30 Questions about Facelifts, Answered by Surgeons (Procedure Costs, Risks, Recovery, Before-After)

facelift questions answered

Considering a facelift? Then you probably have a lot of questions. Here are some of the most popular queries we’ve received, answered by board-certified surgeons. If you don’t find your question here, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us directly, and we’ll help you out.

General Facelift Questions

1. What is a facelift?

Facelift is a surgical procedure which “tightens” your facial skin to counteract the effects of aging. With aging, your facial skin may become saggy and loose. During the facelift procedure, the excess skin on your face is removed, restoring a youthful, natural appearance.

2. What is a mini facelift?

Mini facelift only focuses on the lower third of your face. Incisions are made around your ears, and excess skin is removed, “tightening” the rest of your facial skin.

Mini facelift is the most popular facelift procedure used today. When you think of a facelift, you’re probably thinking of a mini facelift.

3. What is a full facelift?

A full facelift addresses a wider part of your body. Unlike a mini facelift, which will only focus on your mouth and jaw area, a full facelift can improve the appearance from your neck to the eyebrows.

4. How long does a facelift last?

Full facelifts last for up to 15 years. Mini facelifts last for 2-6 years.

5. Can anyone get a facelift?

Yes, as long as you’re in good general health. A facelift procedure simply removes excess skin in your facial/neck areas, giving you a more youthful appearance. As long as you’re eligible for the surgery itself, anyone at any age can get a facelift. Make sure you share your medical history and any previous or present health conditions with your surgeon.

6. How can a facelift make me look younger?

Here are some of the most common effects of a facelift: tighter skin on your face and neck, no more crinkles around your lips and on your forehead, a more ‘smiley’ look (the tips of your lips will be pointed more upwards after the procedure.)

7. How visible are the facelift results? Can a facelift look natural?

The procedure can be completely modified based on your needs—from a complete makeover to a minor rejuvenation. It is up to you to be completely open and upfront with your surgeon about what it is exactly you want.

For example, if you don’t want anyone to notice that there’s something very different about your face, do tell this to your surgeon. They will know exactly which areas will make you look younger without drastically changing your natural appearance.

8. How long does the facelift procedure take?

On average, a mini-facelift surgery will take up to 2 hours. A full facelift may take as long as 6 hours to perform when combined with eyebrow and eyelid surgeries.

After the operation, you might experience some side effects from the anesthesia (dizziness), and you will experience swelling on your face. The swelling will go away after 10-14 days, that’s when you’ll be able to return to work and normal life.

9. Can you get a neck-lift without a facelift?

Yes. There are several types of incisions that could be used to target your neck area alone.

While most neck-lift patients will be interested in getting a facelift as well, it is entirely possible to work on the neck area alone. It is up to you, however, to make this part extra clear to your surgeon.

10. How do you prepare for a facelift?

No special preparations are required. However, it is important that you don’t smoke at least 3 weeks before the surgery (it could increase bleeding and significantly slow down the healing process) and avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements for the same reasons.

It is a good idea to not eat or drink anything after the midnight before the operation.

Any other instructions (medications, skin products) will come from your surgeon directly.

11. Can a facelift help acne scars?

Yes. Mild acne scars are the easiest to remove with a facelift, but even with deep acne scars, a facelift can help improve your facial appearance.

12. Can a facelift be reversed?

No.

However, you shouldn’t panic if your face doesn’t look exactly how you’ve expected it just after the surgery. Facelifts reach their ‘best look’ within 3-6 months after the surgery, when your body is completely healed up and the swelling is completely gone.

Keep in mind that all facelift procedures fade away with time (look at question 4.)

13. Is facelift the same as Botox®?

No.

These are two completely different procedures.

Botox® injections are quick, and can be done right in the surgeon’s office. Facelift procedures are much more lasting, as the excess skin is removed surgically and your muscles are rearranged to give you a more youthful appearance.

Questions about Facelift Cost and Insurance

14. How much does a facelift cost in the U.S.?

A mini facelift will cost you $3,000 or more, while full facelift prices start at $15,000.

15. How much does a facelift cost outside the U.S.?

Facelift procedures can cost less in foreign countries, starting at $2,000 in Czech Republic. Costs vary significantly from practice to practice and based on geographic location. Medical tourism outside the U.S. is NOT recommended.

16. Are there any additional costs to a facelift procedure?

In some cases, the quoted price will not include anesthesia costs and post-surgery care. Make sure to ask your surgeon or the surgeon’s office about any additional charges besides the base price of your procedure.

17. Are facelift procedures covered by health insurance?

No.

The only plastic surgery procedures that can be covered by your medical insurance are the ones beneficial to your health condition or can be considered a part of your therapy. In the vast majority of cases, none of the facelift procedures will be covered by the insurance.

18. Are facelift procedures covered by Medicare?

No. Please read the above answer.

Questions about Facelift Safety, Risks and Recovery

19. Is it dangerous to have a facelift?

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved when performing a facelift. Possible complications include:

  • Forming of a blood beneath the skin (haematoma)
  • Limited nerve injury and loss of motion control in the facial area (extremely rare)
  • Asymmetrical facial features (fully depends on your surgeon)
  • Hair loss in the area where the incisions were made
  • Visible scars

Also, all surgical procedures carry a risk of forming blood clots in your veins, catching an infection or excessive bleeding. Your surgeon will evaluate your health condition and give you instructions on how to minimize the chance of any undesired side effects.

20. Are there any side effects after a facelift?

Possible temporary side effects after a facelift include:

  • A numbness and swelling in your face
  • Temporary bruising in your cheeks
  • Scars

The numbness and bruising will gradually fade away. The scars fade, but will never completely disappear. You can judge for yourself how visible are the scars: https://www.aristocratps.com/photo-gallery/facelift/

21. Can you have nerve damage after a facelift?

It is possible for some minor nerve damage to occur during any plastic surgery procedure.

Even if you do experience nerve damage, most nerves restore after 3-6 years spontaneously, with rare exceptions taking just a few years. In very rare cases, the nerve is damaged irreversibly.

The symptoms of nerve damage include numbness in the facial area and inability to move your face in that particular area.

22. Does a facelift leave scars?

Yes, but most scars fade away within 3-6 months after the procedure. Take a look at our post-op photos and judge for yourself:

Mini facelifts require much smaller incisions in your skin, which leaves barely noticeable scars. That’s one of the main reasons why mini facelifts are so popular.

23. Can a facelift cause a temporary hearing loss?

Yes, but it is very rare.

During the procedure, some blood or other fluids may accidentally make their way into your ear canals. This can be easily fixed by your surgeon after the procedure.

24. How many times can you have a facelift?

As many as you like, as long as it’s what you want. Given you’re a good candidate for a facelift, the procedure should provide satisfactory results for 4-15 years to come.

It is also observed that patients who have had facelifts previously are more resistant to wrinkles.

25. How long does swelling last after a facelift?

Significant swelling should go away within 10-14 days. That’s when you’ll start feeling comfortable enough to get back to work and get out into the public.

Any minor swelling remaining after that time period should go away after 3-8 weeks. Your board-certified surgeon will assist you in making the recovery process as quick as possible.

If you’re worried about how you’ll look 14 days after the procedure, read this.

26. Is the facelift operation painful?

During the facelift surgery, you’ll most likely be under general anesthesia, so you’ll be asleep and will feel no pain during the procedure.

27. Is the facelift recovery painful?

Facelift recovery rarely causes severe or chronic pain.

Some soreness is to be expected during the initial couple of weeks as the swelling goes away and your body heals up. However, you shouldn’t be worried.

28. Can you take ibuprofen after having a facelift?

Ibuprofen is not recommended after any surgery, since it can increase the bruising and the chance of blood clots.

To reduce the pain, you can safely take one or two tablets of Tylenol every 3-4 hours.

Before-After Stories and Photos

Take a look at our patient library and see for yourself the impact of a facelift on your general appearance: https://www.aristocratps.com/photo-gallery/facelift

Other Questions about Facelifts

29. Electric muscle stimulation machines. Can they substitute a facelift?

No.

While gentle electric stimulation (microcurrent) machines are believed to be beneficial to restore aging symptoms such as saggy skin, there is little to no scientific evidence for their effectiveness.

In fact, at least 2 people have died while using electric stimulation machines to tone their face.

30. Are stem cell facelifts something worth looking into?

At your own risk. There is little evidence that stem cells can be used to rejuvenate the facial appearance, as most of these observations have occurred as a side-note during fat grafting procedures.

Bonus Question #1: Why do people get facelift revisions? How common is that?

For an experienced facelift surgeon, the expected revision rate is about 1-5%. When working with an experienced board-certified surgeon, the revisions are not common, because the doctor will take time to understand your concerns and expectations well before the initial surgery.

Patients who ask for revisions usually do so after about 1 year, and for various reasons. These reasons, however, can be grouped into a few common categories.

The most common reason for revisions is a mismatch between the patient’s expectations and the final result of a facelift. Almost no surgeon can perform with a knife what you can do with your hands (pull back your facial skin) due to procedural limitations. Therefore, some patients end up looking differently than what they initially expected.

However, natural “wear and tear” is also a common reason for revisions. It is not a secret that facelifts fade away gradually—for example, a mini facelift is expected to last for 2-4 years. Factors like sun exposure, smoking and obesity can lead to your face drifting back to its original shape sooner. To keep up the new look, then, a facelift revision is necessary.

Whatever the reason is for a secondary surgery, it is important to be as clear as possible with your surgeon. Ask them for before-after photos, so that you can get a realistic image of what’s possible. Be frank and up-front with what you want, and what you don’t want. It is the only way your surgeon can deliver a look that you’re truly satisfied with.