Facelift Q and A


Q: What exactly is a facelift?
A: A facelift or rhytidectomy is a surgical procedure to reduce the undesirable signs of aging in the face and neck such as sagging cheeks and jowls, loose skin and fat under the chin, and fat that has disappeared throughout the face creating hollowness and deep creases. The severity of change is usually due to a variety of factors including genetics, sun exposure, lifestyle, diet, and stress. Other procedures can be performed at the same time as a facelift such as a brow lift, chemical peel, or eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty).

Q: How do I know when it’s time for a facelift?
A: In general, good candidates for a facelift include healthy individuals with no medical conditions that impair healing, non-smokers, and individuals with a positive outlook and realistic expectations. Individuals in their thirties often seek out a subtle cheek lift, and I have safely performed comprehensive facelifts on patients who are well into their eighties. Age is not as important as an individual’s overall health and goals for surgery.

Q: What can I expect during my facelift consultation?
A: We will start with a discussion of what areas bother you the most. Then I can carefully examine your face, evaluating each structure that plays a role in keeping you from your ideal appearance. A comprehensive consultation usually takes one hour. It is my job to help you understand every recommendation and answer all of your questions.

Q: Are there different types of facelifts?
A: Plastic surgeons have been refining the facelift procedure for over 70 years and there are dozens of techniques. There is no “best” facelift, but technical adjustments to the procedure can address different concerns. Choosing a surgeon familiar with many techniques is key to getting the best result.

Q: What is the biggest change in the way facelifts are done today? Are facelifts better now than they were decades ago?
A: Modern facelifts involve grafting small amounts of fat from the hips, stomach, or thighs to the hollowed out areas of the cheek, lips, eyes, temple, and chin. This achieves a healthy, natural appearance, previously unobtainable with lifting the tissues alone. Also, unlike temporary injectable fillers, fat lasts a lifetime!

Q: I hear about “lunch-time” facelifts that are very quick with almost no downtime. Do they really work?
A: Yes and no. Most quick facelift techniques offer good early results however I am disappointed by how quickly the results fade. A true surgical facelift will take years off your appearance, but more importantly make you look vibrant, energized, and refreshed, and should last a decade or more.

Q: Will I look unnatural after a facelift? I want to look age-appropriate.
A: Modern facelift techniques are focused less on youth and more on vitality. In the hands of a well-trained, experienced plastic surgeon you will look healthy, natural, and full of life.

Q: What is the recovery like?
A: Bandages come off and you will be able to shower and wash your hair the day after surgery. About half of my patients do not need any prescription pain medication. The stitches come out in one week and most patients feel comfortable returning to work or social activities after 10-14 days

Q: How should I choose a surgeon for my facelift?
A: There is an old saying, “plastic surgery should be done by plastic surgeons.” Lots of doctors advertise that they are certified as a facial plastic surgeon or cosmetic surgeon but only plastic surgeons have completed a rigorous residency in plastic surgery, are trained and experienced in all plastic surgery procedures, passed comprehensive exams, and graduated from an accredited medical school. Your safety is important and you want the best possible result.

Article by
Temecula Plastic Surgeon