American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals

Facelift or Botox? Which is right for you?

Every face tells a story – but for some people, unwanted lines and wrinkles turn it into one they're reluctant to share with the world.

Today, there are many options to help those people transform their stories, by restoring their youthful appearance and regaining their confidence. Two of the most common are facelifts and Botox, and while both can have a significant impact, there are key differences between the two. Which is best for you? Let's take a look.

What is a facelift?

A facelift is a surgical procedure, which may include removing excess skin, tightening skin and lifting facial muscles or tissue. Sagging skin and deep wrinkles are among the issues a facelift can address.

Facelift benefits

  • A facelift provides more significant and visible results than injectable treatments.
  • Because it's a surgical procedure, results last far longer than other treatments – often for 10 years or more.
  • Facelifts can treat more serious issues that injections cannot.

Facelift drawbacks

  • Facelifts require the patient to undergo anesthesia, which carries additional risk.
  • As with any surgical procedure, recovery time is longer than non-invasive treatments. Patients may need a period of two weeks or more.
  • Swelling and bruising will be more pronounced with a facelift versus an injection. Stitches may be present for several days as well.

What is Botox?

Botox is an injectable treatment that relaxes facial muscles. It smooths lines and wrinkles, including around the eyes and forehead, as well as those near the mouth.

Botox benefits

  • Because Botox is an injection, it's minimally invasive. It's also fast – the treatment takes about 15 minutes.
  • There's no recovery time necessary after a Botox treatment, so you can resume your normal activities quickly.
  • Depending on the number of treatments, Botox can be a more cost-effective option than surgery.
  • The effects can last three months or more.

Botox drawbacks

  • While the effects of Botox can last for months, they are ultimately temporary, and additional treatments may be required to maintain the benefits.
  • Side effects can include minor swelling and bruising, but typically this is easily covered by makeup.
  • Botox cannot correct more significant issues, such as sagging skin.

Every face is different, and every patient's goals are different, too. Before choosing any cosmetic procedure, it's important to discuss what you want to achieve, and what is possible with today's treatments.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.


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