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A facelift, medically referred to as a “rhytidectomy,” is a surgical treatment designed to create a more youthful appearance by diminishing signs of lax skin, jowls, and wrinkles that commonly develop in the lower third of the face and, in many cases, in the upper neck region. By reducing or repositioning the tissues in these areas and tightening underlying muscles, our board-certified plastic surgeon in Tampa, Dana Coberly, MD, can produce smoother skin and a younger, more refreshed look. Dr. Coberly customizes all facelift procedures to create an appearance that looks natural, not artificial or “windblown.” She will comprehensively evaluate your facial skin and contours, utilize advanced computer imaging, and review old photographs of your facial appearance to determine the facelift technique that can meet your goals with the best possible results.

What Are the Benefits of a Facelift?

The aesthetic advantages offered by facelift surgery are numerous. For decades, this popular procedure has helped individuals achieve their cosmetic rejuvenation goals with beautiful and long-lasting results. The potential benefits of facelift surgery include:

  • Reduction in prominent signs of age (such as jowls, deep wrinkles, and skin folds) in the lower facial areas
  • Reduction of skin laxity and sagging tissues apparent in the lower face, around the jawline, and along the upper areas of the neck
  • A noticeably more rested, youthful, and rejuvenated appearance
  • The scars from facelift surgery can be well-concealed and virtually unnoticeable to others
  • Results that can last years into the future if good general health and skin care regimens are maintained

Dr. Coberly includes a neck lift in almost all of her facelift procedures, allowing patients to smooth away inelastic skin and signs of age in the upper neck, as well. Additionally, a “mid-facelift” may be an appropriate option for some patients. Mid-facelift surgery focuses on signs of aging and inelastic skin in the cheek regions, and can be particularly advantageous for reduction of nasolabial folds (wrinkles between the nose and mouth).

A facelift can be part of a more comprehensive facial rejuvenation treatment plan that incorporates other advanced procedures, such as eyelid surgery, cheek lift, or non-surgical cosmetic injectables, to address other facial areas for a full aesthetic makeover. Dr. Coberly can talk with you about all treatments for which you may be interested and help you determine the best options for your goals.

Am I a Candidate for Facelift Surgery?

Facelift surgery can be an ideal option for both women and men who are looking for effective ways to address pronounced signs of age and inelastic skin in the lower face and upper neck. There is no age limit for this procedure; in fact, if you are in your 30s or your 70s and beyond, the main criteria for facelift candidacy is typically centered on whether you are in reasonably good overall health, are experiencing the specific concerns facelift surgery is designed to address, and have realistic expectations for what the procedure can achieve. During your initial consultation, Dr. Coberly will evaluate your skin and talk with you about your concerns to determine whether facelift or an alternative procedure serves as the best treatment option for your expectations.

What Does the Facelift Procedure Involve?

A standard (or “traditional”) facelift procedure can often be performed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia; however, some patients may need to stay in the hospital for one night. In most cases, Dr. Coberly will create incisions over the ear—ideally within the hairline—and extend the incision to the front of the ear and around the earlobe toward the back. A neck lift is almost always included with a facelift, and therefore an additional small incision under the chin will be created to address the neck, as well. The underlying facial muscles will be tightened and the tissues repositioned and lifted. Excess skin will be removed and the remaining skin will be gently redraped to create a smoother look and feel. Dr. Coberly will carefully suture the incisions, and may place a small drainage tube in the treatment area; however, this will only be temporary.

For most patients, a standard facelift generally takes about four to five hours to perform.

What Can I Expect During Facelift Recovery?

Patients can expect about a week-long recovery at home before resuming some of their normal daily activities. Many individuals are able to return to regular work routines in approximately two to three weeks. After the surgery, Dr. Coberly will place a large surgical dressing over the treatment area that can be worn for the first night to help control swelling. The areas will be affected by some degree of bruising and swelling during the recovery process, but these effects should fade as the skin continues to heal. Oral pain medication is usually all that’s necessary to address discomfort during recovery. 

For additional information on what to expect in the recovery process, please go to our Preparing for Cosmetic Surgery page and click on the link for “Face Lift.” 

Will Facelift Scars Be Noticeable?

One of the many benefits of facelift surgery is that the incisions can typically be placed in rather inconspicuous areas, which can result in barely noticeable and well-concealed scarring. Plus, once the initial healing process is complete, the scars should fade over time. With the location of the incisions and Dr. Coberly’s diligent efforts to minimize the appearance of scars after facelift surgery, the residual scarring from this procedure is not usually a cause for much concern.

How Long Do Facelift Results Last?

By maintaining a healthy lifestyle and taking excellent skin care precautions, the results of a facelift can last for many years. Naturally, the process of aging will continue; however, a facelift procedure essentially “resets the clock,” making patients always look younger than they would if they had never undergone a facelift. With good skin care, a stable weight, a nutritious diet, and effective sunscreen, the positive aesthetic effects of a facelift can last for very long periods of time.

How Much Does a Facelift Cost?

The cost of a facelift at our practice typically falls between the range of approximately $6,500 and $10,000. It is very important to note that the total price of a facelift varies among patients depending on factors that are unique to their customized treatment plan. These factors include the specific facelift technique performed and the extent of treatment required to meet individual goals, as well as the surgeon’s fee and costs associated with anesthesia, use of the surgical facility, and other components. A member of our team here at Coberly Plastic Surgery & Med Spa will produce an estimate of the full cost of your facelift surgery once the treatment plan is developed during your initial consultation. We will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about the many convenient payment options our practice accepts, which include plastic surgery financing through CareCredit®. This reputable healthcare lending agency offers a number of financing plans for qualified applicants who prefer to pay for their treatment in monthly installments. 

Is a Facelift Without Surgery Possible?

Facelift surgery tightens and repositions the underlying facial muscles and smoothes the skin in the treatment area. While certain non-surgical treatments can also contribute to a much more youthful and refreshed facial aesthetic, their results typically cannot match those of facelift surgery and will likely not last nearly as long. To that end, there is no non-surgical equivalent to a facelift; however, there are alternatives that can produce effective rejuvenation for patients with less pronounced signs of facial aging.

What Are Some Alternatives to a Facelift?

Some signs of aging and other aesthetic concerns along the face, depending on severity, can be sufficiently improved with treatments other than a facelift. Some individuals who would like to explore facelift alternatives may be good candidates for cosmetic injectables, which can be extremely effective when administered by an experienced provider. In particular, the very popular BOTOX® Cosmetic can combat moderate to severe dynamic lines and wrinkles in certain areas of the face in a procedure that does not require surgery. In addition, a variety of injectable dermal fillers can temporarily smooth away facial wrinkles and add volume to targeted facial features. Many of these fillers, such as JUVÉDERM® and Restylane®, contain hyaluronic acid, a naturally-occurring substance which can significantly diminish signs of wrinkles and folds and fill in hollowed areas of skin. Laser skin treatments and light-based procedures can also help improve signs of aging and other skin conditions.

While those treatments are often able to refresh the appearance of the face, they cannot remove excess, inelastic skin, significantly diminish signs of jowls, or produce results that last as long as facelift surgery. Patients with more severe skin laxity, folds, and wrinkles in the lower area of the face who desire a long-term effect may be better suited for a facelift. In any case, Dr. Coberly can help you make a decision after a thorough evaluation of your aesthetic goals.

What Are Facial Fat Injections?

Fat injections, also referred to as fat transfer or fat grafting, can restore a more youthful-looking appearance with long-lasting results by replenishing volume lost during the aging process. Targeted excess fat cells are extracted from the patient’s body via liposuction, and then purified and strategically injected back into areas the patient wishes to enhance. Dr. Coberly may recommend facial fat injectionsin addition to a facelift to add fullness back to the cheeks, under-eye areas, temples, and lips for smoother facial contours and an even more refreshed aesthetic.

Are There Treatments That Can Complement a Facelift?

In addition to facial fat injections, there are several other treatments that can complement a facelift, especially for rejuvenating the upper areas of the face. Patients may desire a brow lift to smooth deep forehead wrinkles and raise the eyebrow line, or eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) to reduce wrinkles, skin folds, puffiness, and bags around the eyes. Additionally, non-surgical procedures—such as laser skin treatments to stimulate collagen, reduce wrinkles, and reverse sun damage or cosmetic injectables to diminish signs of wrinkles and fine lines and fill in hollowed cheeks and lips—can be included to enhance facial features for a more rested, revitalized appearance. Dr. Coberly can discuss these options with you during your consultation to design a comprehensive treatment plan.

How to Choose the Best Facelift Surgeon

Facelift surgery is a highly personal and often complex procedure, so it is critical to invest time in selecting the best facelift surgeon to achieve your unique aesthetic goals. The list of qualifications provided below may be used as a guide to reference during your search:

  • Education, training, and fellowship experience
  • Credentials and certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS)
  • Professional memberships and ongoing education in the field of plastic surgery
  • Advanced or progressive surgical techniques
  • Before-and-after facelift photos
  • Patient reviews and >testimonials

Once you have narrowed down your top prospective surgeons, an in-person consultation should be scheduled to build a rapport and better understand their surgical recommendations, communication style, and attentiveness. This also allows you to ask questions, get a feel for their office and team,  and establish your level of comfort and confidence in their ability to collaborate with you on your ideal experience and outcome. 

Additional Facelift FAQs

Is a neck lift always included with a facelift? 

Dr. Coberly includes a neck lift component in almost all of her facelift procedures. This addition can smooth the skin of the upper neck and reduce a sagging or aged appearance, which can have a wonderful effect on a patient’s profile and neck contours. 

Is there an age limit for facelift surgery? 

Age is typically not considered a major factor in facelift eligibility. Rather, Dr. Coberly will determine whether facelift surgery is the best option for you largely based on the specific concerns you would like to address, your medical history, and current state of general health. 

Are facelifts different for women vs. men? 

In terms of the overall rejuvenation goals, facelift surgery is basically the same among genders; however, the surgical techniques utilized in the procedure can vary to a certain extent to provide the results expected by individual patients. For instance, men often wish for a sharper, more masculine edge to their jawline, whereas women typically want a softer effect. Additionally, incision locations may be in a slightly different place for men than women—men with receding hairlines can benefit from incisions made elsewhere to maximize discretion of residual scarring. Regardless of gender, Dr. Coberly will always customize facelift treatment plans to each patient’s unique needs and goals in order to produce the best possible outcome. 

How can I reduce swelling after facelift surgery?

Swelling is a normal reaction to surgery and all patients will likely experience it following the facelift treatment. With that in mind, there are some things that patients can do to keep it under control during recovery. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by keeping your head at an elevated position to minimize the accumulation of fluid in the areas that were treated. Drinking plenty of water and limiting salt in your diet (salt can cause inflammation) can also be helpful. Dr. Coberly and our team will provide you with a list of instructions with tips to help you feel as comfortable as possible as you recover from surgery. 

To learn more about facelift surgery, or to schedule your initial consultation with our plastic surgeon, please don’t hesitate to contact Coberly Plastic Surgery & Med Spa today.