As the old saying goes, “You’re only as old as you feel.” But what about how you look? If you look in the mirror and see someone who isn’t as youthful and vibrant as you feel, you may be a candidate for a facelift.

“A facelift procedure is designed to refresh the jaw line and the neckline,” explains Constance Barone, MD, FACS, a plastic surgeon practicing in San Antonio, Texas.

Choosing to undergo a facelift is a way to “wake-up” your appearance. A facelift procedure — or rhytidectormy — can have wonderful results for patients, so long as a patient has realistic expectations and a healthy lifestyle before undergoing the procedure. Many patients who opt to undergo a facelift procedure feel happier and more confident afterwards.

Facelifts Explained

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, a facelift is a way to lessen the signs of aging that may be visible on the face and neck.

The ASPS says the following signs of aging can be alleviated by a successful facelift procedure:

  • Sagging in the face
  • Creases below the lower eyelids
  • Creases along the nose, which may extend to the corners of the mouth
  • Fat that has fallen or is displaced
  • Loss of muscle tone in the lower face, which can create “jowls” on some people
  • Loose skin and fatty deposits beneath the chin

Other procedures can be performed along with a facelift procedure in order to optimize results.

The ASPS cautions against expecting a fundamentally different appearance or all signs of aging to disappear after the procedure because those expectations aren’t realistic.

How Facelifts Are Performed

Facelift procedures are sometimes performed under general anesthesia, meaning that patients are more comfortable and sedated. However, they can also be performed under light or local anesthesia.

Because the level of change and needs of each patient are different, there are several types of facelifts.

  • The traditional facelift involves an incision that begins around the hairline, continues around the earsand ends in the lower scalp, according to the ASPS. It may also include an incision under the chin.
  • A limited-incision facelift includes shorter incisions near the temples. The incision continues around the ear and may also include incisions within the lower eyelids or upper lip.
  • A neck lift is the option for patients who want to reduce the appearance of sagging jowls. The incision for this procedure often wraps around the ear.

According to the National Institutes of Health, a well-performed facelift will leave little visible scarring. In general, it is difficult to see the true results of the procedure until the bruising and swelling associated with the surgery fade.

Possible Facelift Complications

While facelifts performed by seasoned, board-certified plastic surgeons generally leave patients thrilled with their results, there are possible complications associated with plastic surgery. According to the National Institutes of Health, those can include:

  • Unpleasant scarring
  • Unevenness
  • Irregular skin shape
  • Changes in skintone
  • Bleeding and infection

Facelift Results

The more youthful appearance and well-rested look that appears after a patient completely heals from a successful facelift is worth the effort for many patients.

The results from a facelift procedure can be long-lasting. Patients can improve their results by living a healthy lifestyle, which includes avoiding tobacco products and wearing sunscreen daily. Those steps can help lessen any further signs of aging and keep patients looking vibrant for years to come.