Are Some Surgeons Able to Deal with a 3rd Facelift, and Others Not?

I have had 2 facelifts, both bad. My lower face is too low on my face and it has been tightened under my cheeks, making my face look narrow, hollow, and sad. I feel the sides and under cheeks need to be taken apart, and relifted, more vertically, probably with incision up into the hairline. I'm having a hard time finding anyone in the Kansas City area who is not afraid of scar tissue and nerve damage in a third facelift. Are some surgeons able to deal with this, and others are not?

Doctor Answers 23

Can a 3rd Facelift be Done

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I'm sorry you're not happy with your previous work, but a 3rd facelift can be done by an experienced surgeon who will explain possible complications and establish reasonable goals. From your description it may be necessary to redrape the facial skin without removing anything. As we age we lose facial volume - it may be that you need facial augmentation with fat grafting without another facelift.

Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

A Short Scar Vertical Facelift Is An Option For A Revision Facelift

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By your description, it sounds that a Vertical Facelift may be a good option for you as you consider a third procedure. The Vertical Lift (MACS-lift) provides:

  • An upward, not backward vector of lift
  • Does not advance your hairline in the temple
  • Causes less distortion than repeating a traditional facelift.

A Vertical Lift is usually safe to perform as a revision procedure if you are healthy. As with any procedure, some volume replacement and upper face or brow procedures may also be needed to obtain your best outcome.

Edward Szachowicz, MD, PhD
Minneapolis Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Revision Facelift

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Typically scar tissue is not an insurmountable problem with facelifts but if you are feeling too tight and pulled additional surgery might not be for you.  Other procedures might better soften or naturalize your look.  We need to talk.  Come in for a discussion of multiple options. 

Hannah Vargas, MD
Kansas City Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

3rd face lift not an issue

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It would serve you best if you could submit pictures, however, it sounds like you would benefit from facial fillers. Sounds like you are on the right track by consulting different surgeons. Don't give up! Just make sure that the person you do decide on is a Board Certified Plastic surgeon with experience on repeat facelifts. Best wishes,

Dr. H

Gary M. Horndeski, MD
Texas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 230 reviews

Third facelift

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As patients start with mini lifts at a earlier age, a third facelift has become much more common. You are correct in that hairline incisions often work best because of the tendency to sweep the skin off of the face and side burn area with a repeated lift. Also, volume replacement becomes even more critical as we age and fat grafting to hollow areas can help.
Best of luck,

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Multiple face lifts , further work desired

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Keep looking for a surgeon who feels comfortable and confident he/she can improve you. See someone older (over 50) who can show examples of results in cases like yours. This is where experience counts . Sometimes simpler techniques like an extended skin only lift with or without fat transfer might work. In other cases facial implants or subperiosteal approachs may help. When there has been prior work, I am always concerned that motor nerve branches are encased in scar tissue and could be damaged by aggressive multiple plane approaches we use for primary lifts. Therefore operating in the superficial or very deep planes of potential dissection seem safer.

Sheldon S. Kabaker, MD FACS
San Francisco Facial Plastic Surgeon

Third facelift. What can be done.

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Hard to give you really good answers without photos.  It sounds like you may need volume as well as redraping of the soft tissues.  Each surgeon has his/her own comfort level.  Best to see a few board certified surgeons with experience in these matters.  Tell him/her your goals.  If you have operative notes and photos these can help as well.

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

3rd face lift

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Before seeking a third face lift, you may want to consider a facial recontouring procedure such as fat grafting.  This can give a lifted look without subjecting you to a 3rd major surgery.

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 231 reviews

Revision Face Lift Procedures-Secondary and Tertiary Face Lifts

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It is very possible to safetly perform a third time face lift even with previous scarring.  It sounds as if the deep tissues need to be lifted separately from the skin using a high-SMAS procedure.  If the skin flaps are elevated carefully, a SMAS flap can still be raised in secondary and tertiary procedures.  The hollowness may need to be addressed with the addition of some fat grafting.  The difficult issue in many of these secondary and tertiary face lift procedures is the amount of skin laxity and also the locations of the scars from previous procedures.  The vector of lift of the skin in secondary and tertiary procedures tends to be more vertical than backward and there may not be enough skin to remove widened or misplaced scars.  Permanent nerve injury is a rare occurence in revision procedures if the surgeon is experienced performing the procedure.

Michael Sundine, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon

Facelift - #3?

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I think one would have to conclude that some surgeons are inherently more experienced at specific procedures than others are and so it's possible that some surgeons can "deal with this" and others can't.  As always, it is in your best interest to spend whatever amount of time is required to investigate your concerns, what you want done in view of what you've had done and make yourself comfortable with the entire process.  In the end, it comes down to what you look like now, what you'd like to look like, and the likelihood that that can be achieved.  Once you know that, you can decide whether or not it's worth going through (in terms of risks, downtime and costs).  And then you can make an informed decision, which is all anyone can reasonably expect.

I hope that this helps, and good luck,

Dr. E


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.