Signs of aging often first appear on the face and neck, where sagging skin, pronounced folds, and drooping jowls can make you look older. Surgery to improve the appearance of the cheeks, smooth out folds between the nose and mouth, and tighten the jowls, jawline, and neck is known as a facelift. In Los Angeles, double board-certified facial plastic surgeon Dr. Sarmela Sunder and Harvard fellowship-trained Dr. Catherine Chang are industry leaders experienced in facial plastic surgery, with years of extensive, intense training. Their philosophy is that the surgeon should not just create a lifted neck and jowls, but also recontour the face so you look like a beautiful, younger version of you.
The facelift (rhytidectomy) is one of the most common plastic surgery procedures performed at our Beverly Hills location. We often combine facelift with other facial procedures, such as blepharoplasty and fat grafting. Good candidates for the surgery are women or men who are starting to see signs of aging along the jawline (when the skin begins to droop), and those who are experiencing sagging skin around the face and neck.
Browse our gallery of plastic surgery results to see the real-life difference our work has made on patients just like you, who came to us for help and care.
*Individual results may vary
Every surgery will yield unique results, but before-and-after images are an excellent way to see the quality of natural-looking outcomes our experienced plastic surgeons are capable of providing.
Dr. Chang is extremely patient and truly listens. She was able to deliver down to the smallest detail exactly what I wanted. My scars are invisible and I could not be happier with my facelift! I could not recommend her more!
Facial skin's elasticity degrades over time as collagen, elastin, and other elements break down, leading to wrinkles, sagging, lines, and drooping. Surgery can restore a firmer, more youthful appearance and take years off your appearance.
A facelift procedure directly focuses on wrinkles and creases that appear near the nose, stem from the corners of the mouth, and form around the jawline.
As skin loosens over time, jowls start to form along the jawline. A facelift lifts and tightens this lax tissue to create a more youthful appearance. A neck lift can be combined with a facelift to further improve the look of sagging and wrinkles on the neck.
Dr. Sunder and Dr. Chang work with each of their patients to create a customized treatment plan that will allow them to achieve the best results. Their goal with facelifts is to tighten the underlying tissue but not overtighten the skin, leading to beautiful, natural-looking results instead of an "pulled" look. They also recommend specific laser treatments in conjunction with their facelift procedures for an optimal effect.
A full facelift involves a small incision in the hairline, running from the temples down to the ear and behind the hairline. This allows your plastic surgeon to remove any excess skin and fat, as well as to strategically reposition facial tissues. The remaining skin is lifted and sutured in place over the new contours for a firmer facial appearance and a reduction in wrinkles, sagging, and lines. You can look up to 10 years younger after a facelift procedure.
Some patients are not ready for surgery and prefer nonsurgical treatments, such as dermal fillers, tightening radiofrequency, and BOTOX®, which provide a shorter-term, less dramatic rejuvenation. With these non-invasive options, you can expect to achieve about 30 percent of the results possible from a facelift. These non-surgical procedures are often recommended with a facelift, as they maintain skin quality and facial volume independent of surgery.
A "middle" option is the thread lift, which involves the placement of internal sutures that provide a subtle lift while encouraging renewed collagen production. These sutures gradually dissolve, leaving natural structural support for a more youthful look that can last up to three years.
A mini facelift—also known as a "Weekend Lift," "Lunchtime Lift," or "Quick Lift"—is a less-invasive surgical option than a full facelift when addressing sagging skin on the lower face and jowls. By using small incisions, a mini lift tightens and raises the tissues of the jawline and lower face. Depending on your needs, it can sometimes be performed under light sedation known as "twilight anesthesia" or no anesthesia at all, aside from locally injected lidocaine.
While both the mini and full facelift address the jowls and lower face, people who have more extensive skin laxity typically require a full lift. The mini lift is less invasive (and more affordable) than a full lift and requires nine to 14 days for recovery, as opposed to three weeks of downtime.
As the name implies, the mini lift is best suited for patients who are just noticing the earliest signs of aging. If the area bothering you is your neck, then a neck lift or lower facelift would be a better choice. Dr. Sunder or Dr. Chang will review all of the options with you and create a surgical plan tailored specifically for you.
We've compiled a list of questions we frequently hear from patients considering a facelift:
For a full facelift, the incision is behind the hairline and in the natural crease around and behind the ear. The session may also include other procedures, such as a brow lift, upper eyelid surgery, or lower eyelid surgery, or fat grafting. Incisions for additional procedures are also hidden and may not be visible at all.
For a mini facelift, the incisions are more limited and are behind the ear with some extension into the crease under the ear, depending on how much skin needs to be removed.
For a lower facelift, the incisions start behind the ear, backwards along the hairline, and may extend in the natural crease in front of the ear as necessary to remove skin.
Most of our patients experience little to no pain the day after surgery. We provide specialized aftercare instructions to reduce swelling and discomfort. Our team also recommends supplements to help with swelling and bruising after surgery.
Recovery time for a facelift procedure is anywhere from two to three weeks. During the first week, patients may be swollen and experience some bruising. During the second week, patients may comfortably go out in public. During the third week, patients may resume typical day-to-day activities. It is important to note that recovery time varies from patient to patient, depending on medical condition, age, and other factors.
After a facelift, patients are advised to keep their head elevated while sleeping, apply a cold compress when needed, and avoid exercise and other strenuous activity. Cassileth Plastic Surgery will supplement your post-operative regimen with skincare products to help with recovery and overall maintenance of results.
Patients are sometimes scared about their facelift procedure due to fears about general anesthesia, scarring, pain, and downtime.
Anesthesia: For patients fearful of general anesthesia, we offer twilight anesthesia, which puts patients at ease. It also has been shown to correlate to better recovery.
Scarring: We recommend that our patients take a special blend of supplements prior to surgery to assist with scarring and healing. Postoperative care is also key in ensuring excellent healing. Our doctors will follow up after the procedure, and a postoperative care nurse is available 24/7 in the days immediately following the surgery.
Pain: Our patients receive very specific pre-op and post-op protocols to help minimize discomfort. Most of our facelift patients have said that they experience minimal to no pain.
Downtime: Recovery time is generally around two weeks, but this span can vary widely and depends on the patient. Our two-week protocol optimizes the recovery period, making it last about the same length as for most nonsurgical options!
Dr. Sunder and Dr. Chang can address issues you may be experiencing from a previous procedure, generally working with patients seeking revisions a year or longer after their initial surgery. It is important to note that everyone has unique facial anatomy. We strongly believe that understanding this underlying anatomy is important for achieving maximum results.
Our plastic surgeons believe it is important for her patients to understand that facelifts tighten the skin but cannot restore volume in areas that have lost it over time. In order to address this loss (and bring a youthful plumpness back to the face), we often recommend a facial fat transfer. Depending on the patient, we may also recommend skin resurfacing and radiofrequency tightening to improve texture and elasticity. This can be achieved with a laser or a medium- to full-depth chemical peel. Other popular face procedures include eyelid lifts and brow lifts.
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