How Does a Facelift Work?

Jun 12, 2023

Our skin loses its elasticity with age, which often leads to sagging. Hence, many people opt for a facelift to address such skin issues. This cosmetic procedure addresses visible signs of aging on the face and neck. But how does a facelift work?

If you would like to be informed more about this type of surgical intervention, keep reading. In this post, we will get into all details, including recovery time and benefits and risks of this type of procedure.

Facial Rejuvenation Surgery Guide - How Does a Facelift Work

Source: / Photo Contributor: Space_Cat

How Does a Facelift Work?

During a facial rejuvenation surgery, the surgeon elevates the skin and tightens the underlying tissues. They reposition the skin’s facial muscles, remove excess skin, and re-drape the facial skin on the new contours.

The surgical procedure is designed to lift and tighten the skin and reduce sagging on the lower part of the face and the skin.

Explaining How Facelift Works


To ensure comfort during the intervention, the surgeon will recommend what type of anesthesia is best for you. You may need to undergo general anesthesia or receive intravenous sedation. However, local anesthesia and sedation can also be used in specific, less extensive procedures.


The severity of the incision depends on the type of facelift that will be performed and the degree of changes you desire. Generally, the surgeon elevates and separates the skin from the connective tissues and muscles during the procedure.

They then sculpt the fat in the face and reposition the deep facial tissues. The surgeon then removes excess skin. The facial skin is then positioned over the new contours to give the face a potentially youthful appearance.

The incisions are closed with sutures and bandages, which you may need to remove after a few days. There also might be a small tube under the skin of both ears to drain excess fluid.

For a traditional facelift, the incision usually begins at the temple of the hairline, extending to the front of the ear all the way to behind the ears and the lower scalp.

A limited incision begins right above the ear and goes to the front of the ear without continuing to the lower scalp. It is designed for patients considering this surgery at an earlier age and who don’t require a more aggressive surgery.

Neck lift incisions begin at the front of the earlobe and go around the ear. They continue all the way to the lower scalp. Additionally, there is a small incision under the chin and around the ears.


Source: / Photo Contributor: Inna photographer

Why Choose Facelifting?

With age, it is common to notice visual signs of aging on our skin and neck. The skin becomes loose, and the shape of the face changes. Daily life stresses, sun exposure, and the effects of gravity also contribute to visible aging signs on the skin.

Many non-invasive procedures may address such skin issues, but only a few might provide long-lasting results. Rhytidectomy, known as a facelift, is a cosmetic procedure that includes repositioning and removing excess skin and tightening tissues.

As a result, it may provide results such as rejuvenated skin and a younger appearance. This procedure addresses skin issues on the lower part of the face, the neck area, and, in some cases, the mid-face area.

Typically, a facelift surgery takes 3 to 6 hours, and the results might last from 5 to 10 years. A board-certified plastic surgeon performs this type of cosmetic procedure.

Who Is an Ideal Facelift Candidate?

The ideal candidates for a facelift procedure include healthy individuals without underlying medical conditions that can interfere with the facelift procedure.

While there is no age limit, this type of procedure is popular among individuals from 40 and up. The prospective candidates should also have realistic expectations regarding the results.

Who Is an Ideal Facelift Candidate

Source: / Photo Contributor: puhhha

Types of Facelifts

The types of facelift procedures include:

  • Traditional facelift 
  • Deep plane
  • SMAS facelift
  • Mini facelift
  • Mid-facelift
  • S-lift 
  • Jawline rejuvenation
  • Skin only facelift 
  • Temporal/brow lift
  • Ponytail facelift
  • Non-surgical facelift (vampire and liquid facelift, thread lifts)

Types of Facelift Surgeries Explained

Compared to a mini facelift in Lexington from a local provider and other similar procedures, the standard facelift is more invasive. Generally, the less invasive the facelift is, the fewer effects it may provide.

In some cases, patients undergo other procedures at the same time as the facelift surgery for additional results.

Deep plane facelift

During the deep plane facelift in Lexington , the plastic surgeon elevates the muscular layer of the face, together with the skin and the fat, as a single unit.

This type of surgery aims to simultaneously address skin issues in multiple face areas, including sagging skin at the chin and the neck area.

SMAS facelift 

This type of facelift aims to address skin issues on the lower two-thirds of your face. A SMAS facelift is a variation of the traditional one and involves tightening the muscles and removing excess fat from the lower face.


This is a faster and less invasive cosmetic surgery. It focuses on lifting the lower face and neck area. It is recommended for patients with less skin laxity who want a youthful look without extensive surgery.

The patients undergoing this type of facelift typically require less time to recover. Compared with a full facelift, the mini-facelift requires local anesthesia and sedation. For this surgery, a smaller S-shape incision is made around the ears.


As the name suggests, mid-facelift focuses on the middle section of the face, specifically the cheek area. 

Throughout the mid-facelift, the surgeon repositions the fat and tightens the muscles in the cheek area without adding volume to plump them up.

Jawline rejuvenation

This type of surgical procedure involves extracting excess fat from the neck area. During this procedure, the surgeon reshapes the jawline.

Only skin facelift

This type of surgery focuses on the lower face and the neck area. The goal of this facelift is to remove excess fat, lift the skin, and contour the muscles for smoother skin.


The S-lift is less invasive and targets the neck and jowls. It features small S-shaped incisions. The surgeon lifts the skin and tightens the muscles and tissue to achieve wrinkle-free skin.

Brow lift

This type of facelift targets wrinkles around the brow area and eyebrows that hang too low. It involves a small incision along your hairline. The brow lift is an alternative to the more invasive eyebrow lift procedure.

Liquid facelift

This type of facial rejuvenation procedure is becoming more and more popular. Liquid facelift is a non-surgical facelift that involves the use of injectable neuromodulators and dermal fillers.

How Do You Prepare for Facelift Surgery?

Pre-operation procedure

Initially, the plastic surgeon performs a medical exam to ensure that you can undergo such a surgery. You might need to disclose information about any medical conditions and express whether you have had any previous surgeries.

Throughout the examination, mention any complications from previous surgeries, if any. Equally important is to mention any medications you regularly use, including herbal medications and dietary supplements.

The surgeon then may photograph your face from different angles and examine your skin’s quality and bone structure. They will explain how cosmetic surgery will change your appearance and what issues it doesn’t address.

During the examination time, it is essential to communicate with your surgeon. Express which area you would like them to focus on and address any concerns or questions that you have.

Pre-operation procedure

Source: / Photo Contributor: Dmytro Zinkevych

What to do before a facelift surgery

The facelift is a surgical operation, so it is important to be careful before and after it. Your surgeon may also ask you to get a blood test and apply certain products to your face.

On the morning of your surgery, make sure to wash your face with a germicidal soap. You may also need to stop using certain medications temporarily.

It is recommended to avoid eating the night before the surgery. Additionally, you will need to stop smoking if you are a smoker.

Post-operative procedure

After the facelift surgery, it is recommended to rest and sleep with your head elevated. If you experience pain, you will need to take the pain medication prescribed for you and use ice packs to reduce swelling.

After the surgery, you will make follow-up appointments. During these, the surgeon removes the drainage tubes and applies antibiotic ointments. About a week after your surgery, they will further remove the stitches and monitor your progress.

What to Expect After a Facelift Surgery

After cosmetic surgery, it is common to experience bruising and swelling. However, they are typically unnoticeable 10-14 days after the surgery. After the swelling goes down, you may notice visible results and changes in your appearance.

As with any other surgical procedure, a facial rejuvenation procedure comes with risks. Talk with your surgeon about any potential risks from the surgery to make sure that this type of procedure is right for you.

You must also follow the surgeon’s instructions and practice self-care to avoid any issues. Generally, the patients take around two weeks to do regular daily activities. However, it might take longer until you can start exercising.

In addition, you can implement certain lifestyle changes to extend the surgery results. These include protecting your skin with sunscreen and drinking plenty of water.

We also recommend eating a healthy and balanced diet and exercising on a regular basis. Make sure to get enough rest each day to reduce the appearance of fine lines on your face.


A common question many individuals who want to address saggy skin is – how does a facelift work? This type of procedure features removing excess skin from the face and neck area and tightening the facial tissues.

There are multiple types of facelift procedures. Hence, you must consult your surgeon to decide the best option based on your goals. The surgery can improve signs of aging on the skin and, by doing so, increase your confidence.