A facelift is an elective surgical procedure that can improve signs of aging on your face and neck. Many men and women have facelift surgery to feel and look younger and boost their confidence and self-esteem. Continue reading to learn more about how a facelift works, what it can do, and what happens during this widely used cosmetic procedure.

What Is a Facelift?

Also known as a rhytidectomy, a facelift is a cosmetic procedure that focuses on improving signs of aging all over the face and neck. This procedure is usually performed by cosmetic and plastic surgeons who specialize in anti-aging and rejuvenation treatments for the face and body.

Facelift surgery often requires careful and advanced preparation, as it involves anesthesia and is usually performed in an accredited surgery center or hospital. The primary goal of facelift surgery is to help you feel and look younger, and improve how you feel about your appearance.

What Can a Facelift Do?

A facelift can tighten loose, sagging skin that may have become relaxed over several years as part of the natural aging process. It can also minimize the effects of non-aging factors on the skin related to excess sun exposure, stress, and rapid weight loss that occurred within a short period.

A facelift has the ability to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and deep folds, including around your nose, mouth, and forehead. It can also minimize loose jowls around the cheeks, chin, and jaw, and remove loose pockets of skin in your neck that may be contributing to a double chin.

A facelift cannot halt the aging process completely, and it will not likely alter your fundamental appearance. When having this surgery, it’s important to have realistic expectations about what a facelift can and cannot do. Before a facelift, your plastic or cosmetic surgeon will have a detailed conversation with you regarding what a facelift can specifically do for your appearance, and may even recommend combining this procedure with eyelid surgery or brow lift surgery to help you meet your unique aesthetic goals.

What Happens During Facelift Surgery?

First, your surgeon will give you a sedative or general anesthesia so you can sleep and relax for the duration of your procedure. Then, your surgeon will make one or more incisions on your face in the areas being treated.

For example, if you are having excess skin tightened or trimmed, your surgeon may make a series of incisions in your hairline at the temples so your skin can be gently pulled and tightened. If you are having a facelift to improve the appearance of your chin and neck, an incision may be made under your chin to allow for the gentle pulling and tightening of the skin.

During a facelift, your surgeon may use a series of different tools and techniques to help you achieve your desired appearance. This may involve removing, repositioning, or resculpting small pockets of fat, skin, or underlying facial tissue. Your surgeon may also incorporate other facial rejuvenation procedures into your facelift, such as liposuction.

At the end of your facelift, your surgeon will close your incisions using tiny sutures that will either dissolve after a few days or require you to return to the surgery center later on to have them removed. Over the following days and weeks, your skin will gradually heal to result in a younger, rejuvenated appearance.

What Is Recovery Like for Facelift Surgery?

Recovery from a facelift usually lasts for several weeks, as it is major surgery. Your surgeon may provide you with a supply of bandages to accelerate healing and protect your incisions, along with pain medications that can help you feel more comfortable during your recovery.

You may experience swelling, bruising, and discomfort for the first several hours and days after your facelift, which is entirely normal. Your surgeon will provide you with a list of care instructions and steps you can take to ensure your incisions heal properly. You may also be asked to avoid wearing makeup and exposing your skin to direct sunlight, as these factors may compromise your results.

Who Are Ideal Candidates for a Facelift?

Ideal candidates for facelift surgery are men and women in good overall health without medical conditions that could delay or impair healing. Candidates should also be non-smokers and have realistic expectations about what a facelift can and cannot do for their appearance.

If you’re not sure whether you’re an ideal candidate for a facelift, meet with a plastic or cosmetic surgeon for a consultation. A surgeon can evaluate your appearance and talk to you about your available facial rejuvenation options. In some instances, your surgeon may even recommend one or more other procedures that can help you achieve your aesthetic goals and reduce signs of aging on your face and neck.