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What is a Facelift?

A facelift can powerfully reduce signs of aging in the midface, lower face, and neck, often being labeled the “gold standard” of facial rejuvenation by both plastic surgeons and patients. The procedure is currently one of the only aesthetic surgeries that can get rid of loose, hanging skin in the lower-third of the face and attain long-term improvements that endure for years. When a facelift is performed correctly by a board-certified plastic surgeon, many individuals can look up to ten years younger.

The overly tight or “frozen” appearance often associated with a poorly executed facelift is generally not a concern with today’s more modern facelift techniques. Thanks to advancements in rhytidectomy, results from a facelift can look incredibly subtle and natural. The before-and-after photos in our patient gallery can provide you with a visual understanding of the stunning outcomes possible with facelift surgery.

What Can a Facelift Improve?

Patients who wish to improve the quality of their neck, jawline, cheeks, and overall facial appearance may be appropriate candidates for a facelift. This can be assessed during a personal consultation with Dr. Chopra, where he will ask you about your goals and evaluate your concerns to confirm whether a facelift would help you achieve your desired look. Sometimes, a neck lift is required at the same time as a facelift to improve aging in the neck. In general, the full facial rejuvenation procedure with a facelift and neck lift can minimize:

  • Jowls or sagging skin along the cheeks and jawline
  • Deep creases in the mid- to lower face
  • Loose neck skin, or a “turkey neck”

The indications above are among the most obvious signs of aging that cause patients to look older than they feel. A facelift is one of the most effective ways to reverse the effects of age and improve one’s:

  • Jawline contour
  • Neck contour
  • Mid-face projection
  • Youthfulness
  • Confidence and attractiveness

Although a facelift and neck lift are only intended to treat the lower face, signs of aging in the upper face can be addressed with other procedures like blepharoplasty and/or a brow lift. If desired, you can combine a facelift with another facial procedure to achieve more comprehensive rejuvenation.

Is a Facelift Right for Me?

A facelift can be an excellent procedure for any patient seeking long-term results in facial rejuvenation. This surgery can be ideal for men and women who have signs of aging in the lower face and neck that they would like to soften or improve. In addition to having the necessary concerns typically corrected with a facelift (jowls, loose hanging skin, neck laxity, etc.), patients considering surgery should:

  • Be in good physical health with no uncontrolled medical conditions
  • Have a good understanding of facelift surgery and realistic expectations for the final results
  • Not smoke, or be willing to quit smoking before their facelift
  • Maintain a positive outlook on the procedure

Dr. Chopra will review your medical history, ask you about your goals, and examine your concerns to help you decide whether you could benefit from a facelift. He will also be able to discuss any risks and limitations associated with facelift surgery during your consultation.

Types of Facelift Surgery

There are several facelift procedures that can make you look more refreshed and youthful. The technique utilized depends on your anatomic indications, the severity of your concerns, and the type of outcome you expect to receive.

Deep Plane Facelift

Dr. Chopra offers all forms of a facelift depending on each patient’s unique anatomy. While most patients are candidates for a Deep Plane Facelift or a High SMAS Facelift, other individuals may require an SMASectomy or SMAS Plication. A customized SMAS design allows for a procedure uniquely tailored to fit your facial anatomy. An SMAS facelift addresses the deeper layers of the face, working within the Superficial Musculo-Aponeurotic System (SMAS). This is the approach that allows patients to avoid the frozen or “windswept” look associated with older facelift techniques, and enables surgeons to achieve a subtle, yet powerful result. Rather than just tightening the facial skin, an SMAS facelift carefully repositions the muscle and tissue that support the face. Excess skin is then removed and the remainder is discreetly redraped, avoiding a stretched or over-pulled appearance. Dr. Chopra also improves the recovery process by using a series of nerve blocks, rather than outdated “mummy wrap,” on patients to reduce swelling, enhance comfort, and make it easier to identify potential complications.

Quick Recovery Facelift

Some patients may be candidates for our Quick Recovery Mini Facelift, which is a targeted facial rejuvenation procedure that uses special techniques to reduce swelling and bruising while enhancing recovery and the overall quality of the result. During your consultation, Dr. Chopra will perform a detailed facial analysis, review your unique case, and determine a treatment plan. If the procedure is well-suited to your goals, you will be introduced to our Quick Recovery Mini Facelift and learn the details of surgery. You and Dr. Chopra will discuss how this technique can help you look younger, less tired, and more refreshed within weeks. This specialized procedure can achieve results that are long-lasting, look natural, and require minimal downtime compared to other common techniques. “Quick recovery” also means less swelling, bruising, and discomfort after surgery.

How is Facelift Surgery Performed?

A facelift is usually an outpatient procedure, which means you will be able to return home on the same day as your surgery. At our Minneapolis practice, Dr. Chopra performs a facelift by placing an incision that starts at the sideburn, moves along the front of the ear, and curves behind the earlobe partially into the posterior hairline. The skin is then lifted while the excess is removed, and descended musculature and fatty tissue are repositioned. In certain cases, fat injections may also be utilized to restore lost volume as well as to enhance the contour and fullness of the face. Incisions are closed and all scars are hidden in areas of natural anatomic transition, typically forming nearly imperceptible scars that should remain well concealed.

Can a Facelift Address the Entire Face?

The rejuvenation achieved with facelift surgery is generally limited to the lower face and neck — regions wherein hanging skin and jowling are prominent. The procedure is not designed to address signs of laxity and aging around the eyes or forehead. However, it’s very common for patients to combine their facelift with upper facial procedures to attain a more cohesive outcome. Blepharoplasty and/or brow lift surgery are performed to smooth the skin of the eyelids and brow respectively, often beautifully complementing the lower facial rejuvenation achieved with a facelift. Alternatively, non-surgical options to reduce aging in the upper face may include injectable treatments like BOTOX® Cosmetic, JUVÉDERM®, and Jeuveau™, among other fillers and wrinkle-reducing products. While rhytidectomy cannot address the entire face, there are multiple treatments available at our Minneapolis practice that can make up for the limitations of facelift surgery.

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What is the Recovery Process after a Facelift?

Some mild discomfort is common, but Dr. Chopra will prescribe non-opioid pain medication to help alleviate the worst of the symptoms. You can typically expect one week of light bruising, while swelling tends to subside after the second week. There is no scientific evidence to support placing a full post-surgical “mummy wrap” often depicted in movies during the recovery period, although it is still utilized by many plastic surgeons. These “mummy wraps” can not only draw attention to healing patients who may want to remain discreet about their procedure, but the bandages can also compress delicate veins and lymphatic channels. This can result in prolonged swelling and a higher risk of undue pressure on the skin. However, our quick recovery facelift protocol does require placing a small 1 cm drain behind the ear, which is removed the morning after surgery.

Although you should get plenty of rest after your facelift, we encourage you to practice light ambulation (walking around, moving, etc.) as much as possible. Exercise should be avoided for at least one month, and we recommend refraining from vigorous activity, heavy lifting, and strenuous exercise for at least two months following your quick recovery facelift. Most patients can return to work after two weeks when the majority of swelling has subsided, although recovery can be slightly prolonged if complementary procedures were added to your treatment plan. It can take up to three months to see the full results of your facelift.

Facelift before and after photo
Facelift before and after photo
Facelift before and after photo

*Individual Results May Vary

How Long Does a Facelift Last?

No treatment can completely stop the natural aging process, but facelift patients usually enjoy their results for at least 10 to 15 years depending on their lifestyle habits and the overall quality of their skin. In most cases, the outcome of facelift surgery can be prolonged to some extent by:

  • Applying sunscreen daily and wearing sun protection (sunglasses, hats, etc.) whenever outdoors
  • Not smoking or participating in artificial sun tanning
  • Living a relatively healthy, active lifestyle
  • Using high-quality or prescription-grade skin care products

A facelift offers the longest-lasting facial rejuvenation currently available, and those who received a facelift should generally always look younger than individuals of the same age who did not undergo treatment. Periodically undergoing med spa services like laser skin resurfacing, chemical peels, and facials can also help you further maintain a healthy, glowing complexion.

What is the Best Age for a Facelift?

Dr. Chopra has achieved beautiful facelift results for a wide range of patients, whether they were in their early thirties or late sixties. The idea of a “best age” for facelift surgery is a myth, as factors like your health and whether you show signs of lower facial laxity are considered more important than your actual age when evaluating candidacy. For example, someone in their fifties might still have a good enough skin tone to indicate they would not benefit from a facelift, while a patient who is younger may have greater skin inelasticity that warrants the procedure. In general, Dr. Chopra prioritizes results that honor the natural beauty and character of a patient’s face. For this reason, rhytidectomy can often be successfully performed on individuals regardless of how old they are. Please take a look at our patient gallery to view the outcomes achieved for patients from a variety of different ages.

How Much Does a Facelift Cost?

The cost of a facelift can range depending on the extent of your concerns, your geographic location, and the surgical technique required to achieve your goals. The price of a facelift in Minneapolis is ultimately determined by the details of your treatment plan and we will be able to provide a more personalized quote when Dr. Chopra assesses your needs in a consultation. Please don’t hesitate to ask about our plastic surgery financing options, which can allow qualified patients to pay for their procedure through a series of low monthly payments. Our practice accepts plans through CareCredit® and ALPHAEON™ Credit, which are two very reputable healthcare lending companies that each offer arrangements to suit your personal budget. Please contact our practice if you have any questions about patient financing, or if you would like to speak to one of our team members in person.

Will I Have Noticeable Facelift Scars?

Since incisions are placed in discreet locations around the hairline and ears whenever possible, there is typically little to no visible scarring after a facelift. Dr. Chopra will be able to show you what you can expect regarding facelift scars during your consultation. Although every procedure will leave scarring to some degree, residual signs of surgery can often lighten and fade over time until they’re virtually undetectable — particularly when patients thoroughly follow Dr. Chopra’s instructions on proper wound care.

Can I Get a Non-Surgical Facelift?

While there are many non-surgical treatments that claim to reproduce a facelift without surgery, a rhytidectomy is the gold standard for authentic improvement of sagging skin in the lower face, a deflated look in the mid-face, and/or an undefined jawline. Understandably, there are several marketing terms and techniques referenced online that can confuse a patient seeking facial rejuvenation. Some of these treatments do not even involve an actual lift, such as the non-surgical “facelift” that utilizes the platelet-rich plasma (PRP) in your own blood combined with SkinPen® microneedling to improve your skin quality. Similarly, a “liquid facelift” can be useful, but this technique involves injecting dermal fillers to enhance volume rather than addressing sagging tissues. While improved skin quality and restored facial volume can indeed make patients look younger, non-surgical treatments are not usually effective alternatives to facelift surgery.

Unfortunately, there is no ultrasound therapy, dermal filler, neurotoxin, or radiofrequency treatment that can substitute a facelift. Rhytidectomy requires careful attention to detail, meticulous surgical technique, and exceptional training in plastic surgery.

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Are There Adjunctive Treatments That Can Be Performed With a Facelift?

Non-surgical procedures may not be able to replicate the powerful results achieved by Dr. Chopra’s facelift and neck lift techniques, but other facial rejuvenation treatments can complement — and ultimately enhance — the outcomes of surgery. While patients typically know that a facelift plus neck lift can correct excess facial skin and fat malposition (too much or not enough fat), these procedures don’t address the third way in which the face ages: reduced skin quality over time. The health and appearance of the skin is vitally important to looking more refreshed and youthful as you age, which is why Gryskiewicz & Chopra Twin Cities Cosmetic Surgery offers the full spectrum of skin care before and after your facelift/neck lift.

Before your procedure, you will receive a complimentary facial as well as tips and instructions on maintaining a good skincare regimen. This usually involves using some combination of sunscreen, Vitamin C, and retinol products. Our team will also conduct a complimentary skincare analysis to personally identify areas for potential improvement in the texture, tone, and health of your skin. For some patients, a full skin resurfacing treatment after their facelift/neck lift may be recommended. This involves use of our advanced Sciton® aesthetic laser, which helps smooth fine lines and wrinkles for little to no downtime. Though a facelift resolves many signs of aging, fine lines and wrinkles are caused by an issue with skin quality. For this reason, pairing a facelift/neck lift with adjunctive treatments, such as laser skin resurfacing or our PiXel8-RF® radiofrequency microneedling system, can help you fully address facial aging and create more lasting rejuvenation.

At Gryskiewicz & Chopra Twin Cities Cosmetic Surgery, we offer a full range of non-surgical options that you may want to explore if you would like to enhance the quality of your skin. You can learn more about these options by perusing our medical spa services. These treatments may be performed alone or in conjunction with a facelift for additional skin rejuvenation.

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