Time, gravity, environmental toxins, and the sun’s rays take a toll on facial skin. The face begins to show deep creases around the mouth, loose skin in the cheeks and neck, and fat pockets that don’t go away with diet or exercise. Fortunately, a single facelift can treat all of these conditions. In fact, a facelift can dramatically improve the appearance of aging skin.


The medical term for a facelift is a rhytidectomy, which means wrinkle (rhytid) removal surgery (ectomy). A facelift is an excellent description of the procedure, however, because one of the main features of a facelift is to raise or lift the lower portions of the face. Excess skin and fat are removed to leave firmer, smoother, younger looking skin.


A facelift is best suited for conditions affecting the cheeks, the chin, and the neck.

A facelift is an excellent choice for people who want to reduce or eliminate:

  • Sagging skin in the face
  • Excess skin in the cheeks (jowls)
  • Excess and sagging skin in the chin and neck (double chin, turkey neck)
  • Deep creases under the eyes
  • Deep creases that form between the nose and the corner of the mouth (nasolabial folds)

Importantly, a facelift is not intended to treat conditions that affect the eyelids, eyebrows, the nose, and the forehead. Specific, additional procedures may be needed to treat these areas. For example, a browlift can treat the forehead and eyebrows, or a rhinoplasty can treat issues affecting the shape of the nose.


Facelifts may be performed under general anesthesia (you are unconscious) or under local anesthesia with sedation (you are conscious but sleepy and relaxed). You facial plastic surgeon will carefully make incisions along natural borders, such as the hairline or near the ears. Excess tissue (fat and skin) will be removed, but not so much that the skin appears overly stretched or unnatural. Once unwanted tissue is removed, your facial plastic surgeon will use fine sutures and/or tissue glue to return close the incision. Since the incision was made in a natural skin border, the scar will be minimal and hidden.


Most modern facelifts are done as outpatient procedures. This means a hospital stay is usually not required. However, patients will not be able to drive after the facelift procedure, so someone will need to escort you home.

The day after the facelift, you will return to Nuance Aesthetics & Plastic Surgery so that your facial plastic surgeon can examine the results. If there were drainage tubes places during the procedure, they will be removed at this time. You will also return a week later for another exam and so that any sutures placed during the procedure can be removed.

It is normal for patients to experience some mild swelling, bruising, and skin tightness as the face heals. Pain medications will be prescribed to minimize discomfort. Most people fully recover from a facelift within six weeks (and many recover more quickly than that).