What kind of improvements does one see after several months of Facelift?

Thank you to all the doctors who answered my earlier questions regarding face lift. I keep hearing that I will see the final result after 6 - 8 months. What kind of improvements does one see after several months? Is there any way of correcting the small depression in my cheekwith a revision midfacelift? Is Fraxel 1550 good for Asian skin? How long do the results last?

Doctor Answers 10

Facelift results

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The improvement in the neck and along the jawline can usually be seen right away when the bandages come off.  Typically there is a good amount of swelling that usually resolves over the next 3-6 months.  Some contour irregularities can improve as the swelling subsides.  It is difficult to give an opinion on your cheek depression without a picture, but laser resurfacing doesn't usually address a volume loss or a depression below the skin surface if that is the case.  A filler or fat grafting may be appropriate, but this concern should be addressed with your surgeon, who will better understand what may be causing this irregularity and what outcome you can expect.  

Facelift Final Result

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I think that is a great question - especially since there is a lot of ambiguity when it comes to when a 'final result' from a facelift is evident. Obviously some of the major changes are apparent immediately- a better defined jawline, tightening of the skin under the chin, elimination of muscle banding in front of the neck, and thinning of the face and neck (if liposuction was performed).

A few of the key changes that happen over the next 6 months: improvement in the appearance of incisions, softening of any scar tissue under the chin, and resolution of the edema (fluid within the soft tissue).

In my opinion, facelift results look great right after surgery- but probably look the best 6 months later. Though it is subtle, those 6 months of healing and daily living (smiling, grimacing, moving) allow the changes in the skin and soft tissue to settle. This is when the result is most natural and refined.

In terms of the depression in the cheek- it is hard to comment without a photo or a consult. While a midface lift is sometimes the right procedure, often small contour changes after a lift can be treated with either fat transfer or fillers (sculptra etc).

Face lift results

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It is true that your results will be best evident after 6 or so months, but what those results are depend on the issues you have and are trying to correct, as well as the type of face lift that you have.  Your surgeon should tailor your operation to your concerns, and those are the things you should see an improvement in- your cheeks, jowls, and neck can all be addressed, as can the wrinkles in your skin.  

At 6 months you should look very natural- not like you have had too much surgery.

Fat Grafting to the Cheek Hollow

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     I would recommend fat grafting or filler to the cheek hollow if this persists.  I would not revise a midface lift for a depression, in general.

Facelift results

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     You should see 90% of your facelift result at 2-3 moonths post-op. The last 10% may take up to 6 months to see. At 2 months post-op except for a minimal amount of swelling what you see is what you got and do not expect to see any significant change. A small depression in your cheek may best be handled by a filler or fat graft rather than a repeat proceedure. Any laser on Asian skin should be done cautiously as color match can always be a problem.

Depression In Cheek Should Improve With Time. Be Cautious With Fraxel

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Thank you for your question.  I agree that 6-8 months before most of the swelling has resolved.  The contour irregularities should improve with time and may resolve without further treatment.  It is not uncommon to have an occassional irregularity this far out.  I would caution you about pursuing another procedure to correct it at this stage.  With respect to the Fractional Resurfacing, caution is prudent with CO2 Fractional Resurfacing in Asian skin.  Without photos we cannot comment further, but there is some risk of skin color changes with this treatment.  Erbium Fractional Resurfacing would be safer.  Best Wishes. 

Facelift results short term and long term after surgery

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You should see an appreciable result within 4 weeks of your procedure when most of the swelling has dissipated.

As Dr. Boyd points out, things typically loosen over the ensuing months; that's the nature of the elastic properties of skin, plus the way skin loosens when swelling dissipates.

You should best address with your surgeon whether a contour defect in the cheek should be treated with a cheeklift, steroids, massage, filler, or nothing.

Fractionated laser, with the erbium laser or with the CO2 laser, can usually be safely done in Asian skin, but is typically not effective in fixing three dimensional contour problems, but does tighten somewhat and does generally improve skin tone.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 188 reviews

How long do I wait to see the results of a facelift?

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Forgive me, but I think you misunderstood what you were told. The initial tightening effects of a facelift on the jowls and neck are evident IMMEDIATELY. What actually happens when the swelling goes down is that this tightening tends to loosen off. You don't usually go all the way back to the way you were, but you certainly look less tight with mild recurrence of the jowls and neck folds. And, yes, this process is more or less complete at 6-8 months. Now, some things DO improve with time, such as scars and subcutaneous induration (hardness) but not the basic changes that the operation is designed to produce.

As for the cheek depression, I would need to see a picture. Perhaps fat grafting would be appropriate. The tightening effects of the Fraxel laser are extremely mild compared with what you have had, and there is a slight risk of hyperpigmentation.

J. Brian Boyd, MD
Rolling Hills Estates Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Facelift expectations

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Diana, thank you for your question.  The results from a facelift should appear almost immediately.  While a small amt of swelling may be present after surgery, most should be gone in 2-3 weeks.  The same for bruising.  The skin of the cheeks my feel numb for about 6 mosths.  The sensation slowly returns to normal over that time.  As a rule I tell my patients to plan their surgery no sooner than 6-10 weeks prior to a major social event.

Daniel H. Kane, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon

Face lift and cheek results

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First results are immediate in the sense of soft tissue elevation and removal of excess skin. But there is often a fair amount of swelling which can take several months to settle down. As for cheek hollowing filler some times is a good solution.

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.