How Long Does Facelift Surgery Take

Jul 11, 2023

Are you exploring the idea of cosmetic surgery, specifically facelift surgery? You may be wondering, how long does facelift surgery take? 

In this article, we’ll provide a simple and easy-to-understand overview of the timeframe for facelift surgery. We got you whether you’re considering the surgical procedure or want to learn more. We’ll go over the duration of facelift procedure and everything you need to know about the process.

Everything You Need to Know About How Long Does Facelift Surgery Take

Source: Photo Contributor: Gorodenkoff

How Long Does Facelift Surgery Take

Whether you’re curious about facelift surgery or considering it, you might wonder how long does facelift surgery take.

The time it takes to do a facelift may depend on many things, including the level of the procedure, the techniques that are being used, and the surgeon’s experience. The average time taken for facelift surgery might be around three to six hours

However, it is important to note that each situation may be unique and may vary from patient to patient.

Factors Affecting the Duration of Facelift Procedure

You might be wondering how long does a facelift last. It’s important to note that a few factors can determine the duration. Here are some of the things that could influence the length of facelift operation.

Technique used

The facelift technique might affect the length of the facelift surgery. They may have different levels of complexity and involve different working approaches. Here are some of those techniques. 

Traditional facelift

The traditional facelift is the one that we explained before. This operation may take longer than others because the surgeon may tighten muscles, remove excess skin and fat, and lift the facial tissues.

Mini facelift

A mini facelift surgery is a less invasive option than a traditional facelift. This technique may be used to target specific areas, like the lower face and neck. The duration of this technique might be shorter than the traditional one. 

Deep plane facelift

The deep plane facelift is a technique that lifts the muscles, fat, and skin as a single unit to deal with more areas on the face at the same time. Because of the complexity of this technique, it may take around three to five hours to perform. 

SMAS facelift

SMAS stands for superficial musculoaponeurotic system. This is the muscular layer of the face. This technique involves tightening the muscles, trimming excess skin and fat, and renewing the cheeks and lower face. This technique might take several hours to perform.


A mid-facelift should focus on the middle of the face, including the cheeks and lower eyelids. This technique may treat sagging cheeks and midface hollowing. The length of this technique may be around 60 to 90 minutes.

Additional procedures

Sometimes, patients may choose to combine facelift surgery with other procedures like neck lift or eyelid surgery. Adding these procedures may make the procedure longer.

Surgeon’s experience

The surgeon’s experience and skill may also influence the duration of facelift procedure. Experienced surgeons who have done many facelift surgeries may be faster.

It’s important to note that rushing the surgery to save time may negatively impact the surgical procedure. Your surgeon should spend the necessary time to guarantee that the operation is performed properly and with attention to detail, even if it extends the duration of the operation.

Surgeon’s experience

Source: Photo Contributor: Gorodenkoff

Facelift Surgery

Now, let’s explain what facelift surgery is. Facelift surgery, also known as rhytidectomy, is a popular cosmetic surgery focused on refreshing the face and neck. The surgery addresses signs of aging. It should deal with things like saggy skin, wrinkles, and jowls, giving the face a more youthful and refreshing look.

Because it is an important surgery, choosing a reliable and certified plastic surgeon is crucial. The surgeon’s expertise and experience may impact the procedure’s safety and success.

A certified surgeon should have the necessary training, skills, and knowledge to perform facelift surgery properly and safely. These surgeons should be up-to-date on the most recent procedures and techniques in the field, making sure you get the best care possible.

If you’re interested in facelift surgery, you should choose a reliable surgeon. They should take the time to thoroughly explain the procedure, explain any concerns, and guide you through the pre-operative and post-operative processes.

The procedure of getting a facelift surgery


The first step of facelift surgery should be a consultation with a certified plastic surgeon. You should discuss your concerns, goals, and expectations during this appointment.

The surgeon may examine your facial anatomy, skin, and medical records to decide if you’re fit for facelift surgery. They should also explain the different facelift techniques available and recommend the one that’s best for your specific needs.

Preparing for surgery

After you decide to have a facelift, your surgeon should give you detailed instructions on preparing for the surgery. This may include recommendations for avoiding things like smoking and following routines about how to take care of your skin. Following these recommendations is important to ensure a safe and effective surgery.


Facelift surgery may be done under general anesthesia to ensure your comfort during the procedure. Depending on your surgery, local anesthesia may be a good option as well.


The surgeon should plan and make incisions depending on the chosen facelift procedure. They may be strategically positioned to lower visible scarring. Common incision locations may be done along the hairline at the temples, around the ear, and sometimes under the chin.

Working with the tissue

After the incisions, the surgeon might lift and adjust the facial tissues. Besides adjusting the facial tissues, the muscles and excess fat may be removed or repositioned.

Skin redraping

After working with the tissues, the surgeon might redrape the skin over the new facial contours. Excess skin may be removed, and the remaining skin should be sutured to give a smoother and tighter look. Sutures are used to close the incisions.

Dressings and bandages

When this is done, the surgeon may apply bandages or dressings to protect the surgical area. This should help the area heal properly.


After the surgery, you may be moved to a recovery area where medical professionals can closely monitor you.


Source: Photo Contributor: Dragon Images

Things to Consider Before Doing the Surgery

Before you decide on doing this cosmetic surgery, you should think about a few things to make sure you’re making the right decision. Here are some things to consider before getting a facelift surgery.

Realistic expectations

It’s important to have realistic expectations about the results of facelift surgery. While a facelift surgery may improve the signs of aging, it might not stop the natural aging process or make you look like a different person.

Understanding the procedure

You should feel free to ask your surgeon anything regarding the surgery. You could discuss the details of the operations, including the incision placement, anesthesia options, and the expected recovery process. These things may help you make a better decision.

Recovery time

The recovery time from facelift surgery should be around four to six weeks. Here is a timeline of the recovery process.

Immediately after surgery

As we’ve mentioned before, after the surgery is done, you might be taken to a recovery area where you might be monitored by medical staff. After the operation, you may experience some swelling, bruising, and soreness. All of these symptoms should gradually reduce over the next few weeks.

First few days

The first few days after the facelift surgery are important for the early stages of healing. You should follow your surgeon’s recommendations, which may include avoiding excessive sun exposure. The surgeon might also recommend ice packs or cold compresses, which might help reduce swelling.

You may need to keep your head elevated, avoid intense activities, and take prescribed pain medication. You might also have a follow-up appointment with your surgeon to check your process during this period.

One to four weeks

Any stitches or drains that were inserted during the procedure may be removed in the first week. You may still experience some swelling or difficulties when opening your mouth. After two weeks, you may experience itching. The itching should be normal because itching may be a sign of healing.

During this period, you might be able to get back to work. While you still may have some swelling or bruising, some makeup should be able to cover it.

Four to six weeks

Most visible swelling and bruising should be reduced at this stage. You may be able to see the results of your facelift surgery. It’s important to note that your face might continue to heal and settle over time.

Things to Consider Before Doing the Surgery / Photo Contributor: Anton Vierietin

Potential risks and complications

Like with any other surgical procedure, there may be potential risks and complications. Here are some possible complications.


Bleeding may happen during or after a facelift operation. While measures should be taken during the procedure to minimize bleeding, it still may be a potential risk.


Infection may be a risk with every surgical procedure, including facelift surgery. Your surgeon should give you instructions on caring for the incision sites and reducing the risk of infections. If you see any signs of infection, such as increased pain, fever, and discharge, you should contact your surgeon.


Scarring may be another side effect of facelift surgery. Incisions should be made in discreet sports during the surgery to reduce obvious scarring. The scars might vary in size and visibility from person to person.

Your surgeon should give you guidance and scar management techniques to improve the healing.

Complications of anesthesia

Facelift surgery is usually done under general anesthesia. While anesthesia might be safe, some complications may still happen. This could include allergic reactions, sore throat, and dizziness. To minimize the risks of anesthesia-related issues, the anesthesiologist should view your medical history and overall condition.

Hairline changes

Facelift surgery may result in hairline changes in some situations, particularly around the incision sites. These changes might be temporary and disappear with the healing process. During the consultation, your surgeon should take measures to minimize hairline changes.

Cost and financing

Facelift surgery is an investment in your look and self-esteem. It’s important to be aware of the procedure’s costs, such as surgeon’s fees, facility fees, anesthesia fees, medical tests, or any additional costs, such as post-operative medications.

Potential risks and complications

Source: Photo Contributor: Dmytro Flisak

Who Is Fit for Facelift Surgery?

While you may wonder how long facelift surgery takes, you should also know if you are fit for it. Here is a list of who might be considered fit for facelift surgery.

  • Facelift surgery is recommended for persons in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. This is because, through these years, signs of aging may be more visible. 
  • Those with no medical conditions may also be fit for the procedure. For example, you may not be suitable if you have some bleeding disorders or a heart disease.
  • If you’re a nonsmoker, you may be fit for facelift surgery. Smoking might negatively affect the healing process. Its recommended to quit smoking at least six weeks before and after the operation. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How painful is a facelift?

How long does facelift surgery take and how painful it is are the most common concerns. The pain after facelift surgery may be mild, but you might experience a bruised sensation because of the swelling.

The surgeons usually prescribe pain medications to manage any post-surgery discomfort to ensure a more comfortable recovery process.

What is the most painful day after a facelift?

You might feel pain and discomfort after the first day of the surgery. So, the surgeon might recommend you take pain medication to manage the discomfort. 

How long are you in bed after a facelift?

After a facelift, you should spend the first two days in bed so that you can rest. It is also recommended to sleep with the head elevated during the first one to two weeks to help reduce swelling.