What Results Can I Expect from a Face Lift?

Sudden improvement in my wrinkles or just lifting of sagged skiN?

Doctor Answers 38

How to Understand What a Facelift Does

Facelift procedures lift sagging skin and can diminish wrinkles in many parts of the face, especially the cheeks and neck.  Depending upon what condition your skin is in, and how much sagging you have will affect what a facelift can actually do. A facelift can affect the contours of your face by lifting sagging fat and skin and instilling volume to your cheeks and sharpening your jawline.  
To understand what a facelift does and does not do, you should understand that a facelift by definition affects the face below the eyes including your cheeks and neck.  Wrinkles can be diminished by elevating the skin and removing excess, but the fine or deeper wrinkles that may persist around your mouth, or along the cheeks can only be treated with some sort of skin resurfacing, either with a laser or dermabrasion or chemical peels. 
The forehead and eyes by definition are not affected with a facelift.  To rejuvenate the forehead( that is to elevate droopy eyebrows and diminish wrinkles between the eyebrows and along the forehead, one must perform a browlift, either using either an open or endoscopic technique.  If one wants to only improve the skin texture and surface wrinkles of the forehead, laser or a chemical peel is in order.  These treatments will not effectively lift the eyebrows to a more youthful position.
The eyes are addressed with eyelid surgery or blepharoplasty.  Excess skin and herniated fat is removed and wrinkles are diminished.  Even with these techniques, fine wrinkles may persist in the lower eyelids and lateral orbital areas, especially when smiling.  These wrinkles are best addressed with laser or chemical peels combined with ongoing treatments with botox.
In my practice, most patients that present for treatment of facial wrinkles desire a natural, youthful appearance that looks well coordinated and "undone".  Most commonly I perform a combination of these procedures that address all areas of the face, resulting in a natural, youthful result, requiring approximately 10-14 days of recovery.  Your best bet is get the opinions of some qualified Board Certified Plastic Surgeons are passionate about performing these procedures and are proud of their results.
Good Luck.

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 107 reviews

Facelifting improves looseness and redundancy of the face - not wrinkled skin.

Think of it this way - surgery is like tailoring. If the outfit is too loose, saggy, and baggy, the answer is to enlist the services of an expert tailor and "take in the dress" : a Facelift.

On the other hand, Chemical peeling or Laser Resurfacing are like ironing. If the outfit is roughly the right size, and just creased and wrinkled, you need to have it pressed - resurfaced, not lifted.

Of course, some faces may be both too loose, as well as wrinkled - these are best treated with combined lifting and resurfacing, either together or in two different procedures.

Best of luck!

Laxmeesh Mike Nayak, MD
Saint Louis Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 198 reviews

Results from a Facelift

The results of a facelift vary significantly. Not just from surgeon to surgeon, but patient to patient.  Facial rejuvenation should always be customized to the needs and desires of a patient. Some people have excess drooping skin. Others age in a way that hollows the face. 

I often ask people to bring photos of themselves from their youth. The goal is not to make a person look 30  years younger, but we can together notice dramatic, and more subtle changes that have taken place. 

The ideal result of a facelift is when a person looks in the mirror and feel they look like they feel. 

We all have seen facelift surgery that looks odd or unnatural. Most people want a very natural look. Take your time carefully researching a plastic surgeon to find someone with the experience and expertise to provide you a wonderful result in a safe environment staffed with a team of caring and talented medical experts. 

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 118 reviews

Facelift results and effects

The term 'facelift' is probably not the best, as the surgery only affects that bottom 1/2 of the face. Furthermore, it does not treat wrinkles of the skin (these are best treated with injectables or topical treatments, such as chemical or laser peels or dermabrasion). Rather, it primarily acts to reposition and tighten loose, saggy tissues, such as the jowl and neck band lines.

Sam Most, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

What to expect in a facelift procedure

There are a number of techniques for performing a Face Lift; every surgeon approaches the procedure their own way. My technique utilizes the underlying muscle providing a more natural and longer lasting result than the "skin only lift".

During surgery the deeper tissues are tightened, the loose skin is draped up and back, and any excess is removed. The result is a smoother, fresher appearance. A Face Lift can help to smooth prominent “cords” in the neck. Tightening the tissues of the lower face and neck creates a sharper neck-to-chin angle. The overall result is a more youthful profile.

Vivian Hernandez, MD, FACS
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Facelift expectations, is tighter better?

I have to answer the question from a specific perspective, as a board certified (The American Board of Plastic Surgery) Plastic Surgeon: tighter is not better.

You should expect that your Plastic Surgeon will review your personal goals and expectations with you, prior to the surgery.

The surgery is typically designed to restore positioning of the facial areas that have lost their place, making you look tired or unhappy. This can be done with a very natural result, not making the skin too tight.

Often additional treatments can be helpful, such as filler placement and skin resurfacing. All approaches should be individual and customized to your needs.

Julius W. Few, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
3.8 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Facial Rejuvenation and Recontouring

A facelift addresses laxity in both the skin and muscle of the face that have lost elasticity during the aging process. A facelift will improve the contour of the lower face, jowls, nasolabial folds, marionette lines, and jaw line. There are many different facelift techniques, and many techniques can yield superb results. The technique itself is less critical than the experience, education, expertise, technical skill, and artistic eye of your surgeon. It is important to have an open conversation with your surgeon about your aesthetic goals, as certain things not addressed by a facelift directly can also be performed during the procedure, such as fat grafting to add volume to the face that may have been lost through the aging process, laser resurfacing to address surface wrinkles, or even other smaller surgical procedures such as eyelidplasty to address laxity or bulging around the eyes. The most important thing to remember about a facelift is that the goal is rejuvenation - you still want to look like yourself, simply a younger more refreshed version. Make sure you carefully select a surgeon you are comfortable with, who is board certified, experienced, and who is able to explain the procedure, results, and recovery you can expect with your procedure.

Lawrence Bass, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

What to expect from a Face lift

Done right it should be natural, not wind swept. The understructures are repositioned in a more youthful location and the skin is not taught but lays comfortably helping to define the new more youthful contours of the face. Over months there is a marked improvement in your wrinkles and the sagging skin should be gone.

Raj S. Ambay, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Face Lift Expectations

The primary purpose of a facelift, or rhytidectomy, is to improve visible signs of aging on the face and neck. A facelift can be combined with laser to address deep wrinkles.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Facelift expectations...

A facelift is an excellent procedure to reverse the signs of aging, but it is important to understand exactly what it treats.  The main focus of a facelift is to reverse the effects of gravity and elevate the sagging tissues of the face and neck.  The incisions can be well hidden by an experienced facelift surgeon and the procedure is not that difficult to go through.  Having said that, there are other signs of aging that a facelift does not correct.  General wrinkles within the skin have to improved with laser resurfacing or heavy skin peels.  A facelift is not meant to tighten skin (you don't want that pulled look after a facelift).  Also, general volume deficiencies have to be filled with materials such as fat.  A youthful appearing person has some fullness to their face and fat injection helps with that.  All three of these procedures can be performed at the same time, maximizing the anti-aging results.  Be sure you see an experienced and board certified facial plastic or plastic surgeon to evaluate which procedures are best for you.

Andrew Miller, MD
Edison Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 205 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.