How long does a facelift last? What factors determine how long a facelift will last?
How Long Does a Facelift Last?
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A. Dean Jabs M.D., Ph.D.
Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
Bethesda MD/McLean VA
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How long does a facelift last?
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A great facelift is long-lasting - How to select a surgeon
The quality of your skin before your facial rejuvenation procedure will definitely have an effect on the lasting results of a facelift.
For example, a person who has previously been a heavy smoker, a serious sun worshipper, or a person who has been morbidly obese may have skin laxity issues that can contribute to results that don't last as long as a person who starts with great skin before suegery.
Taking care of your skin following surgery can also help maintain results. It is not uncommon for people to have minor touch ups years after their initial surgery. Sometimes very minimal maintence can keep the face looking fresh and youthful.
Be very careful about selecting a plastic surgeon to perform facial rejuvenation surgery. We all have seen people with obvious looking facelifts, ears that are no longer in a natural position, necks that seem unnatural, hollowed eyes. obvious scars etc. These changes can be permanent and full correction can be difficult even with revisional surgery.
The following are a few things that can distinguish some surgeons from others
1) Graduating from a top tier medical school at the top of their class.
2) Membership in Alpha Omega Alpha. THis is the medical honors society. Alpha Omega Alpha is to medicine what Phi Beta Kappa is to letters
3) Formal surgical training from prestigious medical universities. The minimum number of years of surgical training for plastic surgeons to be bord certified in five years. Some physicians have as many as ten years of formal surgical training. There simply is no substitute for stelar academic and practical surgical training.
4) Very experienced surgeons with meticulous surgical technique and natural looking outcomes will have photgraphic evidence of their work. Patients should be able to view many photos of the surgery of interest, photgraphed from three different perspectives all with similar lighting, distance from the camera and cropping
The elite experience extends beyond the surgeon to the facility, and the surgical team. You should be able to see the surgical theater and know who else will be in the OR with you during surgery. The Joint Commission (JCAHO) is an organization that provides certification to hospital OR's. The Joint Commission and AAAASF are two of the organizations that can provide certification to surgical suites. Some plastic surgeons elect to have their surgery centers dually certified.
The anesthesia experience is critical to a safe and comfortable surgical experience. A board certified anesthesiologist can administer general or MAC anesthesia. My preference is to have a board-certified anesthesiologist at the bedside of my patients for the duration of surgery.
Plastic surgeons who cater to high profile individuals who place a high value on privacy will have a private first floor entrance and exit so patients never need to be in a public lobby or elevator for pre-operative or post operative visits.
Facelifts last 2-10 years, depending on the technique, the surgeon and the patient
These are averages for what patients report after their surgery.
Threadlifts: Most patients notice a benefit for 6 months to 1 year. No permanent benefit is usually noted since the tissues usually slide past the sutures. In all cases when we have removed threads during revision procedures, the sutures have held no tension and were often quite loose. The data are not fully in on Endotine lifts performed with undermining (lifts performed with a self dissolving device that hooks onto the cheeks or brow), but the longevity is likely to be longer than for threadlifts with no undermining.
Minilifts: Most patients notice a benefit of 2-4 years. If tissue is undermined and advanced and sutured it to a new position, there will likely be a permanent, lifelong benefit from this procedure and the procedures listed below this; patients are always "ahead of the game" by a certain amount, although of course the face continues to age.
Revision facelifts: 2-7 years. Since some of the advancement of the tissue has already occurred, revision facelifts generally do not achieve the rejuvenation effects of a first time lift. However, the ability of a cleverly done revision facelift to restore a natural unoperated, youthful appearance can be transformative.
Facelift skin only: 3-6 years average
Facelift with SMAS treatment and volume restoration (i.e. LiveFill or fat injection): Most patients notice 5-8 years in improvement, less in young patients with minimal aging signs, more in older patients who have several ancillary procedures done at the same time.
Facelift with SMAS treatment and volume restoration with many ancillary procedures (face, eyes, brow, lip lifts, LiveFill, Neck-Lace, conservative CO2 laser i.e. 360 Facelift). Many patients report 8-12 years of rejuvenation or more.
A natural reduction in aging does not result from tightening alone. The more clues of aging that are reduced, the better and more harmonious the appearance. Patients with well performed facial plastic surgery appear younger, but also prettier (or more handsome), if facial beauty and balance are enhanced through ancillary procedures in an addition to the usual tightening.
Here is the dilemma: if a patient gets a well done facelift, but for example ignores volume losses, aging eyes, aging skin tone, yes, the result is better but it is not complete.
That is why the best and longest lasting results, by far, are with a facelift expertly done combined by a number of carefully chosen ancillary procedures. In the right hands, this combined approach of facelift plus ancillary procedures also produces the most believable youth.
It depends which procedure you choose
While genetics and skin quality are important in longevity of a facelift, technique is the number one factor in how long the result will last.
Fast recovery and minimal facelift techniques will last the least amount of time:
Thread Lifts - were very popular in the media over the last few years, but patients found they only lasted a few months to a year, and were very disappointed.
Mini-face lift - S-lift - refers to a face lift with a small amount of skin undermining (non-extensive), with limited SMAS mobilization. These are longer lasting than thread lifts, but realistically results "last" 2 to 5 years.
"Full" Face Lifts - There are many versions of the operation that fall into this class, and can be called SMAS platysma, SMASectomy, SMAS imbrication, Deep plane, Composite lift, Sub periosteal, etc. As a group, these all require extensive "re-arrangement" of the underlying facial tissues, in addition to significant skin undermining. They are technically demanding procedures that are not undertaken by in-experienced surgeons. The recovery is longer (2-4 weeks), but the results generally last 10 to 12 years.
Simply put, the more extensive the procedure, the longer the recovery period will be, and the longer you will enjoy the results.
How Long Does A Facelift Last
Thank you for your question. Any answer is very subjective.
I can tell you that it is unusual for patients to have a second Facelift after a successful and properly performed first Facelift.
The duration of results depends on many factors:
- The type of skin-fair thin skin ages faster than darker thin skin. Facelift results last longer in darker skin-10-12 years than in fair thin skin-2-4 years.
- Age at time of Facelift- Younger patients (45-60) with fewer aging changes tend to have longer lasting results than older patients (70's on.)
- Condition of skin at time of Facelift- patients with severe sun damage, smokers and others with advanced aging changes often do not achieve as long lasting results as people with healthy skin.
- The skill of your surgeon-this is probably the most important factor.
Generally speaking I tell patients with healthy skin to expect their result to last 10-12 years. Patents with fair thin sun damaged skin will likely need a revision in 2-4 years.
In practice very few patients decide to have a second procedure.
Longevity of face lifts
There are tons of different types of face lifts. I hear this question a lot, and here's the deal. I cannot speak for all surgeons but here's what I see.
Every single one of us in on an escalator of aging. The escalator moves at different speeds for each of us depending on genetic factors and environmental factors such as sun exposure and smoking. The rate at which the escalator moves dictates our apparent age. Some of us are lucky in that our escalator is slow and our apparent age is younger than our chronological age. Some of us are not as lucky. Getting a facelift does NOT stop the escalator. It picks up from one point on the escalator and puts you at a different location. Therefore it decreases your apparent age. The escalator doesn't stop moving. If done correctly, a face lift will last forever. So if a facelift decreased your apparent age by 9 years, you will always be 9-10 years younger in your apparent age down the road. The better question to ask is what is the average length of time in which patients are not happy with the younger apparent age and want more reversal of the clock. That time is approximately 10 years. Hope that helps!
Lasting results depend on technique
Some Face Lifts only tighten the loose skin. These procedures will last the least amount of time. This might be an acceptable procedure for some patients, but it might not give a long lasting result. The SMAS Lift offers the most natural improvement to the face because the underlying tissue layers and muscles of the face are lifted and repositioned, improving the jaw line and neck area.
By using this technique, patients look more the way they used to look before the aging process since the skin does not need to be pulled tight, this technique produces a more youthful and natural appearance. Generally, I tell my patients to expect the results to last about 8 years however it is not uncommon for the results to last 10 or more years.
Excellent question which is posed by almost every...
Excellent question which is posed by almost every patient looking for cosmetic rejuvenation. Unfortunately, no physician can tell how long a facelift will last just as no physician can tell you what you will look like in the future without a facelift.
There are many factors which affect how skin ages including:
- sun exposure
All of these factors play a role in the aging process.
Another important factor to consider is what type of facelift is to be performed. Some facelift procedures are aimed at minimal changes and may not last as long as other more extensive procedures.
A patient's age at the time of the facelift can also play into longevity as younger patient's tend to have less elastic skin, which produces longer lasting results.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.