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How Long Does a Face Lift Last and Other Common Questions

Americans spent $16.5 billion on plastic surgery in 2018. That number includes costs incurred for the 121,531 facelift procedures performed. 

Are you considering a facelift to transform your appearance, boost your confidence and help you fight the visible signs of aging? If so, you likely have many questions.

How long does a face lift last? What happens before, during, and after the procedure? Are there any special steps I need to take to ensure a successful recovery?

These are a few of the uncertainties that may be swirling around in your head. It’s important to know the answers before you move forward with a decision. 

Today, we’re delving into these topics and more. This can help you get a clear grasp of the procedure before you go under the knife.

Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!

What is a Facelift?

Referred to in the medical industry as a rhytidectomy, a facelift is a surgical procedure designed to restore your skin’s youthful appearance.

You might choose one to tighten loose-hanging skin, smooth creases around your mouth, remove excess fat from your neck or solve a host of other cosmetic concerns. 

There are a few different techniques you can select depending on how much change you want to see. Let’s take a look at each. 

Traditional Facelift

With a traditional facelift procedure, your surgeon will create an incision that begins in the hairline at your temples. From there, the cut will continue around your ear and end behind the ear in the hairline.

In this area, your surgeon will sculpt or redistribute fat from your face, neck, and jowls. He may also reposition the underlying tissue and lift the SMAS layer(superficial muscular aponeurotic system) around your face. Once these new contours are present, he will redrape (not excessively pull) your skin over them and trim any excess away. 

If it’s your neck that’s bothering you, your surgeon can make another incision under your chin to access and tighten your platysma muscle. He’ll use very fine sutures to seal the skin to reduce scar formation.

Patients will often opt to get a facelift at the same time as other cosmetic surgery procedures, including:

  • Forehead lifts
  • Eyelid lift
  • Earlobe surgery
  • Fat grafting
  • Chin augmentation

Mini Facelift

If the skin around your face is less relaxed, a mini facelift may be all that you need. Here, your surgeon will create smaller incisions at your temples and continue them around your ear.  The incisions may not extend behind the ear as is seen with a traditional face lift.

This approach may be ideal for someone who has already had a traditional facelift and is looking to upkeep his or her appearance, or someone with little to moderate saggy skin. A mini face lift in Dr. Neavin’s hands are combined with fat transfer to produce a more natural tighter and more youthful look 

Liquid Lift

You may also select a liquid lift, wherein your surgeon will use injectable dermal fillers to mimic the appearance of a facelift.  Liquid lifts work by camouflaging areas where tissue has descended from aging and gravity, or where fat was loss due to the aging process.

Your skin will appear plumper, smoother and less wrinkled after the procedure. You may also find that with the use of make up, it is easier to create the heart shaped face of youth since the starting point is drastically altered with volume. Indeed, volume enhancement is a powerful solution to many faces that aren’t yet saggy enough to warrant surgery.

Midface Lift

As its name implies, a midface lift focuses on the middle portion of your face rather than the lower half. It can restore cheek volume and lessen laugh lines. 

Your surgeon will make two incisions: one, a hidden incision inside your mouth, and the other within the hairline above the ear.  These two incisions wil connect.  The cheek is elevated off the bone and suspended higher in the face.  Dr. Neavin also includes fat transfer to the temples and forehead as well, leading to a more youthful look heart shaped face.  

Will I Be Under Anesthesia?

If you go the traditional facelift route, you’ll be in an operating room under general anesthesia.

On the other hand, your surgeon can perform a mini facelift, liquid lift or midface lift in an office setting under local anesthesia. Because of this convenience, these types of procedures have exploded in popularity recently.

Am I a Good Candidate?

Before you jump into a facelift, make sure you’re a good candidate for one first. 

In general, ideal patients are healthy men and women who are looking to revive and rejuvenate tired or saggy facial skin. The procedure is also best-suited for non-smokers, as smoking can interfere with the healing process. 

Is your skin especially heavy without clear laxity? If so, your doctor may advise you toward a different procedure, such as buccal lipectomy or submental liposuction.   Yet, someone with loose skin or fat loss on his cheeks or mid-face region is well-suited for the approach. 

Not sure where you fall along the spectrum of eligibility? Schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon.

At this time, you can answer questions that can help guide a decision. Here’s what to expect when you go in.

Your Initial Consultation

At the time of your consultation, your surgeon will get your complete health history. He’ll also ask you questions about your lifestyle and what results you expect to see from a facelift.

At the same time, you’ll need to provide accurate and honest information on any medications you’re currently taking. You may need to stop some before your surgery, while others may be fine. 

Before you leave, your surgeon should perform an analysis of your facial structure. He’ll examine the skin and fat content in the following locations:

  • Hairline to eyebrow
  • Eyebrow to the bottom of your nose
  • Nose to the bottom of your chin
  • Neck

Then, he’ll assess what the pattern of aging looks like in each of these areas. For instance, do you have a receding hairline or eyebrow ptosis? What about bags around your lower eyelids or thinning lips?

Your surgeon will look at every quadrant of your face to generate a facelift plan that’s tailored to your current condition and future expectations. 

How Long Does a Face Lift Last?

The general rule of thumb is that the most invasive facelift techniques should last the longest.

That means you’ll see the results of a full, traditional facelift long after your liquid lift has faded. The former will last around 15 years or more, while the later will last around two to six years depending on the product used.  Mini facelifts and midface lifts will last well over five years.  In some regard, all of these surgical proceduers do have some permanent lasting effects since after the surgery, one will always be ahead of the curve, so to speak.

To maximize the time you get out of yours, be sure to follow a proper skincare routine. Slather on the SPF to protect your fragile facial skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Also, maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet.  While you can’t copmbat aging totally, there are ways to protect your investment with proper skin care, sun avoidance, and a good diet.

What Should I Expect During Recovery?

After your facelift, you’ll go home or to an aftercare facilitiy with a bandage around your face. This helps to minimize any swelling or bruising that may occur. Your surgeon may also insert small tubes around the area to help drain excess blood or fluid. 

Be sure to follow all post-procedure instructions on how to care for your surgical site. Your surgeon may also advise you on medications to apply on your skin or take orally. Heed all guidelines and stay on top of all follow-up appointments you need to attend. 

While deciding if this procedure is right for you, talk to your surgeon about any concerns you may have. He should be able to advise you on the following:

  • Where you’ll go after your surgery
  • If you’ll need to take any special medication
  • If your surgery will require dressings or bandages
  • When your dressings can come off
  • When you can wash your face and wear cosmetics again
  • When you can resume normal physical activity
  • When you can perform normal haircare routines, including cuts and colors

When Will I See Results?

When you invest time and money into a facelift procedure, it’s natural to look for immediate results the next day. In reality, it may take a week or two  or more before you’re looking great.

Most people are presentable between 10 and 14 days. Yet, it could be three months or more before your face regains its normal texture and sensibility depending on the magnitude of the surgery.

Don’t get discouraged if all you see is bruising or swelling at first. This is normal and will go away with time! 

The anticipation and waiting are all worth it, however. Once the results of your facelift appear, you’ll notice tighter, firmer and more youthful skin. 

The Answer to All Your Facelift Questions

Now that you know a little more about how facelifts work, are you getting serious about pursuing one? 

As you make informed and thoughtful decisions about your health and appearance, we’d love to walk alongside you. How long does a face lift last? It matters whose hands you’re in.

We’re a team of qualified plastic surgeons and healthcare professionals dedicated to helping you restore your confidence and capture the look you want. 

From facelifts and tummy tucks to breast lifts and hair transplants, we do it all. Contact us today to learn more about the wide range of services we offer. We’ll help you put your best face forward, starting today. 

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