While Reviewing Post Facelift Photos on Surgeons Websites I Have Noticed a Few Variations in Outcomes?

Some Patients Have a firmer appearance but do not look significantly younger, while others have firmness and appear much younger. I have read that a technique that pulls the skin and underlying structures of the face up instead of just back gives a younger appearance. I was wondering if there is truth to that statement and if it is possible to get a result of a firmer and younger appearing face from the facelift.

Doctor Answers 22

Face lift before and afters and results that vary

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There are many ways to do a face lift and that is the reason that you are seeing different results. Also sometimes it makes a difference when you take the after photos. If taken within the first months you are likely going to see some swelling that is still there that oddly can enhance the results. I would consider some volumizing to achieve the best results.

Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon

This is precisely why you should closely scrutinize websites.

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Surgeons vary tremendously in the facelift they produce.  Carefully studying the before and after pictures is very helpful.  Remember that the surgeon puts on their website the very best results for which they can get permission from their patients for publication.  If you do not like what you are seeing (waxy look, too pulled, unhappy scars or they don't even show you how there incisions heal) please do not assume that your results will be any better than what you are seeing in these photos.  Additionally credentials are also very important.  Do they have hospital privileges? Do they have malpractice insurance?  What does the state medical board that licenses the surgeon say about them on their public websites: lawsuits, public reprimands, loss of license.  These are all important items to consider.  How are you treated in the office.  Does the actual surgeon spend time with you or do you only see the "surgical consultant."  All the skills in the world mean nothing if you are not treated with respect.  At the same time, a slick office and sales environment means nothing if the doctor is rude and spends very little time assessing you.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Facelift Photos

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It all depends on the skill of the potter and the quality of the clay. But, quite honestly, the latter is more important. The method used runs a distant third.

'Before and after' pictures can be misleading: ever wondered why pre-operative photos show the patient chin down, without makeup and badly lit?

Chose an experienced Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who you feel you can trust to handle your surgery safely, take care of any complications and perform revisions if needed.

J. Brian Boyd, MD
Rolling Hills Estates Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

SMAS Plication and Skin Removal for Facelifts

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  I prefer a limited scar facelift with support of deeper tissues and skin removal for the best results.  Find the plastic surgeon with ELITE credentials who performs hundreds of facelifts each year.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Factors that influence outcomes of facelift results

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There is a huge variation in outcome based upon who performs your facial surgery.  Look for a board certified facial plastic surgeon with extensive experience and time devoted in facelift surgeries.  While the results of the facelift do vary based on patient’s pertinent anatomy, consistency in the results is of paramount importance.  It is also important to have the facelift done at the right time in life so that patients see a visible result between the before and after photos.  In other words, it is best not to have the surgery too early or too late in life.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Facelift results

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There are many variables when it comes to facial plastic surgery.  Final results can be affected by a patients skin elasticity, ethnic background and genetics.


Facelift Outcomes

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Everyone has a different opinion of what looks good to them.  I like a very natural look, and want my patients to hear "have you been on vacation?"  "you look rested" instead of "you had a facelift."  I think the best way to tell is to look at pictures of facelifts your surgeon has done, you can typically find someone who has similar bone/ neck anatomy as you.  

Melanie L. Petro, MD
Birmingham Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Face Lift Surgery Results

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I wrote a book called "The Fine Art of Looking Younger" and have been teaching my patients about the elements of facial aging. Facial aging is a combination of "volume loss" and sagging soft tissue.  A facelift restores the cheeks and jawline as well as the neck. A face lift does not technically restore facial volume although there is some volume being repositioned. Proper facial analysis is necessary so you understand what you can expect after face lift surgery. There are treatments to enhance facial volume such as fillers and injectables (Restylane, PRP, Vampire Facelift) that I perform at my practice in New York for patients who need enhancement in certain facial areas such as for fuller cheeks.

Amiya Prasad, MD
New York Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

Different facelift techniques

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There are many different ways to perform a facelift, and a consultation with a qualified surgeon can help determine the best procedure for you based on your individual needs. There are two main options to consider when deciding to have a facelift:

1) Traditional facelift: a great option for a patient with more advanced signs of aging who wants to refresh their neck, jawline, and cheeks.
2) Mini facelift: A less invasive facelift that rejuvenates the lower third of the face, including the jowls and neck.
There are also  a variety of additional procedures that can be used in conjunction with a facelift or mini facelift to achieve optimal results. These options include but are not limited to:


1) Liposuction of the jowl or neck
2) Fat transfer to the face
3) Cheek implants

Technique varies from surgeon to surgeon, and one can only tell what would be best for you following a thorough exam.  Typically, vertically lifting the face is ideal and will result in a natural appearance. Thanks and I hope this helps!

Why Do Facelift Results Vary?

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 I agree there is a wide variability of results seen on various websites. This is not surprising as there are many techniques, different elasticity of the skin, anatomical variation, different fat deposits (or wasting) and so on. Some techniques as you mention focus on underlying structural lifting (SMAS lifts). But probably most important factor of all is in fact  the skill and experience of the surgeon. Always check out his/her before and after photos and ask to see long term results and most of all that he is trained and a board certified plastic surgeon by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or board certified facial plastic surgeon. It is their role to see you through this complicated decision making process. You will probably also want to ask your plastic surgeon about the difference between a traditional facelift and a mini lift (both usually address the deeper structural lifting you mentioned).
A full or "traditional" facelift  addresses the sagging upper and lower neck skin and (platysmal) vertical neck bands, jowls,  lower and mid nasolabial folds and marionette lines. It involves incisions from the temple scalp, along the front of the ear (inside the mid part for women), behind the ear in the crease then along or into the scalp hair behind the ear towards the back of your neck with undermining of the skin and  tightening of underlying support tissues.

A mini-facelift, or "short scar facelift" or as I call it in my practice addresses all of the above except for the lower neck. The difference is that the incisions are shorter - basically the same description in front of the ear and temple scalp but ending at the level of the earlobe (in front or in back) - as much as 40% less scarring.

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.