Considering a Facelift or Necklift? 7 Questions to Ask


There are many different facelift techniques and physicians performing them. It can be confusing for anyone seeking facial rejuvenation. Below are the best questions I’ve heard patients ask me prior to scheduling cosmetic surgery on their face or neck. These apply whether they are interested in a facelift, mid-face lift, necklift or browlift.

Are you a board certified plastic surgeon? And by which of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS’s)? 

Most patients know the importance of asking if a physician is board certified. There are follow up questions equally important. Are they a board certified plastic surgeon? Is their board one of the 25 recognized medical specialties? Some surgeons are board certified in a different specialty. Others have a certification such as “cosmetic surgery” which is not an official medical specialty. Search for "American Society of Plastic Surgery" and "American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery". These can lead you to experienced surgeons in your area.

How many of these surgeries have you done?

This might seem obvious but you want to be confident that the surgeon you choose has experience with the procedure you want. Just because he or she is a plastic surgeon, does not necessarily mean they specialize in facial and neck rejuvenation. Ask about their experience. Having said that, quantity and quality are not the same. Study their photo gallery to be sure they are doing a lot of great -- not mediocre -- work.      

What is bothering me about my face and neck? (Your homework) 

My preferred approach to determine the best surgical plan for facial rejuvenation is to have the patient look into a mirror and tell me 3 things he or she would like to see improved. What I see when I look at a face might be very different from what the patient sees. I want to fix what bothers them. Once I am familiar with their specific concerns, I can tailor my suggestions on their prospective facelift. Sometimes it is a combination of facelift, necklift, browlift, cheek lift. Other times a mid-facelift is all that is necessary. Here are some statistics from my practice:

80% Neck and Jawline………….Standard Cheek/ Neck Lift

10% Cheeks………………………Mid Face Lift

10% Forehead……………………Brow Lift

 What facelift procedure do you as a surgeon prefer, and why? 

I have used the SMAS lift for 30 years. With this approach I not only address the skin concerns but also the soft tissues beneath the skin in an effort to give a more long lasting and contoured result. A well done facelift should last 7-12 years and is dependent upon age, lifestyle and skin quality. Avoid the Life-Style Lift. This procedure has been overhyped and has not delivered on its unrealistic promises.

How can I be sure I won’t have that wind-blown look? 

In an effort to avoid this result the surgeon must be careful not to over tighten the facial skin and also not to rely on skin tightening alone to attain the desired natural result. Again, study a surgeon’s photo gallery. Your result should be a natural, well rested look. You do not want to look different, or obvious, just better and certainly age appropriate.

How soon can I “go public”?  

Recovery times vary by individual. Most of my patients are back in public within 8 to 10 days wearing some concealer. If you are planning to do a facelift in anticipation of an event, give yourself 2 months of recovery time to be camera ready.

How much will it cost?  

The cost will vary depending on the procedure done and the region of the U.S. that it is performed. The fee for most facial cosmetic surgical procedures will be in the range of $5,000 to $10,000 in Wisconsin where I practice, and can run over $25,000 in places like Manhattan and Beverly Hills. The cost is not necessarily commensurate with results. Surgery across the border may be cheaper, but it usually costs plenty in the long run. Traveling for a facelift, a vacation facelift and cosmetic surgery overseas are not good ideas. If you do not have the total amount saved, consider Care Credit, a service we offer with low interest payments. (See website for details.)

Article by
Eau Claire Plastic Surgeon