With so many facial products and nonsurgical treatment options available that address signs of aging, is a facelift still something people consider? The answer is that a surgical facelift remains an excellent option for many women and men who want better facial definition, smoother skin and an overall younger appearance. While numerous other options exist, facelifts are still the most effective way to lift sagging facial tissue and eliminate sagging neck skin.
To help you better understand the procedure and decide if it is right for you, here are some answers to a few of the top questions people have.
How do I know if I need a facelift?
When your daily regimen of creams and serums, or even nonsurgical treatment options, don’t seem to make a difference anymore, it may be time to consider a facelift procedure. If you have sagging skin that easily pulls away from the face and neck or hangs loosely, a facelift is the only treatment option that can help. The facelift procedure removes this extra skin, creating a firm, youthful appearance.
What happens during the surgery?
Several different techniques may be used during a facelift procedure, depending on the cosmetic concern your surgeon is correcting. After anesthesia is administered, incisions for a facelift are usually placed in the hairline around the temple and work down to the lower scalp. During this procedure, the surgeon will sculpt or remove fat, reposition underlying tissue and lift facial muscles. A small incision under the chin may be needed to treat an aging neck. Once complete, the incisions are closed with sutures or skin adhesives.
What about recovery and scarring?
After your facelift procedure, you can expect your lower face and neck to feel sore and tight for the first few days. Pain medications are usually prescribed and can help ease discomfort. Taking a couple weeks off from work is advised to allow yourself time to heal. You may be advised to avoid strenuous exercise for at least three weeks. While individual healing times vary, within about 10 days, the swelling and bruising should be minimal. Makeup is usually enough to cover any signs of surgery until your face heals completely.
Because the incisions follow your hairline, facelift scars typically aren’t noticeable. Even when a chin incision is necessary, it should be placed to follow the natural creases in your chin, hiding the scar.
When will I see real results?
You may see changes to your facial appearance immediately after the procedure, though you will experience bruising and swelling for the first 2 weeks. After that, any additional bruising can be covered with makeup. Your face may not yet feel normal and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 months to completely heal. Your face should appear much more youthful and toned and many patients are often able to take as much as 10 years off their appearance.
How much is the procedure?
The cost for a facelift procedure varies based on a variety of factors including the amount of correction needed, the surgeon’s experience and the area where you live. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of a facelift nationwide is $7,655. Keep in mind that this estimated cost does not include anesthesia or operating room expenses.
Next steps on your facelift journey
If you think facelift surgery is right for you and you’re ready to meet with a board-certified plastic surgeon for a consultation, be sure to use the ASPS Plastic Surgeon Match referral service to find an ASPS member surgeon in your area.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.