The Facelift is Back - by: Vincent Lepore MD


Why is the Facelift 'back'?  and Where did it go?

Let's rewind a little bit. The Facelift, always one of the signature procedures in the field of Plastic Surgery, has had some shifts in popularity in recent years.

New, mimimally-invasive technologies explain some of the shift away from surgery. And, changing public perception and attitude account for other reasons.


According the statistics collected by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), surgical Facelifts dropped out of the "top 5 procedures" in figures compiled for 2015, after diminishing slightly for several years prior.

Statistics for 2016 however, show a significant uptick- Facelift is not only back on the list of "Top 5" procedures, the number of surgeries reported over the year, climbed by a very robust 4 per cent.


  •  The medical consumer has explored non-invasive and minimally invasive treatments for facial rejuvenation (injections of neuro-toxins, fillers, laser and other energy-based treatments, peels, etc.)
  • Patients better understand the limits of non-surgical treatments. After all the above treatments, many are still seeing the effects of gravity, and skin and muscle laxity.  In other words, areas are still droopy or crepey.
  • And, there's a greater pool of patients reaching that 'facelift threshhold,' as the population ages in larger numbers.
  •  NEWER TECHNIQUES and METHODS are producing more subtle and natural results

Surgeons long ago abandoned the skin-only method of tightening a patient's face. But, a lot of people still seem to think a Facelift will mean tightly-pulled skin, a "wind-tunnel" look, and an altered expression. This perception is changing, as more and more people undergo the newer facelifts.  The surgeries involve the underlying muscle, as well as the skin. Great care is taken to produce natural-appearing results, with the goal being a refreshed, rejuvenated appearance- eliminating a lot of the drooping and sagging that bother patients, while preserving the patient's unique 'look.'  It's often said that a good facelift should turn the clock back, not change its face.


Facelifts can be large or small, Mini or Full.  In the last few years the so-called Mid-Facelift has soared in popularity, a surgery which concentrates on the mid and lower face- targeting the loosening muscles and skin in the cheeks and jawline.

A Facelift can be combined with a Browlift, in which the tissue and muscle are re-positioned to address wrinkling and sagging of the forehead, browline, and temples.

Eyelid Lifts (Blepharoplasty) are often added to restore a more youthful appearance to the eyes by removing excess skin and fat.

Necklift is also performed (often with the assistance of Liposuction) to improve the neck contour, and remove excess skin and fat. (turkey wattle, and double chin)


If there is a trend, or new normal way of approaching Facelifts, this is it.  All of the types of facelifts just mentioned are now routinely combined with treatments such as  Fat Transfer (using the patient's own fat cells), and injections of Botox and fillers.  The addition of the fat or fillers, further refine and rejuvenate different areas of the face, and with Botox, aid in smoothing wrinkles and fine lines

  • The non-surgical remedies (injections, etc.) are considered temporary, and will need to be repeated to maintain the results they give. (Botox-type injections- at 3 to 6 months, some of the longer-lasting fillers such as Voluma, 1 year to 18 months, Juvederm 6-9 months).
  • Regarding Facelift results, this is not one of those "one answer fits all" questions. Here's a quick way to think of it. Your result is essentially 'permanent.' That is to say, you'll always have that level of improvement, or look that much younger than you did.  Will you and your appearance continue to age after your facelift?  Yes, of course. A cosmetic procedure can roll back time, but won't stop it.  Most patients will not think of repeating the procedure, for 10 to 15 years.

  What we're now seeing is that many of our facelift patients return at regular intervals for injections of fillers or Botox, and for facials and skin products, to keep their results looking refreshed for a long as possible.  So, yes the Facelift is definitely back, in a refined and enhanced way.

Article by
San Jose Plastic Surgeon