Facelift Surgery

Determining the right surgical approach for rejuvenating your facial appearance can be a complex process that is best navigated with an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon. Men and women who are concerned with excess skin and laxity in the mid- and lower-face often seek the assistance of Dr. Jeffrey Copeland to find out which facial plastic surgery procedures may be appropriate for rejuvenating their appearance. Dr. Copeland performs several different versions of facelift surgery to provide customized aesthetic solutions for patients.

What is Facelift Surgery?

Facelift surgery is a plastic surgery procedure that lifts and tightens sagging facial skin, as well as deeper tissue, to rejuvenate the appearance of the lower two-thirds of the face. An individualized facelift can diminish the prominence of deep creases, wrinkles, and jowls for a younger appearance. When facelift is combined with neck lift techniques, Dr. Copeland selectively removes excess fat from under the neck skin (either directly or with liposuction), tightens loose skin, and repositions neck musculature to create both a more youthful-looking neck and leaner facial profile. Another essential component of facial rejuvenation is the correction of facial volume depletion via fat transfer or dermal fillers. Volume restoration should be accomplished with respect to the three-dimensional characteristics of the face for an optimal outcome.
One facelift approach which has gained popularity in recent years is the short-scar facelift technique. Less invasive than the traditional facelift procedure, short-scar facelift is typically best suited for patients who are experiencing mild to moderate facial skin and tissue laxity. Patients who opt for this type of surgery are generally attracted to the reduced post-surgical recovery time and minimal scarring associated with the procedure. It is important to note that individuals with moderate to severe skin, tissue, and muscular laxity are often better served by a more extensive facelift—or other procedures such as transferring one’s own fat as a graft—to achieve the comprehensive three-dimensional rejuvenation they desire.

Who is a Facelift Candidate?

In order to be a good candidate for facelift surgery, one must be in good overall health and capable of healing properly after the procedure. Facelift surgery is often the right choice for men and women who display one or many of the following characteristics of facial aging:

  • Sagging cheeks
  • Jowls along the jawline
  • Facial skin laxity
  • Muscular bands along the neck
  • Loss of jawline definition

During the consultation process, when Dr. Copeland evaluates patients for a facelift, he thoroughly examines the face, discusses the patient’s areas of concern, and reviews their medical history. Based on his findings he can potentially recommend a facelift using a number of various techniques.

Like most people considering facial rejuvenation, Dr. Jeffrey Copeland’s patients have expressed an interest in facial rejuvenation procedures that are minimally invasive and from which they could enjoy a quick recovery. To provide this kind of care, Dr. Copeland initially began using a technique called the Minimal Access Cranial Suspension (MACS) technique, developed by two Belgian plastic surgeons. Since that time, he has refined his surgical choices with additional short-scar face lift techniques that can produce pleasing results for a wide variety of patients.

Patients who are not good candidates for a facelift may be better served with non-surgical treatments such as BOTOX® Cosmetic injections, fat grafting, dermal fillers, or laser skin resurfacing procedures. Dr. Copeland will always suggest the treatment plan that is well-suited to your health status, needs, cosmetic goals, priorities, and budget.

What Are the Benefits of the Short-Scar Facelift Technique?

Essentially, a short-scar facelift is a revised, less-invasive facelift procedure, which can provide accelerated healing and less scarring than a traditional facelift. This less extensive approach makes it possible for the procedure to be done with oral sedation and local anesthesia, rather than general anesthesia. The abbreviated incision for a short-scar facelift follows along the front border of the ear from the attachment of the lobe up toward the temple and may extend slightly into the hairline above the ear, and in the crease behind the ear. Through this incision, Dr. Copeland can access and tighten the deep connective tissue and musculature to provide for lasting lift. Skin is then smoothed gently upward and the excess is removed to create more youthful-looking facial contours.

The exact recovery after a short-scar facelift can vary from patient to patient depending upon the depth and degree of enhancement performed during the surgery. Generally speaking, patients are back to their regular activities within one to two weeks. Patients with mild to moderate facial laxity typically achieve the best results from a short-scar facelift, while patients with more severe laxity that extends into the neck region may be better served by a more extensive facelift or a combination of procedures.

Dr. Copeland has noted that the short-scar facelift procedure is gaining popularity as people seek rejuvenation that is both effective and reasonably priced. The less invasive nature of the procedure makes the likelihood of significant complications lower and is therefore very safe. His patients report that they have enjoyed the results and many say that it was easier than they thought it would be. During a consultation appointment, Dr. Copeland can perform a thorough examination and discuss the most appropriate options for achieving the results you desire.

What Happens During the Facelift Procedure?

These facelift procedures are usually performed in the office under mild sedation from oral medication and with local anesthetic. The lifting procedure is often done in combination with direct tightening of the neck muscles, known as a platysmaplasty or neck lift. The procedure takes advantage of the strength and pliability of the SMAS tissue which holds stitches and allows lifting and reshaping when stitches are tightened. There is typically some advancement of the skin upward and backward, which makes it necessary to remove some redundant skin as well. Occasionally, liposuction may be used in the neck as well. It is important for patients to realize that this is a real operation and provides the kind of results that can only be obtained with an operation. Techniques like light therapy, lasers, and radio frequency treatments have their place, but cannot produce as much benefit as facelift surgery.

The procedure usually takes four hours, depending on the needs of the patient and the techniques that are used. If additional procedures like eyelid surgery or fat grafting are completed in the same sitting, the duration of the entire process is longer.

What is Recovery after Facelift Surgery Like?

Dr. Copeland’s patients typically go home shortly after the procedure, where they are most likely to get good rest and attention. He advises patients to set up a recovery area prior to surgery with all of the things they will need. Keeping the head elevated and applying ice at the appropriate intervals is key. Most patients find that having a friend or family member close by for assistance is very helpful in the first few days.

Most patients report little pain after the procedure and are often taking only over-the-counter pain medication within one or two days.

Following facelift surgery, patients may experience varying degrees of swelling, discomfort, and bruising. To help mitigate these effects, it is important to follow any post-operative instructions closely. The extent of the procedure likely determines the length and nature of the recovery. Stitches come out in about five days and bruising can last from a few days to two weeks. Most patients can resume their usual activities, minus vigorous physical activity, within a few days.

Dr. Copeland makes sure that it is very easy for patients to contact him after the procedure for any questions or problems that might occur.

How Long Do Facelift Results Last?

For many patients, the effects of a facelift can last 5 to 10 years. To help preserve the desired appearance, patients should stick to a healthy and active lifestyle. Excessive weight fluctuations over time can negatively affect facelift outcomes, so it is important to maintain a stable weight through a nutritious diet and exercise routine. Additionally, by adhering to a good skin care and sunscreen regimen, patients can further protect their skin and help minimize the natural effects of aging and the environment for as long as possible.

What Will My Facelift Scars Look Like?

Dr. Copeland’s experience and expertise in facelift surgery, along with the less-invasive techniques he often uses, enable him to minimize visible scarring. The majority of Dr. Copeland’s patients find that scar visibility is not a problem since their incisions were well-placed to blend within the hairline and other easily concealed/camouflaged areas. At first the incisions may appear more reddish and raised, but as they heal further and the scar tissue matures, their coloration generally fades and texture flattens. If you care for your incisions properly after surgery, take your antibiotics as advised, and attend all follow-up appointments you greatly diminish the possibility of infection, which is a complication that can result in more prominent scars. Those concerned about post-surgical scarring can ask Dr. Copeland for photos of his facelift patients’ results to see how well their incisions have healed.

Is a Non-Surgical Facelift Possible?

Patients who may not be a candidate for a traditional facelift or those who may not need invasive treatment to accomplish their aesthetic goals may wish to explore non-surgical options. Some signs of aging, such as wrinkles and lost volume, can be addressed with non-surgical treatments administered by a qualified provider. BOTOX® Cosmetic injections can help relax wrinkles in the forehead, around the eyes, and between the eyebrows for a more refreshed and youthful look. Other injectables, such as JUVÉDERM® and Restylane®, can help renew the skin’s appearance and smooth out fine creases. Other less invasive options for facial rejuvenation include laser skin resurfacing and Genius™ Intelligent radiofrequency microneedling.

It is important to keep in mind that, while a “non-surgical facelift” can offer satisfactory outcomes for many individuals, non-surgical treatments typically do not produce results that are as significant or last as long as a surgical facelift.

Are There Alternatives to Facelift Surgery?

There are some alternatives to facelift surgery that may be worthy of consideration for patients with certain concerns and treatment goals. Procedures such as facial fat grafting, cosmetic injectables, or other options may be recommended for effective facial rejuvenation. For instance: fat grafting can often successfully address conditions such as “hollowness” or lack of volume in certain facial features, as well as wrinkles and creases. The treatment utilizes liposuction to take excess fat from another area of the body, typically from regions such as the abdomen, thighs, or buttocks. That fat is then prepared before being transferred to regions of the face for rejuvenation. Often considered a “natural filler” option, fat grafting may be a viable alternative to a facelift for the right candidate, or it can serve as a complement to facelift surgery for more comprehensive results.

While fat grafting, injectables, and dermal fillers can combat signs of aging, those treatments will not offer the same type of results as a surgical facelift. Non-surgical options cannot remove excess skin, correct inelasticity, and produce results that are as long-lasting. For patients with more significant jowls and severe folds or creases in the lower region of the face, the facelift procedure may be the better option.

How Much Does a Facelift Cost?

In general, the cost of a short-scar facelift with platysmaplasty (neck lifting) at our practice starts at approximately $10,600. Each facelift surgery is planned to create optimal results for each patient based on their unique needs, concerns, and goals. This customized approach means that every surgery is different and prices can vary, making it important to attend a consultation with Dr. Copeland to find out how much your facelift will cost. Many factors can impact the price of your facelift, including:

  • The recommended facelift technique
  • The complexity of the overall procedure
  • Additional procedures and techniques (i.e. neck liposuction or eyelid surgery)

After your consultation with Dr. Copeland, you will have the opportunity to review the price estimate for the surgical plan he recommends. You can also learn about the payment types we accept (including major credit cards) and plastic surgery financing options we offer through CareCredit®. CareCredit® provides approved applicants with many ways to make the cost of elective procedures more affordable and convenient. CareCredit®’s online application process makes it quick and easy to find out if you qualify.

If you are interested in short-scar facelift or any other facial rejuvenation procedures, contact our cosmetic surgery office today to schedule a consultation. During your consultation, Dr. Copeland can thoughtfully review all of the details of your aesthetic concerns and perform a thorough physical examination to formulate the most effective plan for accomplishing your cosmetic goals.