American Society of Plastic Surgeons
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How to prepare for your traditional facelift


facelift preparation

If you've been considering getting a traditional facelift, you are not alone. In 2019, over 68,000 facelifts were performed, making the facelift the seventh most popular cosmetic surgical procedure in the United States.

However, before you undergo facelift surgery, there are important things you should be aware of. When it comes to getting a facelift, knowing what to expect and how to prepare beforehand is extremely beneficial for your overall results and wellbeing.

What is a facelift?

In its simplest terms, a facelift is a cosmetic procedure that combats the signs of aging by tightening the skin around the face and neck. If you are dealing with sagging facial skin, fine lines or wrinkles, a facelift is the perfect solution for treating these concerns.

The facelift specifically targets the lower half of the face including the jawline, cheeks and mouth. Patients who undergo a facelift gain a firmer and more youthful appearance.

What happens during surgery?

Depending on what facial cosmetic concerns you have, your plastic surgeon may choose from a variety of techniques to use during your facelift procedure. Typically, anesthesia is administered and then your surgeon will place incisions within the creases of the ears or around your hairline depending on their particular technique.

From there, the procedure will consist of removing excess fat, repositioning underlying tissue and lifting facial muscles. Once the procedure is complete, the incisions will be closed with either stitches or skin adhesives.

What is the recovery period like?

After a facelift procedure, you can expect to experience facial swelling and redness for the first few days. Some patients may also feel tightness and slight discomfort in their face. Even though swelling and soreness will improve soon after surgery, the full recovery period typically lasts around two weeks.

The procedure leaves little visible scarring as any remaining scars should be typically hidden in the creases of the ear. While the time it takes to see full results varies from person to person, most patients typically finish healing two to three months after their surgery.

What to do before your procedure

Now that you know the basics of a facelift and what to expect during and after your procedure, here are a few suggestions of steps to take before your treatment to help everything go as smoothly as possible. One of the most important things you can do is research and find a highly qualified, board-certified plastic surgeon. Make sure you are looking out for both. While there are many skilled surgeons out there, look for ones that specialize in facial procedures such as facelifts or brow lifts.

Another step you can take is preparing your space ahead of time for your recovery period. As discussed earlier, most patients are expected to spend two weeks resting after their procedure. In order to make your recovery process as smooth as possible, it is recommended that you meal prep ahead of time or purchase pre-made meals, have someone take care of your other responsibilities such as watching your pets if you are unable to, have any prescription medications needed nearby and make sure the space you're staying in is quiet and comfortable for your needs. It's also important to make sure you follow the specific pre- and post-procedure instructions your surgeon provides you with.

Planning for your facelift surgery ahead of time is the best way to have a seamless procedure. If you think a facelift is the right decision for you, make a plan to visit a board-certified plastic surgeon near you for more information.


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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