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Facelift FAQ

 At what age should I consider a facelift?

You may be a candidate for a facelift if you are in overall good health and have enough excess skin or sagging in the face and neck to make the operation beneficial. The average facelift patients are in their 40's to 60's, but a facelift can be successfully done on people in their 70's or 80's, as well.

How many years younger will I look with a facelift?

A facelift cannot stop your face from aging, but it can improve your appearance by "setting the clock back." Factors such as bone structure, heredity, skin texture, sun exposure, smoking history and others all play a role in the extent of improvement one obtains, as well as influencing how long it will last.

Will I look "tight" or pulled at the corners of my mouth after facelift surgery?

A facelift tightens the skin, removes excess fat and tightens underlying muscles in the lower two-thirds of the face and neck, providing a more youthful, fresher appearance. The end result of a facelift will look natural; it is not designed to pull the skin so tight that it would alter the corners of your mouth.

Will a facelift help the lines around my eyes and forehead?

The facelift does not alter the appearance of the upper third of the face, in particular the excess skin and lines around the eyes, nor does it help sagging of the brow. If you are concerned about the appearance of your eyes or brow, a brow lift or eyelid surgery may be right for you. Your surgeon will review your aesthetic concerns with you and recommend the facial rejuvenation procedure, or combination of procedures, right for you.

Where are the facelift scars placed and are they noticeable?

Incisions for a facelift usually begin above the hairline at the temple and extend in a natural line just inside the cartilage at the front of the ear and continue behind the earlobe to the lower scalp inside the hairline. These are generally hidden behind the hairline or in a natural crease. Once the scars have softened and matured over a period of several months, they are generally not very noticeable. If work is being done in the neck area, a small incision made under the chin may also be used.

Is any of my hair shaved for facelift surgery?

When the incisions are placed back behind the hairline, a small amount of hair is shaved. At the end of the procedure, when the skin is pulled back and tightened, the area that has been shaved is removed so there is no missing hair.

How long does the facelift surgery take?

A facelift usually takes several hours, depending on the extent of the work that is done. The average length of a facelift is between 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours. Frequently, procedures such as blepharoplasty and forehead lift are combined with a facelift, making the procedure several hours longer.

Will my face be numb?

After your facelift procedure, some numbness of the skin in the cheek area and neck is quite normal. Feeling will usually return in 1-2 months.

What are my limitations with facelift surgery and when can I return to my regular routine?

For the first few days after a facelift, your activities should be significantly restricted and you should rest with your head elevated. As a general rule, you should plan on taking it easy for the first week after surgery. In several days your dressing will be removed and you may be allowed to wash your hair gently but have to be especially careful around your incisions. Most surgeons recommend avoiding any type of strenuous activity for the first 2-3 weeks after surgery. You should limit your exposure to the sun for several months and allow plenty of time for rest, so your body can heal the various incisions.

How long before I can be in public and my friends not know I've had a facelift?

Immediately after surgery your face will be swollen and bruised. Your features may be distorted from the swelling and your facial movements may be slightly stiff as well. Some of the swelling and bruising may persist for 2-3 weeks. Most patients are back at work 10-14 days after surgery; however, you still may have some residual bruising and swelling that may need to be camouflaged with makeup.