Experience. Each year, Mayo Clinic cosmetic surgery specialists perform hundreds of face-lifts.
Expertise. At Mayo Clinic, face-lifts are done only by board-certified doctors specially trained in facial plastic surgery. If the need arises, you have access to all other Mayo specialists.
Time for you. Your Mayo Clinic specialist will take the time to discuss options and answer your questions about face-lifts.
Efficient care. At Mayo Clinic, your appointments are coordinated, so you usually can complete your evaluation and treatment in a few days.
A face-lift is cosmetic surgery that tightens loose, sagging skin. The procedure is most commonly done on people ages 40 to 70.
You may be a candidate for face-lift if you have:
- A deep crease or fold running from the corner of your nose to the corner of your mouth
- An undefined jawline with excess skin (jowls)
- Loose skin and excess fatty tissue at the neck
The results of face-lift surgery are visible in the lower two-thirds of your face. Reversing changes in the eye or forehead area may require eyelid surgery or a forehead lift. Removing fine wrinkles that are a natural part of aging, such as those around your lips and eyes, may require a chemical peel or laser resurfacing.
A face-lift is usually done under general anesthesia, but sometimes under local anesthesia. The surgery is done through incisions made in skin creases and hair-bearing areas in the scalp above the ears. Mayo Clinic surgeons make every effort to minimize and hide scars in and around the hairline.
The surgeon moves the skin and often the deeper tissues and muscles to achieve the best possible symmetry (balance). Excess skin is removed and the incisions are closed. Face-lift surgery takes three to five hours and usually requires a one-day hospital stay.
At Mayo Clinic, you receive close follow-up care to ensure proper healing. You may experience bruising for up to three weeks as well as swelling for at least four to six weeks. You can expect to return to work in about two to four weeks and resume exercise in four to five weeks.
The results of a face-lift usually last five to seven years, depending on your exposure to sun and tobacco products and your genetic makeup.
As with any surgery, face-lift has risks. These can include:
- Problems related to anesthesia
- Ear numbness, facial numbness or paralysis
- Numbness or weakness in moving the eyebrow or corner of the mouth (usually subsides within weeks, but may last for several months or, rarely, may be permanent)
- Hair loss or changes in the hairline
- Skin discoloration or irregularity
- Blood under the skin (hematoma), fluid under the skin (seroma), blood clots in veins (deep vein thrombosis) or lungs (pulmonary embolism)
- Partial healing of scars, especially if you smoke
Mayo Clinic specialists work with you to minimize these risks. Your Mayo doctor will recommend:
- Abstaining from all nicotine for at least six weeks before and after surgery. Cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, and nicotine gum and patches reduce blood circulation and hinder wound healing.
- Avoiding secondhand smoke.
- Controlling blood pressure. High blood pressure may contribute to or cause bleeding.
- Avoiding aspirin, vitamin E and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant medications for three weeks before and after surgery. These medications may cause bleeding.
Mayo Clinic: Answers you can trust
At Mayo Clinic, we assemble a team of specialists who take the time to listen and thoroughly understand your health issues and concerns. We tailor the care you receive to your personal health care needs. You can trust our specialists to collaborate and offer you the best possible outcomes, safety and service.
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit medical institution that reinvests all earnings into improving medical practice, research and education. We're constantly involved in innovation and medical research, finding solutions to improve your care and quality of life. Your doctor or someone on your medical team is likely involved in research related to your condition.
Our patients tell us that the quality of their interactions, our attention to detail and the efficiency of their visits mean health care — and trusted answers — like they've never experienced.
Why Choose Mayo Clinic
What Sets Mayo Clinic Apart
Aug. 16, 2012
- Thorne CH, et al. Grabb and Smith's Plastic Surgery. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Wolters Kluwer Health Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2007:1.
- Bailey BJ, et al. Head & Neck Surgery — Otylaryngology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2006:1.
- Face lift. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/Cosmetic-Procedures/Facelift.html. Accessed May 29, 2012.
- Facelift surgery. The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. http://www.aafprs.org/patient/procedures/rhytidectomy.html. Accessed May 29, 2012.
- Arroyave E. Understanding Cosmetic Procedures: Surgical and Nonsurgical. Clifton Park, N.Y.: Milady; 2006:99.
- Bite U (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 3, 2012.