Facelift/Necklift

Overview

A facelift is a surgical procedure that addresses issues common to the aging face: sagging of the soft tissues of the cheek, lower face, and neck region. The procedure elevates falling cheek tissues, redefines the jaw line by lifting sagging jowls, and repositions and tightens the skin of the neck. Facelifts often are combined with other procedures, such as a browlift and/or an eyelid rejuvenation procedure (blepharoplasty). 

Who is a Candidate?

Patients may range in age from 45 to 80 and should be in reasonably good health. Potential patients typically have sagging facial and neck tissues. The goal is to enhance each patient’s features, and leave the patient looking refreshed and energetic. If a patient has loose skin of the neck but minimal jowling, they may be a candidate for an isolated neck lift, which may utilize short-scar approaches around the ear.

Before the Procedure

Your surgeon will give you specific guidelines about preparing for surgery, including:

  • Smoking cessation
  • Medications to avoid
  • When to take your prescribed medications
  • Proper washing techniques
  • Restrictions regarding eating and drinking the night before surgery

To optimize the facelift’s results, a skin care program by a licensed aesthetician usually is recommended.

Procedure Details

Facelifts can be done in a variety of ways with different types of incisions but typically, the incisions are located in front and behind the ear, and also in under the chin. The procedure is individualized based upon your goals and anatomic issues.

Your plastic surgeon will perform a detailed aesthetic analysis and a careful evaluation of the face including:

  • skin
  • fat and muscle layers
  • eyebrow area, orbit
  • midface
  • jowl area
  • jaw line
  • chin region
  • neck

Following the initial evaluation, the surgeon also will make suggestions about other areas of the face that can benefit from surgical enhancement such as sagging or drooping eyebrows, or extra skin or fat around the eyelids. 

With aging or weight loss, there is often a loss of volume in the face. Fat injections, taken by liposuction from other areas of the body, can be injected into the face to restore lost volume and refill the face to a more youthful appearance.

In addition to the aesthetic evaluation, your surgeon will perform a careful evaluation of your overall health, as well as issues that could cause complications, such as:

  • your blood pressure
  • bleeding tendencies
  • history of adverse scar formation after previous surgeries

Where Will the Surgery Be Performed?

A facelift is done in a hospital as outpatient surgery but an overnight stay typically is recommended. You will have to be driven to and from the hospital by a friend or family member. 

Type of Anesthesia

Your doctor will recommend the best type of anesthesia for you but a facelift can be performed under local anesthesia with the addition of intravenous sedation, or it can be done under general anesthesia.

Immediate Postoperative Recovery

In most cases, patients may experience moderate pain in the facial area for the first 24-48 hours but then it rapidly subsides. Swelling of the cheek and neck tissues usually is mild, and there may be bruising (black and blue discoloration).  Both the swelling and bruising will begin to disappear in a week. To minimize swelling and discomfort, you should keep your head in an elevated position the first few days after surgery.

Short-term Recovery 

In most cases, patients should be able to go out in public after 10-14 days. Showering is permitted within the first several days. Vigorous physical activity is limited for several weeks following surgery. Signs of surgery should completely fade after three weeks.

Risks

A facelift often will enhance the appearance of your cheek, jaw line and neck region but is considered major surgery. You should think carefully about your specific expectations and communicate your goals to your plastic surgeon. Complications from a facelift procedure are uncommon but slight facial asymmetries, which often exist prior to surgery, are possible. There is a slight chance of nerve damage which usually resolves itself but, in some cases, additional treatments or unplanned surgery is required.

  • Other potential risks include:
  • temporary loss of skin sensation
  • unfavorable scars
  • anesthesia-related risks
  • hair loss

Not every person is a candidate for this procedure, and your risk may be greater or different than those of other patients. Your plastic surgeon will review all potential risks and complications with you prior to the surgery.

Anticipated Results

A facelift usually produces a refreshed and rejuvenated look. You will have some scars from the procedure but these usually are hidden in the creases of your face and ears, and become unnoticeable with time. Facelifts won’t stop the aging process.  

​  

Contact Us

UPMC Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
Isaly's Building, Suite 158
3380 Blvd. of the Allies Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Free parking adjacent to our building.

To schedule a consultation with a surgeon or our aesthetician call 1-877-NEW-YOU8
(1-877-639-9688).

 

Additional Resources

©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com