As you grow older, your skin and facial muscles undergo various changes that make you look old, tired, and upset. The skin on your face starts sagging, leading to nasolabial folds, jowls in the cheeks and jaws, and loose folds of skin and fat. The loss of fat may also lead to a sunken and hollow appearance. This article provides a comprehensive overview of facelift surgery, preparatory guidelines, and the post-treatment recovery process.

While everyone eventually undergoes the aging process, the signs of aging can appear earlier due to smoking, genetic predisposition, excessive sun exposure, and other factors.

Facelift, officially known as rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure that reverses the visible signs of aging on the face. This surgery involves trimming away excess skin tissues, removing unwanted pockets of fat, and strengthening the underlying muscles to make your skin look firm, taut, and youthful. As such, a facelift essentially reverses the clock, giving you several more years with youthful skin.

How should I prepare for a facelift?

You must consult a reliable plastic surgeon with a proven track record when pursuing facelifts. And you must schedule your appointment several weeks before the planned surgery because you may need to prepare your body. The plastic surgeon will provide an overview of the preparatory guidelines during your consultation.

The following are the most essential preparatory steps for a typical facelift:

  • Undergo a comprehensive medical evaluation to detect possible conditions that may contraindicate surgeries.
  • Avoid anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements to minimize the risk of bleeding and bruising.
  • Stop smoking and alcohol consumption to minimize the risk of bleeding and bruising.
  • Inform your surgeon of all your ongoing medications and lifestyle habits. They might ask you to adjust some of your medications for a few weeks or months to ensure a smooth recovery.
  • Arrange for someone to help around the house in the days after the procedure.

Schedule a consultation with our specialist plastic surgeons here.

What are the types of facelifts?

Depending on your specific goals and concerns, the plastic surgeon may recommend various types of facelifts. Each facelift technique addresses different levels of concerns and treatment areas and involves different recovery periods.

The following are the most common types of facelifts:

  • Traditional Facelift: This is the most dramatic facelift technique with long-lasting results. It involves complete facial rejuvenation from the brows to the neck. The surgeon makes several incisions around the hairline, behind the ears, and under the chin to lift and modify the tissues of the entire face. This surgery can take a decade off your face.
  • Mid-Facelift: The eyelids, cheeks, and nose are the first parts of the face to develop serious signs of aging. You may develop early jowls and nasolabial folds as early as in your 30s. As such, a mid-facelift involves minimal incisions to address the signs of aging in the lower eyelids, cheeks, and nasolabial regions.
  • Mini Facelift: A mini facelift also addresses signs of aging on the entire face, but it focuses on moderate intervention. Individuals with early signs of aging and jowls opt for this procedure to extend their youthful appearance longer while minimizing downtime. This is often called a weekend procedure because it involves 2-3 days of social downtime.
  • Neck Lift: Also known as a “platysmaplasty,” this procedure involves trimming away excess skin tissues in the neck, removing unwanted fat, and tightening the muscles in the neck to reduce the banded appearance. A neck lift isn’t exactly the same as a facelift, but it’s often combined with a facelift to improve overall facial appearance.

How is a facelift performed?

The specific details of your facelift depend on your unique goals and surgical technique. Your plastic surgeon will provide an overview of the treatment during your consultation, so you’ll have complete clarity.

However, the following are the primary steps involved in a facelift surgery:

  • Anesthesia: A facelift is generally performed under general anesthesia, so you’re not awake for the procedure. However, in some cases, the surgeon may use local anesthesia with intravenous sedation.
  • Incisions: The surgeon will make incisions on your face according to your desired goals and results. The incisions for a traditional facelift start in the hairline at the temples and extend behind the ears, and another incision is made under the chin. Each facelift technique involves different incision areas. However, all incisions are made along the hairline or the natural folds of your skin, so the scars are imperceptible.
  • Sculpting: After making the necessary incisions, the surgeon will trim away excess skin tissues, redistribute the unwanted fat tissues, and tighten the weakened muscles. Your skin is then redraped over the contours of your face, giving you a firm, sculpted, and contoured look.
  • Conclusion: Once all the adjustments are made, the surgeon closes the incisions with dissolvable sutures. The sutures gradually get absorbed by the body, so there’s no need to have them removed.

The key to a great facelift procedure is choosing the right specialist plastic surgeon. View our Cosmetic Surgery Checklist.

What’s the recovery process like after a facelift?

The recovery process and duration depend on the type of facelift you undergo. Your cheeks and neck will be wrapped in compression bandages to prevent fluid accumulation. In some cases, we may attach tubes to the incisions to remove excess fluids and blood for 1 to 2 days.

Your face will appear swollen and red for a few weeks, and you may have mild swelling for several months. If you undergo a traditional facelift, you’ll need to take at least 2 weeks off work and avoid strenuous activities for 4 to 6 weeks. If you undergo a mini facelift, you can possibly return to work in 2 to 3 days, depending on the nature of your work. If your work involves heavy lifting or physical exertion, you should avoid it for a few weeks.

Your plastic surgeon will provide a detailed overview of the recovery process and your aftercare guidelines. You must follow their instructions accurately to minimize the risk of side effects or complications.

A facelift is a complicated procedure that requires immense skills and talent. You must consult a highly experienced and reputable plastic surgeon with a proven track record with facelifts to ensure optimal results without major complications.

Schedule a consultation with our specialist plastic surgeons here.