Learn More About Face Lifts & Procedure Options
Face lifts turn back the hands of time to create a more youthful outward appearance and improve your self-confidence and self-esteem.
Aging is a natural process, but many times the reflection in the mirror does not match how youthful we feel on the inside. Natural aging of our faces causes us to appear older than we are, and it changes our facial expression to one of fatigue or scowling. A face lift rejuvenates our appearance and restores a more youthful, vibrant expression.
Face lifts are clinically known as rhytidectomy. The face lift procedure reduces the appearance of wrinkles and other aging signs. The goal is to improve the appearance of the face and jaw. During the face lift procedure the surgeon lifts and tightens the underlying muscles of the face to create aesthetically pleasing contours and rejuvenate the facial structure. Also during the procedure the surgeon removes excess pockets of fat and skin that create the aged or fatigued appearance.
Your Surgeon’s Experience and Specialization as a Facial Plastic Surgeon Is Important
Dr. Woods is a facial surgery specialist. He has twenty-three years of surgical experience in which he has refined his expertise and skill with an accomplished aesthetic artistry to restore a more youthful, natural appearance that women and men of all ages are seeking. The face lift procedure, more than any other cosmetic procedure, requires specific expertise and training of a facial specialist.
Dr. Woods is an experienced and highly skilled surgeon with an artistic eye and exacting attention to detail and aesthetics, creating beautiful and natural looking results with minimal scarring.
Face lifts are a significant decision. Read this tip sheet about factors to consider when selecting your facial plastic surgeon. An additional resource when considering a face lift procedure is the The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
During your consultation, Dr. Woods discusses your goals, what you should expect from your face lift, realistic outcomes, the procedure itself, and the recovery process. He recommends surgical options that best suit your desired results, your age, and medical history.
The Consultation with Dr. Woods gives you a chance to ask questions, share your concerns, and discuss important considerations involved in choosing to have a face lift. You also will see photos of previous face lifts performed by Dr. Woods and discuss face lift procedure options best suited for you.
Face Lifts & Your Procedure Options
There are a number of procedure options available today.
Selecting the best face lift procedure for you is affected by your age, general health and habits, and your desired results. Dr. Woods is committed to providing each patient the most outstanding, natural looking result possible with the least amount of down time.
Many patients choose to combine procedures, such as an eyelid lift, with their face lift for optimal results.
Face lift options include:
- Traditional Full Face Lift – a full face lift offers the most comprehensive results. This face lift procedure addresses deep creases below the eyes, sagging around the cheeks, lines around the mouth, excess fat and skin under your chin and jowls, and more.
- Mid Face Lift – this procedure lifts and tightens tissues below the eyes and around the cheeks.
- Mini Face Lift – this face lift procedure targets a smaller area, primarily the jaw, lower cheeks, and neck. This procedure requires smaller incisions and results in a shorter recovery time. Sometimes this procedure is called a “weekend face lift”.
- Lower Face Lift – this procedure targets the bottom third of the face. This is very beneficial in eliminating jowls, reducing deep nasolabial folds, lifting sagging mouth corners and enhancing the appearance of the jawline.
- Thread Face Lift – this is a quick, minimally invasive alternative procedure to face lifts. It is generally performed on patients in their 30’s and 40’s that want to see minor adjustments to their appearance. In this procedure the surgeon will create tiny stitches just below the skin to lift the underlying muscles. It takes about two hours, requires no anesthesia and is often called the “lunch time lift”.
Face Lift Surgery for Men
Face lift surgery is increasingly common for men. Read Dr. Woods’ blog on Men Choosing Plastic Surgery. More and more men are electing face lift procedures to achieve a younger, rejuvenated appearance. The procedure is the same for both men and women, with a few considerations specific to men due to facial hair and skin texture.
Are There Age Restrictions for Having a Face Lift?
A patient’s skin elasticity and overall health are far more important factors than age in determining if they are a good candidate for a face lift procedure. The typical age range for rhytidectomy is 40-70 years old. Each patient is evaluated individually.
Evaluating Your Facial Structure
In evaluating your face prior to your face lift, there are a number of considerations which Dr. Woods
assesses to determine the best incision locations and optimum techniques so as to provide you with the best possible result.
Am I A Good Candidate For A Face Lift?
There are a number of factors and considerations in determining a good candidate for a face lift procedure. The best candidate has realistic expectations and commits to following pre- and post-operative instructions provided by their facial plastic surgeon.
Here are a few basic traits and factors that considered when determining if an individual is a good candidate for a face lift procedure:
- Skin Elasticity – A good candidate has skin that retains some of its natural flexibility and suppleness.
- Strong Bone Structure – a well defined underlying bone structure provides support and contributes to optimal results.
- Realistic Expectations – this is where your consultation with your surgeon is very important to discuss your particular circumstances and considerations. Expect your surgeon to explain what the face lift procedure can accomplish, but also the limitations of face lifts.
- Good Overall Health – a good candidate is generally healthy. It is important to tell your surgeon of any medical conditions, if you are a smoker, and your prescriptions. Face lifts are an invasive procedure and require significant healing and recovery.
- Loose Skin on the Face or Neck – Face lift candidates generally desire to remove or tighten excess, sagging skin from the face and neck area.
Face Lift Incision Placements
The condition and extent of skin laxity will determine whether the incisions are placed
in the hair or along the hairline. The size and shape of the cartilage structure in front
of the ear canal (tragus) determines if the incision goes behind this
structure or before it in a natural skin crease.
The amount of jowling and the position of the nasolabial fold determines the angles used to reposition the SMAS. The laxity of the platysma muscle is assessed to determine whether an incision under the chin is needed to correct the vertical banding in this area. And finally, the amount and
location of the fatty components of the neck and face to be suctioned and contoured is quantified.
All of these factors are unique to each person and will determine how and where incisions should be made to provide the best, most natural looking result.
Face Lift Techniques
For the majority of patients, the incision for the mid-face lift starts in the temporal hair
(side burn above the ear) to preserve the position of this hair tuft while hiding the
incision in the hair. The incision follows the contour of the ear as it joins the face,
along the edge of the tragus (cartilage in front of the ear canal), and then around the
ear lobe in a natural skin crease.
The SMAS is then accessed through this incision after elevating the skin. Redundant
SMAS is removed to prevent bunching and then elevated and properly re-positioned to
raise the jowl above the jaw-line and help flatten the tissue which has dropped from
the cheek into the nasolabial fold.
The incision behind the ear is hidden in the crease as it extends upward and then
crosses over to the hair behind the ear. If there is extensive skin and soft tissue laxity
requiring a greater amount of skin removal, the hairline incisions would be placed
along the hairline. This preserves the natural contour of the hairline and provides the
most direct angle to remove excess skin under the chin.
If skin laxity is not excessive, then the incisions can be maintained in the hair without significant
distortion of the hairline.
Elevating the skin behind the ear and into the neck will give access to the back border
of the platysma muscle to be anchored behind the ear. Once this muscle is tightened
on both sides, a sharper chin/neck angle will be established. This is the key to a
smooth contour in this area. Excess fat and fibrous tissue can be removed or sculpted
to enhance this shape of the neck.
Addressing The Neck & Chin Area
If the bands in front of the neck (formed by the leading edge of the platysma) are
severe, then an incision under the chin in a natural skin crease is created, the skin
is elevated and the leading edges are sutured together to tighten the muscle and
correct this problem.
Once the deep tissues of the face and neck have been tightened and replaced in their
most youthful position, the excess skin is removed and secured with the proper
amount of tension. The incisions are closed with dissolving stitches, drains can be
placed, and a pressure dressing applied.
Risks & Complications
While face lifts are a common surgical procedure, each surgery has inherent risks. Although rare, the most common problem encountered with a face lift is related to excessive bleeding shortly after the surgery. This can create too much tension on the skin and impair normal blood flow to the skin edges and compromise proper healing.
To prevent this from occurring, meticulous care is taken to control bleeding
during the procedure using good surgical technique, cauterization, drains, and
It is important for patients to strictly adhere to pre- and post-operative instructions, as that diminishes these risks.
The risk of infection is a possibility, but this is significantly diminished due to the
superior blood flow of the soft tissues of the face. Excellent sterile technique,
antibiotics during and after the surgery, good hemostasis and surgical
technique combined with good wound care will decrease the likelihood of an
Face Lifts & Healing
Every patient heals differently. The healing process varies considerably and there are some things
which are outside the control of the surgeon.
However, everything about the healing process which we can impact is maximized. This applies to meticulous surgical
technique and good postoperative care.
Preparation for the surgery with various
supplements, good diet, avoidance of blood thinners, smoking habits, and alcohol
consumption are just a few of the things that we address in order to achieve the best
More serious complications are rare, but can include nerve injuries, salivary gland leaks,
poor healing of the skin or incisions, prolonged sensation of numbness and tightness,
Recovery Time After A Face Lift
Recovery time is primarily dependent upon how much swelling and bruising you have
The First Few Days After Your Face Lift
After three days, the swelling and bruising has reached its pinnacle and will
begin to diminish as your recovery continues. The primary goal is to manage the initial
days aggressively, so that the recovery time is shortened. Adherence to pre-operative
instructions, excellent operative technique, and good postoperative management will
help accomplish this goal for you.
The dressings and any drains are typically removed the following day and you can
shower your hair safely on the second day after surgery. The incisions are kept clean
with peroxide and covered with vitamin-E for the remainder of the week or longer if
1 – 2 Weeks After Your Procedure
In the second week any residual swelling and bruising will
start fading away. At the one week mark, most patients are quite presentable and can
manage any persistent bruising, swelling, and incision redness with make-up and
What Discomfort Might I Feel?
This is typically not a painful procedure, but some people will experience tightness in
the neck and face which can create the sensation of swallowing and chewing
difficulties. This sensation diminishes over the weeks, as the muscles relax and the
tissue swelling dissipates. Pain medication is provided in the event the discomfort is
Numbness in the cheek, neck, and ears can persist for couple of months, but this
ordinarily returns to normal in three months. The incisions begin to fade after a few
weeks, but can take several months before they take on the normal coloration of the
surrounding skin. Eighty percent of the swelling is gone in six weeks, and the
remainder will gradually dissipate giving you further refinement in the weeks and
months to follow.
Normal Activity Restrictions
Heavy lifting and strenuous activity is to be avoided for two weeks. After two weeks, you can return to a normal routine. Avoid rapid head motion from side to side for 4-6 weeks to allow the neck tissues to firmly heal. Most of the stitches are dissolving, but a few may have to be trimmed at 7-10 days.
How Long Do Face Lift Results Last?
Each patient is different. We each have different skin color, tones, and lifestyles. Each of these are factors in how long you can expect your face lift results to last. Longevity of results range from 2- 15 years. In most cases a more general length of maintaining improved results would be 5-10 years. A long term follow up study published in 2014 found that after an average of 12.6 years that almost 69% of face lift patients rated their current degree of improvement as very good or beyond expectations. An equal number of patients felt that 10 or more years had been added to their youthful appearance.
Cost of A Face Lift
Woods Facial Plastic Surgery provides comprehensive costs and fee pricing to our patients on an individual basis after their Consultation. The factors that affect the price of your face lift include the type of face lift that is determined to provide the desired results given your circumstances, the type of anesthesia, where the procedure is performed, techniques, and any additional treatments.
Face Lifts are elective procedures and are not covered by insurance. Woods Facial Plastic Surgery does not offer financing. There are outside medical financing options intended specifically for elective procedures, including face lifts.
The best way to determine if you are a good candidate for a face lift procedure and what type of face lift is best for you and your desired results is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Woods.
We look forward to the opportunity to meet with you and answer your questions.