Aging brings with it a slew of changes to your body—face included. The formation of wrinkles, loss of volume, and sagging of your cheeks are all a part of the facial aging process.

However, cosmetic surgery is here to help. From non-invasive serums to minimally invasive injections, the world of plastic surgery has something to offer every patient looking to tackle the signs of aging.

Facelifts are a type of cosmetic surgery that results in significant changes to your face, giving you a more youthful appearance. Thinking about getting a facelift? Read on to learn about the different types, including if you're the right candidate for this popular cosmetic procedure.

What is a Facelift?

One of the top five most popular cosmetic surgery procedures performed each year in the US, facelifts can tighten the skin on your face, removing wrinkles and sculpting your overall look by repositioning facial fat, skin, and muscle.

During a standard facelift, the skin and its underlying tissues and fat are elevated. The fat in your face is either sculpted or removed and placed elsewhere in the face to plump it up to its former youthful self. Facial skin might be re-draped over the newly-repositioned facial contours or, depending on how much there is, could be removed altogether.

What are the Different Types of Facelifts?

There are three types of facelifts that your plastic surgeon may recommend to you:

  • Traditional Facelift
    In this procedure, the incision is done at the hairline and around the front of the ears. The incision will end at the lower scalp. There might also need to be an incision under the chin to make changes to the neck area to tighten loose skin. The lift is done by pulling the skin upward and elevating it toward the ears and the back of the head in this process.
  • Limited Incision Facelift
    When this process is used to lift the face, a shorter incision is made that begins at the hairline above the ear. The incision will then wrap around the front of the ear but will not extend down into the neck area. This is a more minimal procedure in most cases and is done to address forehead wrinkles as well as wrinkles on the side of the face and skin sagging.
  • Neck Lift
    During a neck lift, the incision is made in front of the earlobe. It extends to the lower scalp, and a smaller incision is usually made under the chin. The goal of this procedure is to attend to sagging and wrinkled skin under the chin and on the neck. The most common reason that people choose this procedure is to remove "jowls", or hanging skin under the chin.

Is a Facelift Right for You?

Facelifts are a good option for those who are physically healthy without any existing medical conditions. You will also be a better candidate if you:

  • Don't smoke
  • Mentally healthy
  • Understand the limitations of this kind of surgery
  • Have realistic cosmetic goals

Discussing the goals of your facelift procedure with your board-certified plastic surgeon is an essential part of the process.

While facelifts have a fairly minimal recovery period, they are considered cosmetic surgery with permanent results that are not easy to alter or correct—without further surgery—if you do not like the final outcome.

What to Expect During a Facelift Procedure

A board-certified plastic surgeon who has experience performing facelifts can accurately determine if a facelift is right for you based on your:

  • Signs of aging and areas of rejuvenation
  • Overall health
  • Use of medications
  • Mental health
  • Expectations of final results and changes to your facial features

During your facelift, your surgeon will make incisions at the hairline on your temple all the way down to behind your ears. Depending on the changes, your facelift can take anywhere from two hours to six hours.

Post-surgery, bruising and swelling of your face are expected for up to three weeks. After that, you will require multiple check-in sessions with your plastic surgeon to see how your healing and results are progressing.

Facelifts are Safe When Performed by a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon

People with sagging skin around the eyes or under the chin are always motivated to seek resolution for this issue so that they can feel youthful and happy with their appearance again.

In general, facelifts, when performed by a trained plastic surgeon, have a reasonably minimal recovery time.

However, after a facelift, some patients may experience the following side effects:

  • Formation of a hematoma (pocket of blood) under the skin that requires surgical drainage
  • Damage to nerves in your face
  • Numbness to your face

Choosing the right plastic surgeon is important as poor cosmetic results frequently require additional surgery to correct. While most patients are happy with the outcomes of plastic surgery, some may require more surgery to correct:

  • Unpleasant scarring
  • Uneven face
  • Irregular contours
  • Visible sutures
  • Formation of seromas

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