Fraxel an Option Instead of Facelift?

If I don't want to do a Facelift; is the Fraxel laser a good option?

Doctor Answers 26

Fraxel instead of Facelift depends

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A person "can" benefit from a fraxel type of skin ablation or even a standard skin resurfacing. This technology can tighten the skin. A facelift usually provides more skin tightening--you actually remove skin.

Here are the real questions: How much extra skin do you have? What are your expectations? What is your budget? How much of a recovery time can you deal with? What is the status of your health?

As you can see, the only way to have a doctor respond with accurate recommendations is if you can provide the above information. ALL questions I put forth could impact your final decision.

San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Fraxel Creates Mini Lift

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 Fraxel not only resurfaces skin, but also stimulates the production of new collagen and elastin – the building blocks of healthy skin. If you are relatively young and have minimal sagging, this may create enough of a lift to satisfy you. Consult a board-certified dermatologist to find out which procedure will give you the level of rejuvenation that you need.

William Groff, DO
San Diego Dermatologist
4.9 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Fraxel vs Face Lift

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It Depends On How Much extra skin you have.
Here is why: You age in 3 ways redundant skin and underlying supporting structure laxity,volume shifts (loss of volume in the cheeks, gain in the jowls and submental), and skin surface aging - wrinkles, large pores, age spots). It is important to understand that facelifts are meant to remove major folds and wrinkles, not fine wrinkles. A facelift which removed every line and fold would be too aggressive and would result in an unnatural result. The goal of our surgeons is to make your facelift look as natural as possible. Face lifts do not change the quality of the skin and volume issues are best managed by fillers or fat transfer. Skin aging is accelerated by smoking .

Fine lines and wrinkles are better addressed by skin treatments such as chemical peels or microdermabrasion, which we also offer at our office. Many of our facelift patients enhance their surgical result with these nonsurgical procedures.

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Fraxel improves texture of skin

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A comprehensive face/neck lift is performed to address subplatysmal and submental fat in the neck, tightening of the anterior platysmal bands, lifting the jowls and excess facial and neck skin. In addition, the face/neck lift also tightens facial and neck muscles to improve the jaw and neckline. Fraxel cannot perform any of the above procedures. It is simply done to improve the texture of the skin by removing sunspots.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 158 reviews

Laser vs Facelift

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You can do either procedure or both. However, the procedures treat two separate problems. Lasers improve the quality of the skin including texture, pigmentation,etc. A facelift will remove, reposition, or lift sagging skin, fat, or underlying muscle.  This is a contouring procedure.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Fraxel will not tighten enough

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These two procedures are not a replacement for each other; they are complementary. Fraxel will not tighten enough, whether it be the Re:pair or Re:store, but they can smoothen the skin and improve the texture remarkably. You will need to be evaluated for the best answer appropriate for your face.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Fraxel vs Facelift

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The one word answer: yes, it is an option. But skin resurfacing with Fraxel or other CO2 lasers works differently and only affects the skin. Facelifting affects sagging tissue including the skin, fatty tissue, muscle, and other connective tissue. Gravity affects all these tissues, not just the skin. So if your concerns are only 'skin deep,' resurfacing may address most of your concerns. But for many patients, more is needed to meet their goals.

The best thing to do is to see a Board Certified surgeon (or more than one) and get their opinion about what would best meet your goals. If you see someone who does both regularly, you might feel like you are getting a more unbiased answer.

Hope this helps!

Jason L. Swerdloff, MD
Palm Harbor Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Fraxel re:pair or Deep FX are excellent options vs. facelift

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Hi Carol,

You have asked a great question and obviously one that strikes controversy in the facial plastic surgery world with close to 20 responses here on RS.

To answer your question precisely as you asked it, yes Fraxel re:pair or Deep FX are excellent options for patients who do not wish to undergo surgical facelift, but desire to look younger, healthier, and natural.

Fractionated CO2 lasers will not replace surgical face-lifting, but are one of the best options for those who don't want to have surgery. In many patients who have minimal laxity of their face and neck, there is enough tightening so that face lift is not necessary.

Again, depending upon the individual patient's anatomy, there is a subset of patients who will likely not need surgical face-lifting with the combination of fractionated CO2 laser, radiofrequency skin tightening such as Accent XL, and fillersr.

Great question, please join us at our next plastic surgical meeting on the Controversies Panel.

Be well,

Dr. P

Michael A. Persky, MD
Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

No, not at all

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Fraxel will do some minor skin resurfacing which will reduce mainly sun damage (fine lines and wrinkles, some blotchness perhaps, reduce thickened skin, smooth the surface).

A face lift will tighten the skin, smooth the wrinkles due to sagging (not sun damage), and will also remove excess skin while raising and tightening muscles and fat pads. Liposuction is usually performed at the same time as an adjunct.

So be clear. mild skin resurfacing-Fraxel

Face lift with moer powerful rejuvenation, face lift.


No, they do different things. But, both can be good at what they do well.

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Fraxel and other brand name fractional ablative laser treatments are skin surface treatments. They work on skin pigment and texture. The most aggressive treatments, with the longest downtimes, crusting, swelling, etc. have the most benefits in these regards. They have a small effect on the tone or the tightness of the skin.

Facelift is a three dimensional procedure in which skin is tightened, but much more is accomplished. For most patients, tight skin is not their goal, but rather the removal of excess looseness, in conjunction with re-suspension of the lax deeper support layers (ie. SMAS support for flattened cheeks, jowls, indistinct jawline). Adjunctive procedures are common (laser peel, lip augmentation, NLG fillers, eyelid tuck, browlift).

You may find that one will be all you need. You may find that both procedures will give you benefits. For the best information, seek consultation with a board-certified surgeon that offers both kinds of treatments.

Sutton Graham II, MD
Greenville Plastic Surgeon

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.