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Facelift by Dr. Taylor Pollei

Beautician drawing correction lines on a female patient’s face before facelift

Though we cherish the wisdom that comes with age, most of us would like to delay the visible effects of aging, especially on the face. A facelift could help erase many of the signs of aging and give patients a more youthful appearance.

Signs of Aging in the Face

When the face ages, the forehead expands as hairlines retreat, ears become a little longer because the cartilage in them grows, and the tip of the nose may droop because the connective tissue supporting the nasal cartilage weakens.

In addition, the fat that makes the face look full and healthy eventually loses volume, clumps up, and shifts downward, making features sink and the skin loose and sagging. Time also causes the lower half of the face to gain fat, creating a baggy chin and jowly neck.

Creams and wrinkle serums may help delay the formation of wrinkles in the forehead, but after years of tugging on facial muscles, wrinkles are inevitable.

Benefits of a Facelift

A facelift can help re-suspend and tighten the soft tissue structures that have slowly moved downward. Rather than tighten the skin, the facelift helps pull facial tissue upwards.

A facelift can help address the following issues:

  • Mid-face sagging
  • Nasolabial folds
  • Jowling (Marionette lines)
  • Loose skin and fat under the chin and jaw

Female with white lines on her face before facelift
Young female tugging at her cheek before facelift

Who is a Candidate?

A facelift is a good option for patients with a strong bone foundation, high neckline, thin skin for re-draping, and no risk of wound healing issues.

Patients who smoke, have poorly-controlled diabetes or blood pressure, connective tissue disorders or bleeding disorders have an increased risk of an adverse reaction to the facelift. Regardless of how physically healthy the patient is, it is important to have appropriate expectations, understand the limitations of the procedure, and be emotionally and psychologically healthy.

What to Expect During a Facelift Procedure

Each surgeon has their own approach to a facelift. The technique used in a facelift will also depend on the patient’s facial structures and the goals of the procedure.

During a facelift, the surgeon makes standard incisions along the front edge of the temporal hair tuft (or sideburn) and the ear/cheek junction. These incisions are made so that the skin and soft tissue layer under the skin, known as the “SMAS”, can be elevated, re-oriented, and re-suspended. This helps to soften the nasolabial folds, decrease the creases in the prejowl, and tighten the loose skin under the chin and jaw.

Depending on the goals of the facelift and whether other adjunct procedures are also being performed, the procedure may take up to three hours.

After the Procedure

Patients wake up in the recovery wearing a facial wrap bandage and may go home the same day.

Normal side effects include swelling, numbness, bruising, and a feeling of tightness or tension in the face and neck. These side effects typically resolve within one to two weeks.

The procedure helps turn back the clock on aging, but once the procedure is completed the clock keeps ticking. Patients will notice an improved appearance, but the skin will continue to age over the next five, 10, or 20 years.


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