What is a facelift?

Facelift markings on a female model.A facelift is a procedure designed to restore the youthfulness of the face. The effects of aging and gravity happen to everyone. By tightening skin and the underlying muscle layers, a face lift can take years off an aging face. It typically addresses the area beneath the lower eyelids down to the jawline. That’s it!

The real difficulty comes from how to achieve these results. This can vary extensively from surgeon to surgeon and with experience. It is important to discuss the goals of a facelift procedure ahead of time and understand the limitations and expectations. Dr. Panossian will frequently combine a facelift with other procedures including a brow lift, neck lift, eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty), chin implantation or laser resurfacing. How to combine and execute these procedures is different for every patient. Dr. Panossian is also a facial plastic surgeon with years of complex craniofacial surgical experience. 


How is a face lift performed?

There are several variations of a facelift. These can include regular facelift, short-scar technique, and mini facelift. The goal of each of these options is similar in the pursuit of a more youthful appearing face. However, the degree to which each of these options can remedy the facial aging can be quite different. Generally, the more severe the signs of aging, the longer the scar will be and the closer it will approximate a traditional facelift. A well-done facelift can take 10 or more years off of an aging face, and the results are usually permanent. Your consultation with Dr. Panossian will highlight the differences between the various styles of facelift procedure and provide the best option for you. Depending on the option that is best suited to you and how many additional procedures are done, surgery can take between 3 and 6 hours.

What is the recovery?

There is little in the way of bandages following a facelift by Dr. Panossian. He will prescribe you prescriptions for antibiotics and pain medication as needed. A small thin drain tube may sometimes be used along the incision behind the ear to remove excess fluid that might accumulate under the skin. This tube is typically removed the day after surgery, and the dressings will also be changed. Recovery may sometimes take longer when combined with additional procedures such as those mentioned above. There is an option for overnight monitoring either at home with a traveling nurse or in a post-surgical facility. This is an option if you are undergoing more extensive procedures simultaneously. 

Swelling typically improves over 1 to 2 weeks. Bruising is not always present, but it will also improve during the same time period. During the first 4 to 6 weeks, activity is restricted to light walking and stationary activities. Heavy lifting, contact sports, aerobic exercises, and sex are to be avoided during this time. Most patients elect to take 7-14 days off from work. During this time, make up can be used to mask any bruising.

What are the risks and complications?

Facelift complications are relatively rare when performed by a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon. However, individuals may vary substantially in terms of health status and genetic predisposition, potentially making them more susceptible to unfavorable results.

These complications can include hematoma (blood collection under the skin), injury to the facial nerve, infection, and adverse reaction to anesthesia. Smokers and individuals with uncontrolled diabetes sometimes demonstrate issues with poor wound healing.

To minimize your risk, pay close attention to Dr. Panossian’s instructions before and after surgery. Dr. Panossian’s staff is available at all times to clarify any pre- or postoperative instructions that you are given. Please refer to the Pre- and Postoperative General Instructions for further details.

Patient Example: This woman underwent total facial rejuvenation that included a facelift, neck lift, upper and lower eyelid lift, and brow lift. The result is a proportionately youthful appearance. The facial thirds are addressed comprehensively with an excellent, balanced long-term result. Move the slider to see the Before & After.