Facelift, or rhytidectomy, is a surgery to help improve the visible signs of aging in the face and neck. It addresses not only sagging and wrinkling skin, but also underlying problems such as loosening of the muscles, the descent of soft tissue and fat loss. Facelift surgery is sometimes performed in conjunction with brow lift surgery and/or eyelid surgery to restore harmony to the facial appearance.

The Consultation

It is important to understand that facelift surgery will not stop the aging process but will restore a more youthful appearance for a period. Sun protection, a regimented skin care program and a healthy lifestyle can prolong and enhance the results of a facelift.

The Surgery

Your doctor will perform the procedure under anesthesia in the operating room. Some patients can return home after the procedure, but some will be asked to stay in the hospital overnight for monitoring. This is especially true if other procedures are done at the same time, such as brow lift or eyelid surgery. The incisions are placed around the ear and in the hairline behind the ear. The skin is elevated and then the underlying structures are addressed. Muscles are tightened, fat is sometimes trimmed around the chin area and fat is sometimes added to the mid-face to restore youthful volume. Once the incisions are healed, they are concealed around the ear contours and in the hair. Results begin to appear two to four weeks after surgery when the swelling subsides, but final results are not evident for at least three months after surgery.


Risks are present with all surgical procedures. Anesthesia risks, infection, bleeding, poor wound healing, numbness and facial nerve damage are all possible, but very rare. At your consultation, we will evaluate you to see if you are a suitable candidate for this surgery. Smokers and people with certain pre-existing medical conditions are not candidates for facelift surgery.

Recovery involves a light head dressing that is worn for about a week. The sutures are removed in two steps, about 6 days and about 12 days after surgery. You may return to work 2-3 weeks after surgery.

In preparation for your consultation, it is helpful to consider the things that bother you most about your facial appearance as well as things you like about your appearance. It is often helpful to bring in older pictures of yourself so that your doctor can discuss what reasonably can be expected from the procedure and what other treatments may be necessary to achieve the results you are expecting.