Facelift

What is a Facelift? How is it done?

A facelift, technically known as a cervicofacial rhytidectomy, is an in-office cosmetic surgical procedure, designed to target many of these changes, particularly in the neck, jowls and cheeks. A properly performed facelift, redefines a youthful jawline, eliminates sagging jowls and cheeks, reduces the harsh lines in the face and restores the neck contour by tightening and elevating the skin there taking away any age-related sagging.

Incisions are made around the perimeter of the ear and just under the chin. The skin is lifted up from the tissues beneath. The SMAS, a layer of tissue under the skin covering the muscles of expression and other structures in the face and neck, is then elevated and pulled up and back towards the ears and reattached in this new position. This SMAS adjustment corrects the cheeks, jowls, restores the jaw line, and tightens the neck skin. The excess skin around the ear is removed and a newly formed perimeter of skin is reattached to the ear. If there are vertical bands in the neck or fat, these addressed at the same time and considered an integral part of the facelift procedure.

Our incisions are strategically placed in the hairline, around the ear, and under the chin, so as to be virtually undetectable when they heal. As the tension of the lift is on the SMAS underneath the skin and not on the skin itself, the final result is a natural, rejuvenated look, not the ‘wind tunnel’ appearance characteristic of facelifts done years ago.

Can Other Procedures Be Done at the Same Time as a Facelift?

For many of our patients, we simultaneously harvest fat a small from the abdomen, thighs or other areas using mini liposuction and then inject that fat into key areas of the face that have lost volume over time such as the cheeks, temples, around the eyes and mouth.

Quite frequently, along with a facelift we can remove excess skin from the upper eyelids (upper blepharoplasty), reduce lower eyelid bags (lower blepharoplasty), lift the eyebrows, resurface parts of the face with our CO2 laser and/or perform a chin implant for those who have a deficiency there.

Facelift incisions around the perimeter of the ear
Facelift incisions around the perimeter of the ear

What Anesthesia is Used?

We perform our facelifts under local anesthesia with MAC sedation, very similar to that of a colonoscopy. While we do not use general anesthesia, our patients are completely asleep and feel absolutely nothing during the procedure awakening only when we’re done with no memory at all of the surgery.

This combination of MAC sedation and local anesthesia is overall ‘lighter’ and hence safer than general anesthesia with substantially less postoperative nausea and vomiting (as much as 40% less).

Face Lift Before
Face Lift Before
Face Lift After
Face Lift After

What Happens After the Surgery? Is There any Pain?

For the first 18 or so hours after surgery, we place our patients in a bulky dressing to reduce any immediate postoperative bruising and swelling. At the time of the first visit, the day after surgery, we remove the bulky dressing replacing it with a washable, removable, lightweight, facelift garment to be worn at nighttime. The incisions require no special care after surgery.  Most of our patients can shower and shampoo their hair on the first or second postoperative day.

Our patients have very little pain afterwards and rarely require more than one of the pain pills we prescribe. Most can return to very light daily activities the day after surgery.  Numbness of the cheeks in front of the ear and tightness in the face in general are quite normal and subside quickly.

Our facelifts are outpatient procedures. Following the surgery and after a short stay in our recovery room, our facelift patients are discharged directly home, accompanied by a responsible adult. As with all our major procedures requiring intravenous sedation, we require someone to pick you up after surgery and stay with you for the first night. For those who have no one to help them for the first night following surgery, or for those who prefer it, we can arrange an overnight stay in a nearby convalescent facility.

What is the Downtime Following a Facelift?

We remove all sutures and staples seven to ten days after the procedure. For most patients, any significant swelling has largely disappeared by that time. Almost all of our patients are quite presentable prior to suture removal, usually by the sixth or seventh postoperative day, and can resume more normal activities by then. If it occurs, bruising is usually minimal and rapidly descends into the lower neck where is can be easily covered up by a high collar.

Depending on what type of work you do, you should plan to take at least a week off to heal after facelift surgery.

When Do I See the Doctor after Surgery?

We see all our facelift patients on first day after surgery. At that time, we remove the bulky dressing and any drains placed, redress the incisions, and replace the dressing with a comfortable, lightweight, removable facelift garment. Usually no subsequent visits are required prior to removing the sutures and staples beginning on the seventh postoperative day. After removing the staples and sutures, the next visit is in two to three weeks after surgery.

When Will I See the Results of the Surgery? Are the Scars Noticeable?

Our goal is to restore your face to the way you looked you ten or so years before. We do not want to change your appearance, just refresh and rejuvenate it. After our facelifts, we never see the ‘windswept’ look characteristic facelifts of the seventies, as the tension of the lift is on the tissues beneath the skin, and not the skin itself.
You will start to see the results of the facelift within a week. How you look a month or two after surgery is how you will look for the next five to ten years depending on your personal habits and heredity. It should be noted that no cosmetic surgeon can guarantee how long the beneficial effect of surgery will last.
A truly accomplished and experienced surgeon leaves scars that are virtually undetectable and after years of performing facelift surgery, Dr. Fisher’s scars fall into that category.

Face Lift Before
Face Lift Before
Face Lift After
Face Lift After

How Long Will the Beneficial Results of a Facelift Last?

Our goal is to restore your face to the way you looked you ten or so years before. We do not want to change your appearance, just refresh and rejuvenate it, giving you a natural unoperated look.
You will start to see the results of the facelift within a week. How you look a month or two after surgery is how you will look for the next five to ten years depending on your personal habits and heredity. It should be noted that no surgeon can guarantee how long the beneficial effect of this surgery will last.

Face Lift Side
Face Lift Side
Face Lift Side
Face Lift Side

Are There any Risks or Complications of Facelift Surgery?

There are risks and complications associated with any surgery. However, when our simple instructions are followed, they are fortunately few and far between. Very rarely, bleeding in the operated area can occur immediately following surgery requiring us to reopen some of the incisions to stop it. Infection is possible, but to date – we have not seen this is any of our patients. Loss of skin behind or in front of the ear is also possible, but our technique makes this highly improbable. Damage to a branch of the facial nerve controlling certain facial muscles of expression can happen, but this is very rare and almost always resolves.

Our overall safety record to date is impeccable and our complication rate is exceedingly low.

Face Lift Before
Face Lift Before
Face Lift After
Face Lift After

What is a “Mini” Facelift?

People vary greatly in how they age and what they need to rejuvenate their faces. Sometimes, if there is not a great deal to do to improve the neck, we can utilize a smaller procedure commonly known as a ‘Mini-lift’. The difference between this and full facelift is the extent we have to go behind the ear to tighten the neck skin and extent we undermine the skin of the cheeks and neck. In a ‘mini-lift’, we generally do not go behind the ear very far, nor undermine the skin of the neck. Both mini-lifts and full facelift address the cheeks and jowls in the same manner just to a different degree. Recovery time with the ‘mini-lift’ is slightly less than a full facelift. Whenever possible we opt for a less extensive surgical procedure, however, in our experience, most people we see require a full facelift to get the results they want.

Face Lift Before
Face Lift Before
Face Lift After
Face Lift After

If I am Interested in a Facelift, What do I do next?

Give us a call at 480 372 5604 to schedule a consultation with the doctor or fill out the form below and we will contact you.