Facelift Questions

Q – What is a facelift?
A facelift, also known as rhytidectomy, is a procedure designed to restore a more youthful appearance by improving major wrinkles and sagging skin. During surgery, excess skin is removed and the muscles of the face and neck are tightened. The facelift improves both the facial appearance as well as the neck contour and profile. The surgery may be combined with other procedure for an overall facial rejuvenation, including eyelid surgery, forehead lift, liposuction, and/or chin augmentation.

Q – How do I know if I’m a good candidate for a facelift?
You may be a good candidate for a facelift if you are healthy and are looking to improve wrinkles and sagging skin of the face and neck.

Q – What happens during a consultation for a facelift?
During a consultation for a facelift, we will evaluate your medical history and the surgeons at the Abergel Institute will discuss with you how the surgery can help to improve your appearance. You will also be able to view before and after photographs of our patients. Once you decide to move forward with the surgery, you will be given preoperative instructions.

Q – Where is the facelift procedure performed?
The facelift surgery is often performed in an accredited physician’s office-based facility or in an outpatient surgery center.

Q – What form of anesthesia is the facelift performed with?
The facelift is commonly performed with local anesthesia with intravenous sedation, along with premedication to help you relax. In some cases, general anesthesia may be used.

Q – How is the facelift performed?
For the facelift, incisions are made inside of the hairline at the temple and running in front of and behind the ear back into the scalp. Sagging muscles and connective tissues are then tightened. Excess skin is removed and, if necessary, fatty deposits beneath the chin may be removed as well. The incisions are then closed with small sutures and a large dressing is applied to the head. In some cases, surgical drains may be used.

Q – How long is the surgery for a facelift?
The facelift may take up to five hours to complete.

Q – Can I drive myself home after my facelift?
Patients will not be able to drive themselves home after the facelift and will need to arrange for a ride home.

Q – Will I need to have someone stay with me after my facelift?
You should have someone stay with you for the first twenty-four hours after your facelift surgery.

Q – Where are the incisions made for a facelift?
The incisions for the facelift begin at the temple inside of the hairline. They then extend in front of and around the ear, ending in the scalp behind the ear.

Q – Will the facelift leave scars?
While the incisions made for the facelift do result in scars, they tend to be well-concealed within the hairline and skin creases and they will fade with time.

Q – Will I experience much pain after my facelift surgery?
Pain is generally not significant after the facelift. Patients may, however, experience a sensation of tightness in the face.

Q – What can I expect of the recovery after a facelift?
Dressings and surgical drains applied after surgery are removed within about twenty-four hours. Swelling and discoloration may occur but will fade within about two weeks. Patients may experience a tightness in the face for several weeks, along with some numbness in the facial skin and the area around the ear. Pain is generally minimal. Some slight changes in the hair pattern around the incision may occur. The stitches at the ear may be loosened or removed within a few days, though it will be seven to ten days before the scalp stitches are removed. Patients should avoid sun exposure for several weeks. The final results of the facelift may not be apparent for up to six months as the healing process is a gradual one.

Q – When can I return to work after undergoing a facelift?
Patients may be able to return to work within seven to ten days after the facelift.

Q – When will my stitches be removed after my facelift?
Within a few days of the facelift, the stitches around the ears may be loosened or removed. The stitches around the scalp will be removed within seven to ten days. In order to minimize scarring, the sutures may be removed in stages.

Q – What are the risks of facelift surgery?
Complications after the facelift are generally rare. However, there are risks and these may include bleeding, infection, loss of skin behind the ears, facial nerve injury, discoloration of the skin, numbness, asymmetry and scarring. Infection is usually rare and the risk of bleeding can be reduced by avoiding aspirin or blood thinners for two weeks before surgery. There may be an increased risk of wound complications for diabetics, persons with a history of radiation, autoimmune and collagen disease, and smokers. Closely following pre- and post-operative instructions can help to minimize the potential risks.

Q – Is the facelift covered by insurance?
When surgeries are performed for medical reasons, such as excessive hooding of the upper eyelids, impaired vision, and breast reduction, insurance may cover part of the cost of the procedure. The facelift is typically not covered by insurance. We will assist you in checking with your insurance carrier.

Q – How long do the results of a facelift last?
The duration of results for the facelift will vary. Most patients achieve their desired results and are happy with a single procedure. However, you will continue to age. As such, the procedure can be repeated in the future if necessary.

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