Facelift Without Surgery

What's the best procedure that works like a facelift with minimum fuss? I am 52 years old and have decided that I want to improve the look of my face. My choices are filler injections or the new signature lift, which takes about 90 minutes. After reading some of the reviews on the injectables, I am a little apprehensive. I have a wedding to attend in July and I want to look my best. Can someone please let me know about the best procedures that I can do that does not require general anesthesia, with minimal down time and allows me to look like I had a facelift?

Doctor Answers 67

Facelift without surgery

unfortunately.....no such thing.......any other answer is someone who wants your money and will get you absolutely no results or improvement.  If you want a natural looking result that makes a noticable change you have to have at least a conservative facelift. The good news is that an experienced facelift surgeon can do this easily under local anesthesia in less than one hour. I might also add that fillers enhance facelift work they don't take the place of facelift work.

Miami Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Avoid "gimmick" procedures

At 52-years-old I suspect that a facelfit would be very appropriate for you.  I do not, however, recommend any of these gimmick procedures that promise the world with little effort.  Typically these procedures simply tighten the skin which produces a short term result at best and at worst results in horrible scars from placing too much pull on the skin.  If the deep tissue layers aren't separated form their attachments and moved to heal in a new location, don't expect much of a result.  The skin is only minimally structural in your face, it is like trying to use the siding on your house to fix a sagging foundation.

A facelift procedure does not require general anesthesia.  It does require sedation.  I have never used general anesthesia during a facelift; however, all of my patients sleep nicely with IV sedation.  I have had a couple of patients who were adamant that they would do local anesthesia only.  This can be done but is challenging because of the extensive local anesthesia and the 3-hour duration.

6 weeks is usually plenty of time to look very presentable after a facelift.  It does take a year to be 100% healed, but as far as the general public is concerned you should seem healed in 6 weeks.  Most patients are out and about after 2 or 3 weeks looking nice with makeup.

If you want to avoid any risk of delayed healing interfering with your wedding plans, stay with Restylane and Botox.  In the hands of a good injector, a lot of improvement can be had with little or no healing and virtually no real risk.

Louis W. Apostolakis, MD
Austin Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Facelift options

There are many names for variations of a facelift but they all lead to the same destination; rejuvenating the face.  Without a picture it is difficult to advise you. A mini-lift of the cheek and jowl area can be done in two to three hours under mild sedation.  You should always look for a procedure with some lifting of the SMAS.  A skin lift alone is useless.  If you have a sagging neck then a general anesthesia is probably required.

If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

All the best,

Tal Raine MD FACS

Talmage J. Raine, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

A facelift is best

If you want the results of a facelfit, then get a facelift. It is the best way to improve the laxity in the lower face, no question. A minilift can be performed in the office setting and requires no general anesthesia. Downtime is minimal and you should look good in a week, and great in 2-3 weeks. If you desire a non-surgical alternative, then combination therapy is probably best. I would personally recommend a combination of fillers, botox, and Ultherapy. Ultimately, your particular facial anatomy and desires will determine what is best for you. I'm all about customization. Make sure you see someone who can provide you with multiple different options so the best option for you can be selected.
Andrew C. Campbell, M.D.
Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon

Andrew Campbell, MD
Milwaukee Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Mini Face Lift can have less fuss and a good result

For those patients who really are not going to get a good results with an injection treatment because they have gravity and sagging, there are few choices other than some type of face lift. Lasers also will not lift the face significantly. A mini type face lift can be done under local anesthesia with no general anesthesia and usually can be executed in between an hour and two hours. While not as effective as a full face lift it will get you closer to your goals for your event with minimal "fuss."

Andrew Jacono, MD
Great Neck Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 198 reviews

Hard Question to Answer Without Pictures

In some patients of your age, fillers are absolutely the right thing to do. In others a mini-lift is appropriate, and in others still a Facelift is the best procedure. It is hard to determine what to do without pictures. In my hands as with many posters on this website, mini lifts and Facelifts are performed under twilight IV sedation (very similar to the sedation for a colonoscopy); general anesthesia is rarely used.

The take home points I would suggest are: 1) don't focus on the "90 minute procedure". You are not taking a subway, you are doing this to look better. Who cares if it takes 120 minutes or 180 minutes if you have a great result and are happy, 2) there is nothing unique about a "signature lift". Most "branded lifts" are absolute hogwash, do not represent anything signatorial, and are pure marketing gimmicks.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

Mini facelift vs fillers?

Mini facelift = Mini results

Minimum fuss: Injectables

Of course, there is no free lunch. In Plastic Surgery, the price you pay for convenience is either short acting solutions or subtle, rather than dramatic results.

In your particular case, injectables seem like an ideal solution to get something done before the wedding, and to start looking into good reputable surgeons in your area. Ask to see pre and post op pictures of their work.

Ricardo L. Rodriguez, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Facelift without general anesthesia

There are lots of "fears" about having a Facelift. With the right surgeon you can have a great procedure without a lot of downtime, without looking stretched, and without general anesthesia. Things are done differently by different surgeons and there are a lot of surgeons getting into mini-lifting that have not had formal education with face lifting.

We do the entire range, from "mini lifting" to full face lifting, all under local with twilight sedation. it is easy and it works! You don't have to have a general anesthesia to have a Facelift.

Phillip Langsdon, MD
Germantown Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

I would recommend a "Mini-Lift," but be careful.

There are multiple options for rejuvenating the face. Basically, for the problem you outline, there are only 2. One is to use fillers to return the fullness of the face and to disguise the sagging from the pull of gravity. The best way to correct the effects of gravity, however, is surgical. Terminology for the different methods of surgical correction varies. Some of these are classified as “mini-lifts” or “designer lifts.” Not all of these are equal. Most “mini-facelifts” really do not accomplish the same thing as a more extensive procedure. Also, not all the hype is completely true. As for a 90 minute procedure under local, this is frequently how much time the surgeon spends (the nurses spend a significantly longer time getting you ready, anesthetizing you, completing the suturing and doing the dressing.) and the surgeon does not have privileges anywhere that he could use any other anesthesia. Fortunately, now, there are procedures that both revolumizes the face and is as good, if not better, than traditional facelifts in correcting the sag, last longer and, and, particularly in your age group, do so with decreased scars and faster recovery (back to normal activities within a week or 2).

One of these procedures is the MACS Lift. The term stands for Minimal Access Cranial Suspension. The procedure is, if possible, done with a much shorter scar and less undermining, thus the minimal access. At your age, this is most probably possible. It also suspends the elevated tissues from solid tissue attached to the cranial bones to add longevity to the procedure, thus the Cranial Suspension. Other advantages are that the tissues are elevated back from where they came, rather than at an angle backwards; no tissue is removed, just repositioned to its normal youthful position (this repositioning of the tissues puts volume back to where it belongs, doing permanently what the injections do temporarily); there is usually no scar behind the ear; and the recovery is quite rapid.

Whatever you do, make sure your surgeon has broad experience in dealing with the areas that concern you. If you are going to undergo surgery, you would like to accomplish all your goals. With proper planning, all these areas can be treated so that fillers are not necessary. Also make sure the surgeon has privileges at a local hospital to do what he proposes doing for you.

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Face lift without getting surgery

It sounds like you are looking for a miracle. From reading your question, you basically are seeking a significant improvement in your face with a quick procedure which is non-invasive, has minimal down time and minimal cost. Well, unfortunately, there is nothing that meets your criteria. You can choose one of the quick lift procedures such as the so-called signature lift. However, don't expect much except a similar incision to more comprehensive facelift procedures without the result of a traditional facelift. Also, fillers are great for filling volume, but do not expect anywhere near a facelift result. If you post pictures, we may be able to give you more specific advice. However, if you need a facelift, then you need a facelift. There is no way around it. If all you need is Botox and Radiesse or other filler, then maybe that will do, but it is not a facelift equivalent. Good luck.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

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.