A facelift can dramatically revitalize your facial appearance. Over time, aging, gravity, sun damage, and stress can cause the face to lose its youthful form and elasticity—resulting in the formation of deep creases, folds, wrinkling, laxity of the jaw line, and droopy cheeks. Fortunately, facelift surgery allows for the youthful contours of the face to be restored. Austin plastic surgeon Steven Holzman, MD has extensive experience helping patients reverse the signs of facial aging so they can look and feel their best.
What Is a Facelift
A facelift is a surgical procedure designed to address the signs of facial aging, including wrinkles, skin laxity, volume loss, jowls, and unwanted fat accumulation. Dr. Holzman can review your goals during your initial consultation and create a custom treatment plan in order to give you the more youthful appearance you desire. A facelift can be performed alone or in conjunction with other procedures, such as a brow lift, eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty), or neck lift for patients desiring more extensive facial rejuvenation.
Who Is an Ideal Candidate for a Facelift?
Ideal facelift candidates are those who are in good health with reasonable expectations for what the procedure can accomplish. Optimal results are typically obtained when a patient still possesses good skin tone and elasticity, which Dr. Holzman can assess during your consultation. It is important to note that a facelift is not designed to change the fundamental features of your face; instead, it is meant to provide natural-looking rejuvenation to help you appear more refreshed and youthful.
What Does the Facelift Procedure Involve?
Facelift surgery, also called rhytidectomy, can improve the most visible signs of aging from the inside-out by tightening the underlying muscles of the face, removing deposits of excess fat, and re-draping the facial skin, making it appear firmer and tighter. If desired, dermal fillers (such as JUVÉDERM® and Restylane®), wrinkle-reducing injectables (such as BOTOX® Cosmetic), and other non-surgical treatments can also be incorporated to help restore lost volume and improve the appearance of the skin. For patients desiring comprehensive facial enhancement, blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) or a brow lift are popular options that can be performed at the same time as your facelift.
Dr. Holzman is a highly trained and experienced plastic surgeon, and he tailors each procedure to the specific needs of the patient. He can discuss incision placement and other details with you in advance so you know what to expect during your procedure and recovery process.
What Is Recovery Like After Facelift Surgery?
Recovery time after a facelift varies between patients based on a number of factors, including the complexity of the procedure, whether additional surgeries are performed, and how closely Dr. Holzman’s aftercare instructions are followed. Some swelling, bruising, and discomfort are common after surgery, but most patients find that these symptoms are manageable with pain medication and adequate rest.
Since you may be groggy after your surgery, Dr. Holzman recommends having a friend or family member available to drive you home and serve as a caregiver for the first 2-4 days. A significant portion of the swelling and pain should subside over the course of your first postoperative week, at which point you may resume light daily activity. Depending on your profession, you may be able to return to work as early as 7-10 days after surgery. However, you should hold off on engaging in any strenuous activities until given clearance by Dr. Holzman (usually after around four weeks).
In order to optimize the efficiency and comfort of your recovery, it is vitally important that you follow all of Dr. Holzman’s post-operative instructions and attend your follow-up appointments.
To view our answers to more frequently asked questions about facelift recovery, please visit our FAQ section.
Will My Facelift Results Look Natural?
The aesthetic results of facelift depend upon skin thickness, the level of skin elasticity, and the patient’s unique facial structure. Most patients who come to our office for a facelift are extremely pleased with their results. Dr. Holzman is careful to keep the results of this procedure looking natural by minimizing potential scarring and preventing the skin from being overly tightened. Patients can emerge from this procedure looking youthful and refreshed, with an appearance that has been gracefully enhanced rather than dramatically changed.
Will I Have Scars After Facelift Surgery?
As with any surgical procedure, there may be some scarring after your facelift. That said, Dr. Holzman places your incisions in the most hidden areas possible so that, once healed, they are nearly imperceptible. His careful closure techniques can help further minimize the appearance of scarring. Dr. Holzman may recommend a silicone-based scar treatment at your first postoperative visit. These treatments decrease the appearance of the scars and speed healing. In the weeks following your procedure, we recommend avoiding direct sun exposure and tanning beds to prevent permanent discoloration in the bruised areas. It is also advised that you use a high-quality sunscreen and consider incorporating other medical-grade skin care products into your routine going forward in order to protect your skin and promote the longevity of your facelift results.
How Much Does a Facelift Cost?
On average, the cost for a facelift at our practice is $12,000*. That said, the precise cost of your procedure will vary depending on a range of factors, including:
- Your geographic region
- The complexity of the procedure
- The cost of any additional procedures performed (such as a brow lift or blepharoplasty)
- The experience and reputation of your surgeon
- Any associated hospital and anesthesiologist’s fees
After your consultation with Dr. Holzman, we can provide you with a personalized price estimate based on your unique needs and goals. If you are interested in finding out more information about payment plans or financing options, please contact us today and a member of our team will be happy to answer your questions.
Additional Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Facelift Surgery
How should I prepare for my facelift?Shampoo your hair the evening before your procedure. Do not use any conditioners, gels, or hairsprays. Do not apply any makeup, facial creams, or lotions to your face the day of surgery. You may color your hair two days before the procedure, but must wait six weeks after your procedure to color again.
Dr. Holzman may also instruct you to begin taking an Arnica supplement in advance of your surgery. This can help prevent excessive bruising and swelling. You should continue taking the supplement after surgery until instructed otherwise by Dr. Holzman.
What will the first 24 hours after facelift surgery be like?Take your pain and nausea medications at regular intervals.
Begin advancing to a regular diet as tolerated. If you feel nauseated, immediately take anti-nausea medication and drink only clear fluids. As your nausea improves, you may add soft, easily digested foods—like broth-based soups, applesauce, or plain, steamed rice—to your diet as tolerated.
Keep the incision sites clean and dry, and replace any wet gauze quickly. It is normal to see a small amount of bleeding from the incisions for the first 24–48 hours. If the bleeding is moderate to severe, call Dr. Holzman.
What type of dressing is used after facelift surgery?A head wrap / chin-strap / headband with foam will be used to hold your dressings in place after surgery. These will absorb any drainage and will provide gentle compression to decrease swelling. The dressings should be left intact. Keeping the tissues compressed aids in wound healing and provides more comfort.
The compression dressing is generally worn 24 hours per day for five to seven days, then only at night for the next week.
How should I sleep after facelift surgery?Keep your head elevated during the first few weeks after facelift surgery, even while sleeping. This can help reduce swelling and inflammation, which can help minimize pain and promote a quicker healing process.
What type of physical activity should I avoid after my facelift?Minimize your head and neck movements after your procedure. Exercise during the first postoperative week should be limited to routine daily activities (eating, sleeping, and showering).
You may begin light exercise after your first postoperative week. Walking is preferred, as it is minimally disruptive.
You should not perform any exercises or movements that require severe turning of the head or produce episodes of breath holding—such as weight lifting, rowing, golfing, or heavy aerobics—for approximately four weeks after your surgery. Extreme movements can disrupt your sutures, as well as lead to poor wound healing and unacceptable scarring. Dr. Holzman will let you know when normal activity may be resumed. This is usually four to six weeks after surgery.
Driving should not be resumed until full range of motion of the head and neck is regained.
When can I shower after facelift surgery?You may shower and gently wash your hair 48 hours after surgery. Use a conditioner to help detangle your hair without pulling. You may notice some hair loss during your shower. This is not true hair loss, but rather hair that was cut when making the incisions.
Can I blow dry my hair after a facelift?If you need to dry your hair during the first few weeks after your facelift, the blow dryer should be set on low heat. Avoid using high heat on your hair dryer until four to six weeks after surgery. Be careful combing or brushing your hair. The areas around the incision sites may be slightly numb, and could be accidentally injured.
What can I do to manage the pain after my facelift?Dr. Holzman will prescribe a narcotic pain medication and an anti-nausea medication. Take both of these medications as scheduled for the first 24–48 hours after surgery. After that time, you may simply take them as needed.
After the first 48 hours, you may switch to non-narcotic pain medications, if desired. Ibuprofen 600mg (three tablets) taken every eight hours, as needed, provides excellent pain control and also reduces inflammation. Take ibuprofen (brand name: Advil or Motrin) with food to avoid stomach upset.
• Consider taking them at bedtime so you can rest well
• Pain is best controlled if you take medicine when you first feel pain, or even ahead of time
The pain management instruction sheet provided by Dr. Holzman will have more information.
My face and neck are tight after my facelift, is that normal?For the first seven to ten days after surgery, your face and neck will feel tight. You may find it difficult to fully open your mouth. Do not force neck movement or mouth opening, as you may disrupt sutures. For this reason, a soft diet for the first week after surgery is preferred, as it decreases mouth and facial movements.
How long should I expect to be swollen and bruised after my facelift?Swelling and bruising is common after facelift surgery. The swelling may be significant for the first three to four days. You will notice significant bruising on your face and neck after surgery. Bruising will appear purple in color initially, and will fade to brown and yellow over the next week or so. The swelling will make the face and neck look distorted initially but will resolve over the next two to four days. Most swelling and bruising will resolve after two to four weeks.
Can I use makeup to hide my facelift bruising?Camouflage makeup may be used after any sutures or staples are removed, and the incision sites are no longer crusted.
Please contact us for more information about facelift surgery or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Holzman.