interested in scheduling a face lift procedure, reach us by phone at (480) 945-5522 or email us.