While the skin remains full and smooth throughout childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood, it can begin to loosen and sag with age as collagen production declines. As we get older, fatty tissue in the face can redistribute and alter your facial contours, resulting in folds along the chin, jawline, and neck. Facelift surgery can be a highly effective method of smoothing jowls and improving your entire facial appearance. The procedure has the potential to achieve very dramatic results, often making a patient look five to ten years younger.
- What is a Facelift?
- Facelift Benefits
- Facelift Candidates
- Facelift Timing
- Facelift Procedure
- Facelift Recovery
- Facelift Results
- Facelift Scars
- Facelift Cost
- Facelift Plus Neck Lift
- Non-Surgical Facelift
What is a Facelift?
A facelift is performed to improve or minimize signs of aging in the lower face and neck, such as wrinkles, facial folds, and jowls. These concerns are caused by a combination of aging, genetics, and sun exposure, leading to a loss of skin and muscle tone. Facelift surgery performed by board-certified plastic surgeon John Ayala, MD is designed to tighten the underlying muscles and structures of the face, redrape sagging skin, and remove/reposition descended fat. This procedure is most successful addressing signs of age in the lower face, but other treatment options like a brow lift or eyelid surgery can be added to your treatment plan to refresh the upper face as well.
What Can a Facelift Do for Me?
Facelift surgery can address changes in your facial appearance caused by the aging process. This is the only facial plastic surgery procedure designed to comprehensively treat the skin, fat, and musculature of the lower face and neck. With a facelift, good candidates for surgery can improve:
- Loose skin
- Marionette lines
- Nasolabial folds
- A “turkey neck”
While some plastic surgeons perform a facelift by simply redraping loose skin, Dr. Ayala tailors each facelift surgery to a patient’s unique needs and treats both the skin and underlying tissues. This helps avoid a pulled, tight, or “frozen” appearance and allows Dr. Ayala to achieve harmonious, natural-looking results.
Is a Facelift Right for Me?
If you notice signs of premature facial aging or you simply don’t feel like yourself due to aging skin, a facelift can be a solution to help you look and feel more refreshed. This procedure is most successful when performed on patients who are looking for long-term results and who don’t mind undergoing a recovery period after surgery. In addition, men and women interested in a facelift should be:
- Healthy with no uncontrolled medical conditions
- Realistic about the potential outcome
- A non-smoker, or willing to quit smoking before and after their procedure
- Able to maintain a positive outlook on surgery
Dr. Ayala will meet with you in a consultation and ask about your goals, medical history, and hopes for the final results. If a facelift is the right procedure for your needs, Dr. Ayala will answer questions about the benefits, risks, and limitations of surgery to give you a full understanding of what you can expect during the process. If you decide to continue, he will create a customized treatment plan designed to achieve your aesthetic goals. Our practice also offers other facial rejuvenation options, such as fat transfer injections and non-surgical laser skin resurfacing, that may be more ideal solutions depending on your concerns.
When’s the Best Age for a Facelift?
Despite myths that there’s an ideal age to undergo the facelift procedure, a “best” age to pursue surgery does not exist. While most patients who consider a facelift are between the ages of 30 and 70, candidacy is more determined by whether you have visible signs of aging — such as loose skin, deep creases, jowls, and sagging cheeks — than by your actual age. This is due to differences in each person’s lifestyle, genetics, and skin quality, which all affect the rate at which you begin to show noticeable facial aging. For this reason, a patient in their thirties may benefit from a facelift while someone in their fifties may still have good skin tone. Ultimately, each person is assessed for a facelift individually based on details unique to their situation. Dr. Ayala will be able to help determine whether your concerns could be effectively resolved with a facelift during your consultation.
How is the Facelift Procedure Performed?
A facelift is performed at our accredited surgical facility under general anesthesia. Dr. Ayala begins by hiding incisions within the hairline and along the natural curves around the earlobe and behind the ear. He will then remove redundant skin and tighten descended musculature and connective tissues, refreshing your appearance while avoiding an unnatural or overdone look. If necessary, fatty deposits under the chin will be removed to improve your facial profile. The skin is redraped and incisions are closed with tiny sutures. This is typically an outpatient procedure, meaning you will be able to return home on the same day as your procedure with the help of a loved one.
What Can I Expect From Facelift Recovery?
Swelling and potential bruising is normal after surgery and may last for the next several weeks. Certain areas, such as the incision site and the region around the ear, may also feel numb or look temporarily discolored during the healing process. Most patients are able to return to work after one week and fully resume their normal routines within two to three weeks. Strenuous exercise should be avoided for at least one month, and Dr. Ayala will give you more detailed instructions on activity restrictions when he meets you in person.
How Long Do Facelift Results Last?
A facelift does not stop you from aging, but it can make you look more youthful for at least 10 to 15 years—many patients experience even more enduring results. While the aging process will continue, you will generally always look younger than you would have if you never pursued surgery. You can help maintain the longevity of your results by applying sun protection daily, refraining from smoking, committing to a healthy diet, and using medical-grade skincare products. These measures can preserve the health and elasticity of your skin for a long-lasting outcome.
Will I Have Noticeable Facelift Scars?
With Dr. Ayala’s discreet and meticulous incision placement, visible scarring after a facelift should be minimal (if present at all). Incisions are typically hidden within the hairline and along the natural curves of the ears, allowing any post-surgical scars to be virtually undetectable. If laxity in the neck is being addressed, neck lift incisions are often placed along a natural contour under the chin.
Dr. Ayala will instruct you on optimal wound care after your procedure, as the likelihood of your scars fading and lightening over time is usually higher when your incisions heal properly. Simple steps patients can take to minimize surgical scars include:
- Keeping incisions hydrated during the healing process and closely following Dr. Ayala’s post-operative instructions
- Applying sun protection once incisions are fully healed
- Using high-quality scar lightening creams and skincare products
In most cases, patients do not experience noticeable or conspicuous scarring after a facelift. If you wish to see examples of what the potential results of facelift surgery could look like, Dr. Ayala would be happy to show you before-and-after photos of previous facelift patients during your consultation.
How Much Does a Facelift Cost?
The cost of a facelift typically ranges from $8,500 to $10,500 depending on factors unique to your procedure, such as the extent of your concerns and the surgical technique used (this does not include hospital and anesthesia fees). A facelift is not typically covered by insurance companies, but Ayala Plastic Surgery does accept plastic surgery financing from reputable third-party providers such as CareCredit®. If you prefer to pay for your facelift in smaller installments, CareCredit® offers qualified patients their choice of payment plan to accommodate virtually any budget. We will be able to provide you with a cost estimate after your consultation with Dr. Ayala, so please don’t hesitate to book an appointment or contact our practice for more information about your payment options.
Does a Facelift Include a Neck Lift?
Signs of aging tend to appear on the neck in conjunction with the face, so many patients inquire about whether facelift surgery includes a neck lift as well. In general, the neck can be treated at the same time as a facelift if you exhibit loose, sagging skin or platysmal bands. This usually depends on your goals, the extent of skin laxity observed, and whether a separate neck lift is necessary to fully resolve your concerns. Dr. Ayala will evaluate your neck and facial profile to help you determine whether neck lift surgery can be incorporated into your treatment plan.
Other options to smooth and rejuvenate the neck include our non-surgical med spa treatments, which can help correct mild skin laxity and address minor signs of aging in the neck. Treatments like laser skin resurfacing or Secret™ RF microneedling can be less invasive ways to regain healthier-looking skin and attain a more youthful appearance in the neck.
Is a Non-Surgical Facelift Possible?
Since facelift surgery is designed to surgically repair descended skin, fat, and musculature, there is currently no non-surgical treatment that can provide the same quality of results as a facelift. This procedure is often considered the “gold standard” of facial rejuvenation due to its ability to drastically reduce signs of aging. While a minimally invasive alternative will not be as effective as a surgical facelift, certain med spa treatments like laser skin resurfacing and injectable dermal fillers can still be pursued to improve your facial appearance.
With laser skin resurfacing, patients can rejuvenate the tone and texture of their complexion while addressing common skin conditions such as acne scarring, age spots, hyperpigmentation, and sun damage, among other aesthetic concerns. This in-office treatment can also provide mild skin tightening benefits without extensive downtime.
For patients who lack fullness in their features, our practice also offers fillers like JUVÉDERM VOLUMA XC® and Restylane® to enhance the facial contours. These hyaluronic acid-based injectables can not only restore volume, but they are also designed to smooth creases in the lower face such as nasolabial folds and marionette lines. Due to their many facial rejuvenation benefits, these fillers are often strategically combined in a treatment plan known as a “liquid facelift.” While the results achieved are only temporary, dermal fillers can still be an excellent non-surgical solution to erase telltale signs of facial aging.
Questions? Our plastic surgeon offers an array of facial rejuvenation options to help you look more youthful and refreshed. To learn more, please contact Ayala Plastic Surgery to schedule a consultation.