Facelifts are designed to reverse the signs of aging. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, some of the most prominent signs of aging that can be lessened with plastic surgery include sagging of the face and the appearance of jowls. Others include:

  • Sagging
  • Creasing around the eyelids and the corners of the mouth
  • Displaced fat deposits
  • Loss of muscle tone

In general, people between 40 and 70 make the best candidates for these procedures. However, they can sometimes be performed on older patients so long as they have elasticity left in their skin.

In Good Health

Another factor many plastic surgeons require is that the patient is in overall good health. Because a facelift is an elective procedure, the risks of performing the operation on a patient who isn’t healthy overall are too great. Patients who are healthy, however, generally recover well from the procedure.

“The number one thing to consider is their overall health,” says Constance Barone, MD, FACS, a plastic surgeon practicing in San Antonio, Texas. “Whether or not they have a history of a heart condition or an autoimmune condition is important to know.”

It is also important for patients who undergo the procedure to have good elasticity in their skin, Dr. Barone says. Overall tone and texture is also important, but some of those issues can be corrected through laser and other treatments.

A patient’s physical health isn’t the only qualification. Because a facelift procedure alters a patient’s appearance, many plastic surgeons want to ensure their patients are also mentally healthy. It’s also important for patients to go into a facelift procedure with realistic expectations about the outcome. Facelift procedures do give patients more youthful, well-rested appearances, according to the ASPS. However, the procedure most likely won’t make you look like a teenager again. In order to be a successful facelift patient, it is vital to understand that fact.

For some patients, facelifts can be performed in conjunction with other procedures, such as rhinoplasty or dermal filler injections in order to create the look a patient desires. Because each patient’s needs vary, it is important for patients to choose a surgeon they feel comfortable communicating and collaborating with before and after the surgery.

Also, it is advised that facelift procedure candidates cease smoking before the surgery.

Knowledge Is Power

Many plastic surgeons believe an educated patient is a better candidate. Before undergoing any elective operation, including facelifts, it is important for patients to understand not only the possible results, but also the risks and complications they might face after the procedure.

Some of the common complications following a facelift procedure may include bleeding or infection. Also, some patients may experience a reaction to the anesthesia administered before the procedure to ensure the patient’s comfort.

According to the ASPS, other possible complications may include:

  • Unpleasant scarring
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Changes in skin texture
  • Changes in the shape of the face

After the surgery, experts advise maintaining a healthy lifestyle — including giving up tobacco use and applying sunscreen. Good candidates for plastic surgery understand that these steps are ways to ensure the results of a facelift procedure are as effective and long-lasting as possible.