What IS a Facelift?

A facelift is a procedure designed to lift the mid and lower face, as well as the neck, to turn back the clock on some of the effects of aging. The classic facelift involves an incision that typically begins along the hairline in the temple, follows the contours around the ear, then extends into the posterior scalp. The skin of the cheek, lower face and neck are freed up, then the deeper tissues beneath the skin can be lifted, and excess skin can be removed. The deep tissue lift is crucial, as this is what can create a sustainable lifting effect. If only the skin is lifted, results can be very short-lived, as skin will too easily stretch. The deep tissue is much less elastic, and lifting in this plane can provide results that can last many years.

There is also the option for a mini or modified facelift. This is a less extensive version of a facelift, and may be a good option for younger patients, such as the 45-60 age group. This will also depend on each patient’s anatomy. A candidate for a mini lift will have more minimal laxity in the neck, but the procedure still provides a modest neck lift, along with a nice lift of the jawline and cheek region. The mini or modified facelift also has a shorter operative time, recovery time, as well as a shorter incision and more minimal scar.

A mini lift procedure typically takes about 2 ½ hours to complete, while the full, classic facelift takes about 3 ½ hours. Frequently, patients will benefit from combining other procedures to a facelift, such as a brow lift and eyelid surgery, laser resurfacing, and volume restoration with fat transfer. We recommend taking time to recover, as your face will show swelling and/or bruising for generally two weeks. Recovery time will vary for everyone, but most people will be well-healed by 4 weeks. Some numbness in the cheek area is also common after a facelift, but steadily improves with time.

If you’re considering a facelift, we recommend coming in for a consult so we can discuss which options are right for you. The thing we hear most from patients coming in for a consult that are considering a facelift is “I look older than I feel” or “the person I see in the mirror or photos is not how I picture myself”. Patients want to look as young as they feel, and we can help with that. If you have more questions, please contact Dr. Wilke and the team at 952-925-1765.

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