How is a facelift performed?
A facelift is typically an outpatient procedure. There are several different facelift techniques, with varying areas of focus. The type of facelift you receive will depend on your desired results.
Most facelift techniques focus on the lower facial areas, such as the jawline, jowls, and cheeks. A facelift can also focus on the midface or the forehead. In some techniques, deeper facial tissues may be repositioned or tightened to restore a more youthful contour. In other techniques, it may be necessary to remove or add fat or other soft-tissue fillers to achieve the best results.
Today, many different techniques exist with outcomes that can be consistently reliable, safe, and durable. Your incisions will depend on the targeted area and the amount of change you want.
- Your surgeon makes the incisions, performs various degrees of undermining, and lifts the deeper layers of your face. Undermining separates the face and neck’s overlying skin from the muscles and tissues deep to the skin. This frees or loosens facial and neck skin so that the surgeon can redrape it at the end of the procedure, making sure the skin is smooth.
- Your surgeon will then raise the skin from the temples, cheeks, and neck, and lift and reposition the underlying connective tissue, removing excess fat and skin. If you are getting this procedure in conjunction with a neck lift, the surgeon will draw the neck muscles together, stitching them together at the midline to form a strong sling of muscles that supports the entire neck and jaw. Your surgeon may also conduct liposuction on your neck and jowls, and he or she may add facial implants to increase your cheek or chin volume.
- Finally, your surgeon redrapes the skin over the new underlying structure and closes the incisions with stitches or small metal clips. Where needed, your surgeon will insert drainage tubes then apply a padded, supportive dressing.
What are my facelift options?
Facelift surgery varies in range from minimally invasive ‘lunchtime lifts’ to more extensive, sophisticated surgery. Your surgeon will recommend an option that aligns with your aesthetic goals and your unique facial features. The placement and length of incisions vary depending on the facelift technique that best suits you.
Minimal Facelift or ‘Lunchtime’ Lift
A minimal facelift technique where the recovery is quick, but the results last the least amount of time.
Mini Facelift or ‘S-Lift’
A facelift with a small amount of skin undermining with limited SMAS (superficial musculoaponeurotic system - the top layer connecting the facial muscles of the face) mobilization. A mini facelift is appropriate for younger facelift candidates. With this technique, the recovery is fast, and the results can last up to five years.
Full or Classic Facelift
Many types of operations fall into this class, such as SMAS platysma, SMAS-ectomy, SMAS imbrication, deep plane facelift, composite lift, or subperiosteal. These all require extensive rearrangement of the underlying facial tissues in addition to significant skin undermining. These techniques address more advanced facial aging. Full facelifts are technically demanding procedures that should only be completed by trained, board-certified aesthetic plastic surgeons. The recovery is longer (two to four weeks), but the results generally last over ten years.