Facelift Before and After: What To Expect

Woman holding her neck and smiling (MODEL)

When preparing for a facelift, you will have many questions about the procedure, recovery, and results. The term “facelift” is often associated with a wind-tunnel appearance and artificial-looking results. But most men and women seek subtle changes and improvements to facial aging. If you are wondering how to get natural-looking results from your facelift, minimize facelift scars, and more, this post will act as a guide to your facelift procedure.

As a plastic surgeon, I understand your concerns and can put your mind to rest by providing plenty of information about how a facelift works and what you can expect before and after the surgery.

Am I a Good Candidate for a Facelift?

The first step in planning your facelift is to meet with your plastic surgeon to find out if the procedure is suitable for you. In general, you are a good candidate for a facelift if you are in good health and want to improve the signs of facial aging, such as jowls and skin laxity. A good facelift candidate also has realistic expectations about the procedure—it is an excellent tool to reset your appearance, but it cannot completely stop your face from aging in the future.

If your plastic surgeon agrees you are a good candidate for a facelift, they will develop a treatment plan to address your unique concerns. They will also provide you with instructions for preparing for the surgery and outline what you can expect before, during, and after your procedure.

How Does a Facelift Work?

The goal of a facelift is to help you look like a younger version of yourself. Showing your surgeon photos of yourself from 10 to 15 years ago can support this goal.

During the surgery, your plastic surgeon will make an incision, usually starting at your hairline and moving down and around the front of the ears. They will then remove excess facial skin and tighten lax or weakened facial muscles and tissue to create a more youthful appearance.

Your facelift may take around 3 to 6 hours, and you’ll be under general anesthesia throughout the surgery. You will need someone to drive you home after the procedure and assist you at home during the first few days.

Different Types of Facelifts

Mini Facelift

I often refer to this as a “maintenance” facelift and use it for younger patients to tighten internal ligaments and minimize future aging. This procedure usually requires a shorter incision, which means faster recovery and less swelling. You will see subtle and natural-looking results after your mini facelift.

Traditional Facelift

A traditional or “rejuvenation” facelift is for anyone who wants to lift and rejuvenate their mid and lower face. This procedure can improve sagging cheeks, jowls, and neck, as well as deep facial folds. Your plastic surgeon will create a longer incision in your hairline behind the ears and a shorter incision beneath your chin if needed.

In addition to maintenance and rejuvenation facelifts, I can customize your facial rejuvenation procedure to specifically address your concerns, whether with a mid-face lift, a lower facelift, a neck lift, or a temporal lift.

What Is the Recovery Process for a Facelift?

You will experience some swelling and tightness after your procedure, depending on the type of facelift you have. Your plastic surgeon will advise you on which pain medications to take and how to care for your incisions. Make sure to get ample rest with your head elevated during the first few days.

You can also apply a cool pack to the face to ease discomfort and reduce swelling. Most swelling and bruising subside in about 2 weeks, but you should be ready to resume your normal routine in about a week.

How Soon Can I See My Facelift Results?

Your face will look more lifted and refreshed around the 2-week mark after your procedure. Don’t be discouraged if your face doesn’t look quite as you imagined it at first; initial swelling and bruising can obscure your appearance. Just make sure to focus on recovery during this time and carefully follow your plastic surgeon’s recommendations.

You will see the full results of your facelift after about 4 to 6 weeks, although some residual swelling may take a few months to resolve fully.

Will I Have Noticeable Facelift Scars?

Scarring after a facelift is inevitable, but you can minimize its appearance with proper skin care and sun protection. Plastic surgeons are careful to make facelift incisions in easily concealed locations, so most people will not be able to tell you’ve had surgery once your facelift scars have faded.

Other Procedures You Can Combine With a Facelift

A facelift mainly focuses on the mid to lower part of the face and doesn’t address aging signs around the brow or eyelids. If you’re concerned about the area around your eyes, consider pairing your facelift with eyelid surgery to improve sagging upper and lower eyelids. Refreshing the area around your eyes can show off your facelift results to their best advantage.

Other procedures commonly combined with a facelift include a neck lift, brow lift, or facial laser liposuction.

A facelift is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and you can customize elements of your procedure to get the desired results. Men and women who come to our practice for a facelift love their results! If you feel that you are a good candidate for a facelift, request a consultation or call us at (208) 881-5351 to schedule an appointment.

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