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Facelift Overview: Is a Facelift Right for You?


Set Back the Clock with a Facelift

The term “facelift” is a general name used to refer to surgery to rejuvenate the lower face and neck area. By lifting and tightening these tissues, it can make you feel younger and enhance your self-confidence. While a facelift cannot stop the aging process, it can restore the youthful contours of your face.

A facelift improves the visible signs of aging in the face and neck by:

  • Tightening the skin along the jawline
  • Softening the crease between the nose and corner of the mouth
  • Lifting the fat that has fallen or replacing that which has disappeared
  • Removing the skin or excess fat from the neck known as a “double chin” or “turkey neck”
  • Suctioning out the fat that forms into jowls

These changes are due to a variety of factors including thinning of the skin, shifting or loss of facial fat, gravity, sun damage, smoking, as well as heredity and stress.

Because a facelift must be combined with other surgeries like a brow lift or eyelid surgery to complete a  facial rejuvenation, the term facelift is a bit of a misnomer. The surgery doesn’t actually lift your face. The operation is really designed to improve the jowls and neckline—really the lower part of the face.

It’s important to realize that improving any of the above concerns can only be achieved surgically. While nonsurgical rejuvenation treatments, such as dermabrasion, radiofrequency, microneedling, peels, or laser resurfacing can complement the results of a facelift, they cannot significantly change the contours of the face.

Common Concerns

Facial rejuvenation is a very personal surgery. Whenever surgeons work on the face, they take special care to give patients results that look natural, and to make incisions that strategically hide the scars.

Many patients who come in for a facelift consults are understandably concerned about “looking fake” or appearing as if they have had “work done.” Partly for this reason, Dr. Sigal, one of the board-certified plastic surgeons at Austin-Weston, recommends taking a conservative approach to facial rejuvenation. If your skin is tight, but you have noticed your cheeks look hollow or sunken in—due to weight loss, for example—fat transfer using a liposuction technique may give you the shape you desire.

Typically, once individuals reach their mid-40s, liposuction won’t be enough to turn back the clock. At this point, the elasticity of the skin becomes marginal and it may be time to talk about a facelift to pull the skin back. Your surgeon will be happy to discuss what will work best for you during your consult.

What to Expect

In most cases, the surgeons at Austin-Weston prefer to make facelift incisions starting in the temporal hairline, continuing down the crease running along the side of the face, and finishing around the ear. After making the incision, your doctor will carefully elevate the skin and lift the deeper tissues. Getting rid of fat or adding fat along the jawline and neck area will go along way toward giving you the shape you desire.

For some, an incision under the chin may be necessary to further improve an aging or sagging neck, but many times our highly skilled surgeons can get to this lower tissue from the ear incision, which creates optimal results for most patients.

With an experienced surgeon, the scarring left after a facelift will be minimal. Although facelift scars are permanent, they begin to fade within a week or two and your surgeon will monitor your incision carefully making the proper adjustments to your treatment journey.

Important Considerations

While facelift complications are rare, as with any surgery, cosmetic or otherwise, complications can happen. All patients are encouraged to educate themselves about their surgical procedures and ask questions as they arise throughout the process.

With 30+ years of experience, our surgeons know what to look for during the healing process. Our post-operative protocol is designed to check on patients at crucial times and address any issues early.

What does a typical post-op routine look like?

  • The first day after surgery, we see you back in the office to remove bandages and look for blood that might collect under the skin. We want to remove any blood right away.
  • Then we see you back in a week to make sure you’re healing well. At this visit, we’ll start to remove stitches.
  • We usually see you back in the second week to remove our four “key” or load-bearing stitches.
  • A month out from surgery, we want to make sure you are getting soft. The fat that we may inject to plump up the face can be stiff at first but should soften as you heal. Same with the area under the chin.  We have a lot of tricks to speed the softening of hard tissues.
  • Finally, we see you back at the three-month point to check on your final results.

Our facelift patients are among the happiest of all our patients. There’s nothing like revealing your fresh, younger looking face to the world. It’s almost like being reborn!

Selecting the Right Surgeon

At Austin-Weston, The Center for Cosmetic Surgery, we know you have options for selecting a skilled and trusted surgeon for your facelift. We hope this and our other blog articles are a beneficial resource for you. You can also compare real patient results with those of other plastic surgeons across Northern Virginia and Washington DC and view testimonial videos on our website. We believe our results speak for themselves.

In addition to judging results for yourself, make sure to verify that your surgeon has proper credentials. All of the surgeons at Austin-Westin are board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), which is the only plastic surgery board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Beware of surgeons with certifications that may sound official, but who have no credible board recognition and who make promises beyond what they can realistically deliver. Thorough research is essential in the selection of a plastic surgeon and practice you can trust.

Patients who have facelifts report feeling younger and more confident. You can’t stop the aging process, but you can take steps to turn back the clock!

If you live in the Northern Virginia or Washington DC area and are ready to reclaim your confidence, contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation at (703) 854-9841 or submit a form online to request an appointment.

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* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.