How long does it typically take to do a facelift in the operating room?

Doctor Answers 35

Each patient will vary for a facelift.

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Every patient is different depending on the extent of the procedure. For example, men are more vascular and take more time than a woman. Some patients only need a mini-lift taking approximately 2 hours. A standard facelift is typically between 3-4 hours and if combined with brow, laser, eyelid surgery or fat grafting the facelift could take up to 6 hours.

Jupiter Plastic Surgeon

How long does it typically take to do a facelift in the operating room?

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The times varies depending on several factors including the type (e.g., deep plane versus plication) and QUALITY of the facelift being performed, the patient's anatomy, aesthetic goals, previous surgeries of the patient, and if other procedures are being performed at the same time.  Also, the time in the operating room is different than the surgical time of the procedure, whereas the former includes positioning the patient, induction of anesthesia, prepping the patient, post-operative facial dressing, emergence from anesthesia and initial recovery before exiting the operating room.  Anything less than 4 hours is typically too short a time.The attached link provides more information.I hope this helps.

Timothy R. Miller, MD
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 73 reviews

How long does it typically take to do a facelift in the operating room?

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There are many variables involved in responding to this question. Assuming that by the term facelift, we are referring to a cheek, jowl, neck lift we must consider several factors to determine typical procedure time. Considerations include facelift flap length, type of lift (i.e. skin only, smasectomy, smas flap, deep plane, short scar, etc.) , extent of submental and neck procedures, type of anesthesia, and experience of the operating surgeon. Most experienced surgeons say this procedure ranges from two to four hours. Remember, that for you as the patient, length of the procedure is not nearly as important as your final results!

Edwin Cortez, MD, FACS
Overland Park Facial Plastic Surgeon

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Surgical time required for a facelift

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There is no standard answer for this as the surgical time required is going to depend on how much work is being done and the facelift technique used. Personally, I prefer the SMAS technique. On average, I'd say most of my facelifts are about 3 hours.


Kouros Azar

Kouros Azar, MD
Thousand Oaks Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Surgical Time Depends on Many Factors

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It all depends on the definition of a “facelift.”  Most surgeons consider a “standard” facelift to be a procedure that addresses improvement of the jowls and neck.  Usually this takes 2 to 3 hours by most surgeons.  There are more complicated facelifts that include addressing manipulation of the mid face to give the face more volume in the cheeks.  These typically take longer and have a more involved recovery time.  If you then add on other ancillary procedures such as a blepharoplasty (eyes) and/or brow lifting, then more time will be required.  

Anywhere Between 2 and 6 Hours for Facelift

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The amount of time a surgeon takes to perform a facelift is highly variable depending on the surgeon and the techniques used. It ranges from 2 to 6 hours, with additional procedures such as eyelid surgery or browlift taking additional time. Some surgeons do the procedure under sedation (twilight), and some under general anesthesia. I would focus more on the results (e.g., reviewing before-and-after pictures) and experience of the surgeon. As a generalization, more experienced surgeons tend to be more efficient, but a mini facelift favored by many surgeons takes less time because less is done. It also gives a more temporary result.

That would depend on the type of facelift being done...

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A full regular face and neck lift should take about 3 hours if the procedure is being done completely. A mini facelift may take about half the time. As long as you are healthy, you should have no problem undergoing anesthesia for that period of time.

Andrew Miller, MD
Edison Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 220 reviews

Facelift under local anaesthetic

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I have pioneered the Concept Facelift which is performed under local anaesthetic and addresses the mid to lower face. The procedure typically takes around 2.5 - 3 hours but a lot of my patients like to combine procedures which will take long in theatre. For example the typically have a neck lift and/or eyelid surgery when they have a facelift I would suggest another couple of hours to perform all three treatments together.  With my face lift I make a very small incision in front of the ear and use absorbable stitches. The scars are slightly red for a couple of weeks but after a month you can hardly notice them. This is one of the main differences between the Concept facelift and a more traditional facelift which has a much larger scar. Another difference is that as I perform this surgery under local anaesthetic the recovery time is much quicker. There is also no need for drains or bandages and you will be in and out of the clinic within a few hours. Bruising is minimal - if any and there is only a small bit of swelling for the first few days post surgery. You can also combine your facelift with a neck lift. This gives fantastic results and goes hand in hand. Liposuction can also remove the fat in the neck but I would advice having a neck lift if you have lipo so that you do not have any sagging skin.


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The surgical time spent for a facelift depends upon many factors.   Excluding the eyes and forehead, 2-5 hours is ample time for an experienced surgeon to exercise the amount of diligence and creativity that this demanding surgery requires. The time required for a surgeon to perform this operation isn't necessarily a judge of quality.  It is true however, that the less surgery time required, the less swelling, bruising, and recovery there is in general.  Two and a half hours is a typical time it takes me for a full two layer neck and face.

R. Scott Yarish, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Duration of Facelift Surgery Varies

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As other physicians have noted, the time needed for facelift surgery varies from patient to patient based on the specific procedure performed and the technique used. As a facelift specialist on Long Island, I've performed thousands of facelifts throughout my career. A typical, traditional facelift will usually take about 2 to 3 hours, but that is an estimate only. A consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon can provide a more accurate estimate for the particulars of your facelift procedure.  

James N. Romanelli, MD, FACS
Long Island Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 24 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.