Facelift Surgery

Quick Summary
Facelift Surgery
Improve visible signs of aging in the face and neck
Tightens sagging skin, re-contours jawline, reduce wrinkles, etc.
Procedure Length
3-6 hours (depending upon extent of procedure)
General or local with IV sedation
Depends extent of procedure and patients health
Face Lift Recovery
Back to work 2-3 weeks. Strenuous activities 3-4 weeks
Final Results
6-12 months (depending upon extent of procedure)
Duration of Results
Approx 8-15 years
Average Facelift Cost
Total average cost of facelift surgery is between $5,000 and $30,000 (depending upon extent of procedure)

What is facelift surgery?

Facelift before and after

Facelift surgery, also known as a rhytidectomy, is a type of plastic surgery that restores a youthful appearance to the face. During the procedure, excess skin and fat is removed while the tissues under the skin of the cheek, jaw, and neck are lifted and contoured. The result is a younger and rejuvenated appearance.

Cost of facelift surgery

The average cost of facelift surgery is $8,005 according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), however this only includes the surgeon’s fee. There are many different factors that can affect the total cost of surgery. Here are some of the top factors:

  • Your Surgeon: The experience and reputation of the surgeon performing your facelift can affect the cost. Highly skilled plastic surgeons may charge a premium for their services.
  • Anesthesia: The type of anesthesia used, the duration of the facelift procedure, and the qualifications of the anesthesiologist can influence the anesthesia fees.
  • Surgical Facility: These fees cover the usage of the operating room and other associated services. To ensure a safe experience, check to see if your surgical facility is certified by the Accreditation Associations for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC).
  • Location Matters: The cost of living and the average pricing for medical services in a particular area can affect the cost of your procedure. In general, urban areas tend to have higher procedure fees.
  • Type of Facelift: The surgical technique, complexity and duration of your procedure will impact the overall cost. For example, a traditional facelift which addresses multiple areas of the face and neck will typically be more expensive than a mini-facelift that targets specific areas.
  • Pre and Postoperative Care: This includes consultations, medical tests, surgical garments, medications, and follow-up appointments.
  • Additional Procedures: Your cost may be higher if you’re considering having other procedures along with your face lift such as eyelid surgery or a brow lift.
  • Insurance: In certain cases, your face lift may be covered by insurance if it is deemed medically necessary. In these cases, insurance may cover a portion of the procedure. However, insurance coverage can vary and specific criteria must be met to qualify.

When taking all these factors into consideration, the total cost of facelift surgery can range from $5,000 to $30,000.

Here is the average cost for different types of facelift procedures.

  1. Traditional Face lift: $10,000 to $30,000 or more.
  2. Mid-Face lift: $6,000 to $12,000.
  3. Mini Face lift: $5,000 to $8,500.

If you are considering face lift surgery, schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon near you. This will provide you with an opportunity to discuss your aesthetic goals and gain a better understanding of the specific costs involved.

If cost is a major concern, learn about the various facelift financing options available to help make your procedure more affordable.

Is the cost covered by insurance?

In general, facelifts are not covered by health insurance. Insurance companies typically view facelift surgery as a cosmetic enhancement rather than a medically necessary procedure. Many insurance companies have policies on what qualifies as a medical necessity (e.g. Aetna’s Scope of Policy)

However, there are some situations where a facelift may be partially covered if it is performed for functional or reconstructive reasons. For example, if you may qualify for coverage if you have excess skin or sagging in the face which obstructs vision or causes functional impairment. This is usually determined on a case-by-case basis and requires documentation from your surgeon.

To see if you qualify for coverage, speak with your plastic surgeon and insurance provider to get a better understanding of your policy.

Is a facelift right for you?

Face Lift Surgery CandidatesYou may be a good candidate for facelift surgery if the following circumstances apply to you:

  • You are between the ages of 35 and 65
  • You are concerned about the appearance of visible signs of aging, including facial lines, wrinkles, sagging skin, and deep facial folds
  • You have some skin elasticity that will allow your skin to adapt to your new facial contours
  • You are realistic about the results that a facelift can deliver; while facelift surgeries provide a significant enhancement, they do not transform facial structure or appearance
  • You are in good health and do not have serious medical issues
  • You are at or near a healthy weight

Cosmetic benefits

Many people who undergo facelift procedures enjoy increased self-confidence after surgery. Some of the cosmetic benefits of a facelift procedure include:

  • Tighter, smoother skin around the face, neck, and jawline
  • Removal of excess fat from the face, particularly the chin area
  • Smoothing/softening of wrinkles or deep creases
  • Elimination of loose skin
  • Tightening of facial muscles

What to know beforehand

  • A facelift will not correct fine lines and wrinkles, sun damage, uneven pigmentation, or other surface imperfections. You’ll need additional treatments to address those concerns.
  • A facelift does not include any work to the eyelids or brow. This concerns can be addressed with a brow lift and/or upper/lower eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty).
  • Facelift surgeries cannot stop the aging process. While results often last for several years, research suggests that some areas (particularly the neck and jowl) are more prone to relapse.
  • Men face unique challenges when it comes to facelifts. Due to the presence of hair in front of their ears (sideburns), it can be harder to achieve a natural appearance after surgery. A facelift typically pulls the skin backward and upward, which can lead to an unnatural pattern of hair growth.
  • Patients who have concerns that are not addressed by facelift surgery may be able to have additional procedures at the same time as their facelift. The goal of multiple procedures is to provide a balanced, youthful look.

Types of facelifts

Facelift procedures can be tailored to address specific concerns, and there are a number of variations based on your specific cosmetic goals.

Different types of facelift surgeries are frequently categorized by the type of incision, the area of the face that is affected, the degree of invasiveness, and the number of tissue layers that are treated.

Broadly speaking, there are three types of facelift procedures:

  • Traditional facelift surgery tightens the forehead area (upper face), the nose and cheek area (midface), and the jawline and laugh lines (lower face). Small incisions are made in front of, within, and behind the ear.
  • Mid-facelift surgery is limited to the nose and cheek area and is particularly appropriate for someone who has lost fullness in the upper cheek area.  Elevating the fat pad in the cheek (the malar fat pad) refreshes the face and leads to a youthful, rejuvenated appearance. There are minimal incisions with this method.
  • Mini-facelift surgery typically aims to correct early signs of aging. A mini-facelift is associated with shorter incisions and less skin removal than a full facelift, but may also be associated with underwhelming results.

“You-name-it” combinations

Because facelift surgeries can be combined with a number of other facial surgeries, many surgeons mix-and-match techniques in order to provide patients with the most aesthetically pleasing outcome.

These “you-name-it” combination facelift surgeries, offer patients the chance to address any concern they may have, but because of the inconsistent terminology there is a risk that the patient and the surgeon may not be on the same page in terms of the exact procedures that are going to be used.

It is imperative that you clearly describe what your goals and expectations are for your facelift during an initial consultation. Equally as important, is for your surgeon to clearly describe what he or she intends to do during the surgery. This will circumvent potential sources of miscommunication due to inconsistent terminology.

Recovery timeline

Each person will have a somewhat unique recovery experience, and there are a number of factors that may influence how long your facelift recovery will take, including:

  • Type/extent of facelift surgery
  • Whether additional procedures were performed
  • Your age
  • Your overall health
  • Post-surgery care

Learn more about the facelift recovery time and tips on how to ensure optimal results.

When will you see results?

The final, stable results of your facelift will be visible within 3-6 months after the surgery. Results of facelift surgery can be expected to last for 5-10 years, but a facelift cannot stop the normal aging process. Some people elect to have subsequent facelift surgeries or other procedures within a decade of their initial surgery.

How long do facelift results last?

In general, the results of a well-done facelift can be expected to last over 5 years. There are a number of factors that can contribute to how well (or poorly) your skin ages. Steps you should take to maximize the longevity of your facelift include:

  • Wear sunscreen every day
  • Maintain a skincare regimen
  • Avoid smoking and drinking
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Exercise regularly

People who undergo facelift surgery at a younger age (before substantial signs of aging become apparent) are more likely to have longer-lasting results.

Non-surgical facelift alternatives

There are a number of non-surgical alternatives to facelift surgery that can provide some degree of facial rejuvenation. Among the most effective techniques are:

  • Volumizers, including dermal fillers and fat transfer, restore a plump appearance to hollow eyes, cheeks, and lips
  • Skin tighteners, including lasers, radiofrequency, ultrasound, mesotherapy/needling, and infrared technologies can stimulate collagen growth
  • Neuromodulators like Botox paralyze facial muscles, which can allow elevating muscles around the eyebrows to lift while simultaneously preventing further wrinkle development
  • Muscle relaxants can relax depressor muscles in the face, allowing elevating muscles to partially lift facial tissues

Non-surgical alternatives have proven to be valuable in many cases, but they have yet to deliver the same level of result that facelift surgery reliably produces. Furthermore, they often require multiple sessions in order to produce noticeable results that are often short-lasting. Facelifts remain the undisputed gold-standard for facial rejuvenation.

Tips for choosing a plastic surgeon

To attain the desired results, it is important to carefully select your face lift surgeon. The surgeon you choose, along with their recommended surgical approach, significantly influences patient satisfaction. Seek out a surgeon with substantial experience in face lift specifically. Ensure that your surgeon is board-certified and holds membership in one or more of the following organizations:

  • The American Board of Plastic Surgery
  • American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
  • The American Society of Plastic Surgeons
  • The Aesthetic Society

Are you ready to take the next step? Find experienced plastic surgeons or facial plastic surgeons near you.

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