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Facial Plastic Surgery - Rhytidectomy - Face Lift Surgery



                                        Face Lift Frequently Asked Questions on

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  • Is there an age that is better than others to have a face lift?

Since everyone ages on their own time clock, good candidates can be in their early forties up until the seventies and beyond.  Some patients can be in their fifties and still not necessarily need to have a face lift procedure performed.  There are lots of factors that go into pre-mature aging of the skin.  Face-lifts can be done in the very older patients as long as there are no other major illnesses in the patient. Both men and women can undergo the face lift procedure.

Read our section on the Five Signs of Facial Aging




  • Who is considered a good candidate for a face lift procedure?

Good candidates for the face lift procedure or rhytidectomy include men and women who are in good medical condition and most importantly are realistic in their expectations.  A good candidate is one with the appearance of a sagging face and neck skin. 




  • How long does a face lift procedure take?

A routine facelift generally takes from 2-4 hours, depending on the patient and the type of rhytidectomy that is performed.




  • What type of anesthesia will be used for a face lift procedure?

Either deep sedation/twilight sleep or general anesthesia.  There is a newer technique using tumescent fluid for certain face lift procedures as well. 

All About Anesthesia




  • What will a face lift procedure correct?

A face lift helps to correct excess skin and sagging tissue in the lower face and cheek areas.  Results include a smoother, firmer facial appearance.  Face lifts help relocate sagging skin and muscle caused by aging and gravity - along with removing any surplus stretched skin.   Both skin and tissue is surgically treated.  Fat deposits in the lower jaw and neck are also removed.




  • Where are the incisions located with a face lift procedure?

Incisions normally begin around the ear - behind the hairline  - and continue to the natural fold that is located on top of the ear.  Sometimes the incisions might stretch in-front or inside the ear - around the ear lobe - behind the ear into the hairline.  If the lower face lift includes any work on the neck area - there can be an incision under the chin.




  • What is Fibrin Glue?

Fibrin glue is considered an advance in face lift surgery as it can reduce the post operative bruising and swelling associated with this procedure.  Fibrin glue also allows the surgeon not the need to use drains after surgery - which help eliminate the chance of a hematoma forming.

Fibrin glue is a human derived plasma product tested extensively for HIV and hepatitis and is used frequently in cardiac and neurosurgery.  With the procedure of a face lift, the Fibrin Glue is sprayed on all the raw surfaces to seal off most blood vessels and lymphatic channels not visible to the naked eye.




  • What are the different types of Face Lifts that are available?

There are many different types of face lifts - depending on the patient's own needs.

Mini Face Lifts:


The MACS Face Lift:

  • The MACS (Minimal Access Cranial Suspension) face lift is often preferred face lift simply because it is less invasive and leaves a much shorter scar.


The S-Face Lift:

  • A small S-shaped incision is made in front of the patient's ear.


The SMAS Face Lift:

  • The SMAS Face Lift is also known as Superficial (or Sub-) Muscular Aponeurotic System.


The Extended SMAS Face Lift:

  • This procedure is done often with the Platysma Lift or neck lift.


The Deep Plane Face Lift:

  • The Deep Plane face lift is performed in a much deeper plane than in the standard face lift procedure.


The Composite Face Lift:

  • This face lift technique is different than the other face lifts in as much as that it combines additional cosmetic surgeries for total facial rejuvenation.


Subperiosteal Face Lift:

  • This lift is more invasive that any of the other common face lift techniques. 


Tumescent Face Lift:

  • This face lift is done with tumescent anesthesia instead of general anesthesia.

Various different face lifts and how they differ from one another




  • Do Mini-Lifts last as long as full face lifts?

Mini lifts do not last as long as a full face lift procedure because mini lifts deal with the skin only.  Because of this factor, these lifts will relax a bit sooner than the full face lift which is a multiple layer lift. A mini lift should last anywhere from three to five years versus a full face lift, which is seven to ten years.

Read more about Mini Lifts




  • What is a SMAS Face lift?

SMAS defined is: Submuscular Aponeurotic System - which is a layer of tissue that covers the deeper structures of the cheek area.  This is also associated to the superficial muscle which covers the lower portion of the face and neck region, called the platysma.  The jowl area is lifted along with the neck pulled tight - as well as the cheeks appear more prominent.

Read more about the SMAS Face Lift




  • Can other surgical procedures be done at the same time as a face lift?

Facelifts can be done alone or in conjunction with a:




  • Is there a lot of swelling associated with a face lift?

Most patients expect some swelling involving a face lift.  Your face might look normal when you get home, but by day two or three it begins to swell.  This swelling will dissipate after a few weeks.




  • What are the risks of having a rhytidectomy or a face lift procedure?

Although serious complications with a face lift are rare, potential risks can include the following:

Read Face Lift Risks and Complications




  • Why is smoking so bad for face lift surgery?

Smoking reduces the blood flow and the oxygen to the surgical site which can delay healing after surgery - including scarring. 

Smoking and Cosmetic Surgery




  • How much pain is associated with face lift surgery?

Normally the first five days you will be swollen and uncomfortable, however; your plastic surgeon will give you pain medication to control any discomfort.  Pain and bruising can be evident for the first two weeks.  If your surgeon has used drains with your rhytidectomy - these are normally removed within the first two days.  Most patients are fine within two to three weeks following surgery, however; you might have some residual swelling for several weeks following the procedure.




  • How long will the face lift or rhytidectomy last?

The results of facelift surgery are long-lasting  and can last anywhere from seven to ten years.  The natural aging process however; is not stopped, so having sagging tissues years on down the road after your surgery is likely.




  • Is it possible to get natural results without that wind tunnel look?

The newer methods of performing a rhytidectomy should show absolutely no surgical signs.  The days of the wind tunnel look are long gone and most plastic surgeons focus on making the patient look more youthful and rested without creating a face that is too tight.




  • What kind of surgical dressing will I have after a face lift?

A cotton dressing is worn around the chin, and sides of the face overnight or a compression bandage.  Some surgeons like to use surgical drains after a face lift procedure to reduce the amount of fluid.  Your own surgeon will have his or her preference with how you will be bandaged after surgery.  This is gone over in detail during your consultation.




  • When can the patient return to work after a face lift procedure?

Most patients return to work about ten days to two weeks after surgery.




  • How soon will I be able to exercise after face lift surgery?

Light exercise such as walking, can be resumed in one week.  For more strenuous exercise most surgeons like you to wait anywhere from two to six weeks after your procedure. 








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