What are Face Lifts?

Deborah Ng

Face lifts, also knows as rhytidectomies are cosmetically surgical procedures focusing on certain areas of one's face with the purpose of giving one a younger appearance. When a surgeon performs face lifts, he generally tightens and removes sagging skin. This is done by removing excess fat, tightening the muscles, and pulling the skin until it's taut. The term face lift doesn't generally apply to areas around the eyebrows or the corners of the mouth.

A face lift is a cosmetic surgical procedure that's performed on the face to tighten and remove sagging skin.
A face lift is a cosmetic surgical procedure that's performed on the face to tighten and remove sagging skin.

In most cases, face lifts take two to three hours to perform depending on the procedure. If several different procedures are combined, it will take longer. Though anesthesia is used, a face lift is usually an outpatient surgery and one can go home after the anesthesia wears off. The patient may be groggy, however, so it is important to bring along another party to handle the drive home.

Anesthesiologist services must be factored into the cost of a face lift.
Anesthesiologist services must be factored into the cost of a face lift.

It generally takes a few weeks to recover from face lifts. Once the procedure is finished, the patient shouldn't be alarmed to look in the mirror and find her face swollen and bruised. The patient will probably experience some pain. In some instances, the pain is minor; in others, it's more severe. It usually differs with each individual case. Pain relief will probably be prescribed by the plastic surgeon. As with any surgury, instructions for post operative care will also be provided.

The first few hours of recovery after a face lift usually require a bit of help getting around. After a day or two, the patient should be able to get around on her own. Most return to work within two weeks.

The best candidates for face lifts are those who are over 40, with skin that is visibly loose on the neck and face. While face lifts might give one a more youthful appearance, the procedures are not without risk. We've all seen photos of famous people who have a permanent "surprised" look due to bad plastic surgery, for example. When one undergoes a face lift, one also runs the risk of suffering from permanent nerve damage. Scarring may also occur, though steps are taken to ensure that scarring is minimal and on a hidden location on the face or neck.

If you're one of countless Americans considering face lifts, be sure to do plenty of research first. Learn about all the procedures and what they entail. Don't forget to study up on the risks. Research the plastic surgeons in your area and don't be afraid to ask for references. Don't consider any surgeon who may have a questionable past, no matter how cheap the rates.

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Discussion Comments


There are non-surgical face lifts available for those who aren't willing to go under the knife just yet. One kind involves facial yoga, which is a daily exercise that works the face muscles to give the face a firmer look and get rid of wrinkles. You can find books about this online and watch videos to learn how to do it at home.

There are also some spas that offer treatments such as Thermage, which heats the skin below the surface in the hope it will produce collagen. This is supposed to make the skin look youthful again.

I recommend that you try something non-surgical first and see if it gives you the results you want.


I think that any kind of plastic surgery should be planned very carefully and that you should do your own research. Face lifts are a very invasive procedure and if you have ever seen a makeover show, while face lifts provide great results, they do have a steep recovery cost. From what I can tell, the aftercare seems pretty painful and it can take awhile before you can show your face in public.

If you are considering this, ask the surgeon to show you his book so you can see photos of his work. If possible speak with a previous patient about their experience.


Getting a face lift surgery is not something that a person should do more than once. I know there are many people, especially celebrities, out there getting routine mini face lifts, botox injections, and other procedures, but surgical face lifts use up excess skin; the reason Michael Jackson, for example, looked so different when he died was that he'd had so many surgeries, he'd almost obliterated his nose.

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