The Facelift Process

facelift process

San Francisco Facelift addresses sagging, loose skin and wrinkles in the lower half of the face. During this procedure, your surgeon will remove excess skin and tighten muscles to reduce the appearance of jowls and refine the jawline.

Ideally, your facelift results will look natural and age with you. Maintaining a stable weight and adopting a healthy skincare regimen will help you keep your results looking great.


The scope of incisions required for a facelift procedure will vary depending on your needs and the degree of aging you wish to address. Ideally, facelift incisions will be hidden within the natural folds of your hairline and behind your ears where they are easily camouflaged. Typically, two incisions are made on either side of the face in a location that is easily concealed by your hair or by makeup. Incisions may also be placed beneath your chin to aid in the removal of fatty tissue and to help reduce the appearance of cord-like structures that run from your jaw to your collarbone.

If you choose a traditional facelift, the most common technique, Dr. Stein will create incisions near your temples, curve around the ear and continue into the ear crease where they are well-hidden. This provides access to underlying tissues that allow him to sculpt and redistribute fat in the cheeks, jawline and neck or remove excess skin.

A SMAS facelift, a more invasive but incredibly effective technique, will tighten the superficial musculoaponeurotic system, or muscle layer under the skin that surrounds facial muscles. This will more fully address signs of aging like jowls and marionette lines, but requires a longer recovery period since the incisions are more substantial.

New methods of cosmetic surgery are continually being developed to improve the results of a facelift and make the process safer for patients. One such method is a laser neck and jaw liposculpture that involves a small incision under the chin, which is used to melt some of the fat to provide a better lifting surface for your skin.

Another innovative approach to the facelift is the stem cell facelift, in which a patient’s own injected fat with stem cells is used to restore a more youthful contour to their face. The fat is harvested from the abdomen or thighs and processed so that it contains stem cells that will differentiate into healthy and functional tissues. Injection of this material into the targeted areas will help smooth creases, eliminate jowls and reduce sagging.


One of the important decisions a patient making plans for facelift surgery has to make (in conjunction with their facial plastic surgeon) is what type of anesthesia or sedation will be used during their procedure. This will affect both how long the surgery lasts and what kind of recovery is expected.

Most traditional facelifts are performed under general anesthesia. This is because the surgical maneuvers required are precise and meticulous and require a full focus by the surgeon. They cannot be done effectively when the patient is awake and moving around. It is also not practical for the surgeon to wrestle with a nervous or restless patient while trying to do this delicate work where millimeters count.

The alternative to general anesthesia is local anesthesia, which allows the patient to remain conscious and reduces sensation in small areas of the body. This is a more comfortable way to have a facelift, and it is generally considered safer. It does, however, increase the length of surgery.

Another option is twilight sleep, or intravenous sedation, which is usually used for more extensive facelifts and tummy tucks. Twilight sleep is similar to a general anesthetic, but it can be injected or inhaled, and the patient can wake up easily after the surgery is over. This option also eliminates the need for an anesthesiologist to be present and monitor the patient, which cuts costs.

If patients choose twilight sleep, they may experience grogginess, tiredness or a sore throat when they wake up from the anesthesia. They may also feel a temporary loss of appetite, and the effects of the medications can last for several hours. It is a good idea for patients to arrange for someone to drive them home after the surgery and care for them while they are recovering from the effects of the anesthesia.

Patients who opt for an awake facelift, on the other hand, will be awake but drowsy, and they can expect to remember every moment of their surgery. This is an excellent choice for patients who want to keep their faces youthful but are concerned about the effect of aging on the skin and muscles of the neck and jawline.


The facelift process involves surgically tightening facial muscles and eliminating excess fat to reduce laxity around the jawline, neck, and chin. It can also be combined with a forehead lift or eyelid surgery for a more comprehensive rejuvenation of the face. A facelift is a safe procedure, but there are some things to keep in mind before undergoing this treatment.

A facelift (technically called rhytidectomy) is an excellent option for patients with mild to moderate signs of aging, particularly sagging skin in the lower half of the face and neck. This is a popular cosmetic surgery for both men and women who want to restore a more youthful appearance to their face and neck. During the procedure, the surgeon separates the overlying skin from the deeper muscles and tissues of the face through incisions located just behind the hairline, in the natural creases at the front of the ears, or in the nape of the neck (if necessary).

The surgeon then removes any fat or tissue that is deemed unnecessary, trimming away excess. He or she will then reposition and trim the remaining muscles and tissues, smoothing creases and eliminating jowling to restore a more youthful contour to the face and neck.

Because a facelift is so effective in reducing the most common signs of aging, many patients find that this is an excellent way to look younger for a long time. Taking good care of the skin and avoiding lifestyle habits that lead to sagging, such as smoking or excessive sun exposure, will help extend the results of a facelift.

When you are ready to have a facelift, it’s important that you choose a cosmetic surgeon who is experienced and has excellent results. A good place to start is by looking at before-and-after photos of past clients and determining whether their aesthetic goals align with yours.

A less-invasive alternative to a traditional facelift is a mini-facelift, which can be an ideal solution for patients who don’t have advanced signs of aging. With this procedure, the surgeon makes shorter incisions, typically along the hairline or in the natural creases of the ears. Through these incisions, the surgeon will lift and tighten deep facial tissues to eliminate jowling, refine the jawline, and give the face a more refreshed, vibrant appearance.


Despite the many advances in facial plastic surgery, there is still some discomfort following any surgical procedure. For this reason, it is important that patients follow post-op instructions carefully to avoid unnecessary pain and complications.

The first week after a facelift will require the patient to get plenty of rest and stay home from work, as well as not expose the incision areas to sunlight. During this time, it is common to have some bruising and swelling, but these symptoms should diminish after about two days.

One of the primary concerns that people have when they are considering a facelift is whether or not they will be able to look presentable after the procedure. However, if the incisions are located in the hairline or neck, they are difficult to see and will not be an issue for most patients once the bruising and swelling is gone. For those who do have visible incisions, our cosmetic surgeons are experts at hiding them with hair and other features so they don’t stand out.

By the second week after a facelift, most patients are feeling much better and may be able to stop taking their pain medications. It is also important to eat nutritious foods to keep up energy levels and support healing.

During this period, the facelift incisions will begin to heal and may be slightly pinkish. Although this is normal, it is important to use sunscreen when going out in the sun to prevent discoloration or sunburn. The incision sites may feel tight and uncomfortable, and some patients may have numbness or tingling sensations. This is because the nerves are returning to their original position, which can take a few weeks to a few months to resolve completely.

A facelift, or rhytidectomy, is a popular cosmetic surgery for those who are dealing with loose, sagging skin around the jawline and neck. When performed by our experienced plastic surgeons, the results are natural and beautiful without looking “windblown” or overdone. The lift reduces jowls, deep wrinkles and other signs of aging to give you a more youthful appearance that will last for years to come.