Should I lose my 15-20 lbs prior to my facelift? (Photo)

I am planning to have a facelift within the next few months. I want to lose approximately 15 pounds. Should I lose the weight before my facelift, would it make any difference?

Doctor Answers 27

If you want to lose it, lose it before the procedure.

The best scenario is that you are at your “best weight” prior to the facelift. Remember that 5 pounds of weight loss is distributed throughout your body, so losing 5 pounds will probably not make a difference. 15 to 20 pounds, though, will mean more loss from your face. Losing weight after your procedure might lead to more excess skin. If you are considering fat transfer at the same time as the lift and you lose weight afterwards, you might still need more fat to give you full midface replenishment.  

Should I lose my 15-20 lbs prior to my facelift?

Hi, I have performed facelifts for over 30 years and have performed many minimally, invasive type facelifts.  While non smiling photos of your face from the front and side would be the best for evaluation, the photos show that your cheeks are flat anteriorly (in the front), there is some excess fat in front of and below the cheeks and jowls are present.  While the amount of fat presently in your face can and should be removed with liposuction, it isn't enough (within your face and neck) to justify loosing 15 pounds.  This of course, is at the end of the day your decision and while I have advised facelift patients to loose weight prior to their facelifts, this is typical when the fat is of significant amount that make the face appear full and round, which is not the case in your face.  It is important to realize however that the factors, mentioned in your face above, combine to create a rectangular shaped face.  Following the beauty principles outlined in my book on face and body beauty, women look the most feminine, youthful and attractive with heart shaped faces.  Heart shaped faces have cheeks that are full and round in the front.  Cheek augmentation with a dermal filler or using cheek implants for a permanent enhancement will create full, round cheeks that will feminize the entire face.

 "Jowls” these are sagging facial tissues and an indication for some form of a SMAS facelift.  The underlying SMAS layer, of the face, must be dissected, lifted, trimmed and re-sutured (not merely folded or suspended with threads or sutures that will not last).  The excess skin is then removed and the facelift incisions closed.

My most popular facelift is the minimally invasive, short incision facelift that has all the benefits of more invasive facelifts (traditional, mid-face, deep plane, cheek lift and subperiosteal facelifts) but with these added benefits:
  • very small incisions
  • minimal tissue dissection = less bruising and swelling = rapid recovery ( several days instead of weeks or months with the more invasive type facelifts mentioned)
  • can be performed in 90 minutes or less, with or without general anesthesia
  • no incisions within the hair = no hair loss
  • excess fat can be removed
  • excess skin removed
  • cheeks, chin and jaw line can be augmented with dermal fillers (I prefer Restylane Lyft) or facial implants
  • most patients fly back home to parts all over the world in as little as 3 days post-op
I combine facial shaping with every facelift procedure.  When jowls are present, these should be done in concert and not alone or separately in order to create a naturally, more attractive face.

Hope this helps.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Face lift - should I love weight?

Thank you for asking about your face lift.
  • You have a lovely family! 
  • Here is the weight issue -
  • If you lose weight and can't keep it off, that can affect your result.
  • Losing too much weight, can leave tissues loose,  needing an early touch-up.
  • What about losing about 7 pounds - reasonable without a crash diet in a few months and focus on staying there.
  • If you then lose 7 pounds after surgery - it will have little effect on your result.
Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

Right for you

Of course, weight loss makes a difference to your overall health and well being which can only be a good thing. Moreover, a BMI of over 30 makes all elective surgery slightly more complex and dangerous and a facelift is no exception to that. In terms of advantageous effects on your facelift facial fat is often preserved despite significant weight loss but not always. I think the key factor should be to attain the weight you are happiest at and confident of remaining at before a face lift and then you will get the most effect and longevity out of your surgery. For what its worth, further weight loss after face lift can be replaced simply as an outpatient via fat or filler injections. Hope that helps.Adam Goodwin

Weight loss doesn't always show on one's face

Hi.  Thanks for sharing your photo with your question.  If you feel that previous 15 lb weightloss impacts the appearance of your face, then yes, wait to have your surgery.  If weight gain and loss do not show much on your face in general, then you are less likely to impact your surgical results.  Remember that you won't be permitted to exercise for several weeks after surgery, so it may be better to reach your goal weight before-you will feel better overall.  Best wishes,

Goal Weight is Ideal

Thanks for the photo and the great question. I always tell patients with any surgery that if they are planning on losing more weight and thing they can do, to go ahead and try! If your weight is always going up and down by 10-15lbs then waiting probably isn't as important. Losing an additional 15 lbs can make a difference on your facial volume. What you don't want is to have a facelift, lose weight, then be disappointed with your results. Good luck with your weight loss and your surgery!~Dr. Sieber

Weight Loss Prior to Facelift

Thank you for your question.
If you are trying to lose weight, it's best to do that prior to your operation, and then maintain a stable weight with a healthy diet going into surgery.  That way you'll have adequate nutrition stores for adequate healing.  Best of luck!

-Dr. Michael Epstein
MAE Plastic Surgery
Northbrook, IL

Weight loss and facelifting

Thanks for your question. Yes. I would definitely try to get into the best shape that you can, and be at a stable diet/weight that you can really maintain. Losing 15+ pounds could lead to additional skin excess that would be removed at the time of your procedure. Best wishes.

Paul J. Leahy, MD
Leawood Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews


Losing the weight prior to surgery would be in your best interest.  Consult with a board certified plastic surgeon to discuss your options.

Robert E. Zaworski, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Reach Your Goal Weight Before Surgery

If a patient is in the midst of a weight loss, I typically recommend that we don't move forward until that patient is at a comfortable weight. Although a fluctuation of a few pounds isn't likely to significantly affect the appearance of your face, a 15-pound weight loss could leave you with loose skin and diminished results. To be on the safe side, lose the weight beforehand and be sure that you can maintain the loss before going through with your facelift. 

James N. Romanelli, MD, FACS
Long Island Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 22 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.