Facelift
Quick Facts
Average cost $4,500
1-2 Weeks of downtime
General anesthesia

Average cost in the USA vs average cost through Bridge:
$12,275usd vs $4700usd


   What is it?

Facelift surgery (aka rhytidectomy) is a facial rejuvenation procedure that can create transformative results. It’s the most effective way to address significant sagging and smooth deep wrinkles and folds, with results that last a decade or more.

The technique can be customized for each patient's anatomy and aesthetic goals, but the procedure usually involves lifting tissues, tightening the underlying muscles, removing excess skin, and re-draping the remaining skin, to give your face and neck a more youthful appearance. Despite a hefty price tag and up to two weeks of downtime, it’s one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures. The American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS) reported that their members performed 234,374 facelifts in 2020 alone.

   What are the pros and cons of facelift?
Pros
  • Modern surgical techniques that lift the underlying facial muscles as well as the skin make facelift results look very natural.
  • When the procedure is done by an experienced surgeon, scars are generally undetectable once fully healed.
  • Results typically last at least a decade.
Cons
  • Facelift surgery doesn’t include any work to the eyelids or brow.
  • The procedure doesn’t address fine lines and other surface skin imperfections. You’ll need additional skin rejuvenation treatments to correct those concerns.
  • According to Dr. Brock Ridenour, a facial plastic surgeon in St. Louis, Missouri, complications can include bleeding, infection, scarring, visible surgical scars, hematoma, and facial nerve injury with associated muscle weakness or paralysis.
  • Recovery requires up to two weeks of downtime.
  • Facelifts are considered an elective surgery, and they’re not covered by insurance.
   Who is a good candidate for this procedure?

The optimal age range for facelift surgery is usually from your late 40's into your 60's, but it's possible to have the procedure well into your 80's. Good candidates are also nonsmokers in generally good physical and mental health, with no serious underlying medical conditions. Your surgeon will ask about your medical history during a consultation.

   What's the diference between a full facelift and a lower facelift?

“While a traditional full facelift addresses sagging in the cheek (mid-face), jowl, and neck, a lower facelift focuses primarily on the jawline and neck,” explains Dr. Ridenour.

“The incision locations are similar, but a lower facelift may tighten only the platysma, or neck muscles, rather than the entire SMAS layer. A lower facelift can be good for younger patients with early aging of the lower face.”

   Post-op

The day after surgery you’ll be discharged to go home, with bandages on your face and head and a drainage tube. You’ll be very groggy, so make sure you have a trusted friend, partner, or family member take you home and monitor how you’re feeling.

Some surgeons will request to keep you overnight, or even until your first post-op consultation. Which can be beneficial for some patients who want help with post-op care. Just be aware that this will add to your cost.

You’ll be on a soft-foods diet for the first few days, drinking only from glasses or cups (the sucking motion of straws can be painful), so stock up on smoothies and easy-to-chew foods that are high in protein. You’ll also want a firm cushion that can elevate your head while you rest, since regular pillows can put pressure on your ears.

Day 2: The day after surgery, you’ll have a follow-up appointment. Your surgeon will remove the surgical dressing and evaluate your facelift incisions as well as any bruising or swelling. They’ll also remove any drains that had been placed to prevent fluid buildup. You’ll be sent home in fresh bandages or no bandages at all, depending on how you’re healing. You can bathe the day after your surgery, but avoid getting your head wet.

Day 3–4: Bruising and swelling are at their max at this point. Take only your prescribed pain medication as instructed by your surgeon, no aspirin or other over-the-counter painkillers.

Day 3–5: You’ll have another follow-up appointment within five days, and any remaining bandages will be removed. Your doctor may recommend a removable elastic strap to wear for support. You’ll care for the facelift incisions by cleaning them with saline and applying a thick ointment, such as Vaseline or Aquaphor. You can wash your hair with lukewarm water and baby shampoo. Gently let the water run through your hair, to remove any dried blood, surgical soap, and normal residue, don’t disturb the staples or sutures. Avoid letting shower water hit your face directly. Pat your face dry and let your hair air-dry (blow-dryers can be too hot). You’ll also want to skip makeup and your regular skin-care regimen until your surgeon gives you the green light.

Day 7: Stitches and sutures are removed around this point. You’ll be allowed to do light none strenuous activities, if you feel well enough. Some patients choose to return to work at this time, but many wait for the swelling to go down (around the two-week mark). Don’t bend over; lift anything heavy; or bump your head, face, or neck—this can cause bleeding. Also to minimize the scarring no direct exposure to sunlight.

Week 2: You can resume sleeping on your side, but don’t sleep on your stomach until your doctor says it’s safe to do so.

Month 1: Typically, after 30 days, you should be back to your regular routine. Avoid elevating your heart rate for four weeks—skip the cardio and weight lifting, though walking is okay, says Dr. Prendiville.

Month 3–4: During the first three or four months after surgery, stay out of the sun and apply sunscreen with a high SPF. You may notice very minor swelling, bruising, tightness, and even numbness for up to a year, but it’s rarely noticed by others.