Facelifts: The Ultimate Guide to Rhytidectomy

Facelift and necklift procedures are among the most popular procedures in plastic surgery and are considered the gold standard for the rejuvenation of the aging face. If properly performed, these procedures reduce sagging of the tissues of the cheeks, jawline, and neck that occurs with age.

By seeking out surgical assistance you can keep making your skin defy the test of time. Facelifts can help keep your skin tight and give you a youthful appearance.

But what is a neck lift procedure good for? And how do they do a neck lift or a face lift? What’s the difference between a neck lift vs. facelift, anyway? Let’s explore the differences and uses for a neck lift vs. facelift below.

Reversing The Signs of Aging

As we age, our skin becomes less elastic as collagen and elastin production decreases. Gravity and time also act on our facial muscles and their retaining ligaments, causing them to loosen. Our midfacial tissues descend, leading to the formation of deep nasolabial folds, marionette lines, and jowls along the jawline.

In the upper neck, laxity of the platysma muscles develops, leading to visible vertical bands and severe sagging of the skin in the submental region. This is commonly known as the “turkey gobbler”. Patients considering this type of procedure often complain that they appear sad and tired. Contrary to popular belief, face and neck lift do not seek to stretch saggy skin but rather attempt to tighten the compromised tissues and reposition them to their original, more youthful positions.

The goal is therefore to create a harmonious, natural, refreshed appearance rather than the impression that the skin is pulled tightly. Patients typically report appearing several years younger, and satisfaction with the procedure is high. Lower face and neck lift reconstruction can help rejuvenate the areas and make a person look younger. A neck and lower face lift can produce great results without injectables such as botox, use of chemicals, dermal fillers, and extensive skin removal.

What Is a Rhytidectomy?

A rhytidectomy, or facelift, is a cosmetic surgical procedure that reduces skin sagging on your cheeks or jawline. A facelift is a surgical procedure that helps to combat the natural flaps of skin that develop with age. Over time it’s common that your skin will become less elastic and is more likely to sag around your face.

Loose skin around the neck and face is a clear sign of aging. A lower face lift and neck lift doesn’t decrease the cracks or wrinkles in your skin; they help tighten pockets of loose skin that have developed over time.

In a facelift, the skin is pulled back in order to contour your face and give you a more youthful look. In addition to a facelift, typically a neck lift is often done as a part of this procedure to help reduce the amount of sagging on the neck as well. That’s why when it comes to face augmentation, it’s not as much about neck lift vs. facelift, but about how neck and lift surgery can be done at the same time to achieve the best results.

Natural Ways to Boost Skin Elasticity

A lower face next lift and similar cosmetic surgeries are typically done in order to restore an individual’s youthful look. The same can be said about other procedures like liposuction, breast lift, tummy tuck, and even laser hair removal. One of the primary reasons why sagging skin develops is a lack of skin elasticity

But besides opting for a lower neck lift or another procedure, you can actually work to improve your skin’s elasticity by eating a diet full of greens, fatty fish, citrus, and broccoli. These foods help improve your skin’s health. 

Boosting your skin’s elasticity cannot erase your jowls or sagging skin and tissue displacement. A change in diet can work to help you maintain a fresh start. That fresh start can come in the form of a facelift.


Over time your skin will become less elastic. Because of a reduction in elasticity, excess skin can be a byproduct of weight loss or simply aging. Facelifts provide an array of benefits that can help you feel more comfortable and confident in your skin.

Combat the Signs of Aging

As you age the quality and plumpness of your skin will degrade. This is due to the thinning of the dermal tissue and loss of elasticity in your face.

The symptoms of aging can be more evident due to hereditary conditions, stress, smoking, or sun damage. If your face has developed excess flaps of skin over time you may want to consider a facelift.

This surgery can help to displace your facial fat and tighten sagging skin around your face.

Contours Your Jawline

Many women spend hours contouring their faces each and every day with highlighters and contouring products. In order to achieve a contoured look without makeup, a facelift can help to redefine your jawline.

A strong jawline can help sharpen your overall features and give you a youthful look. A strong jawline is often associated with dominance and can make anyone feel strong and confident.

No Visible Surgical Scars

Many surgical procedures leave lasting scars, however cosmetic procedures such as a rhytidectomy are designed to produce no visible scars.

The virtual lack of visible scars can erase any outward signs of a medical procedure. You can keep your youthful skin plump and flawless without having to use makeup to conceal a long-lasting scar.

Removes Deep Creases

Over time it’s likely that deep wrinkles and lines can form around your face due to excess skin and loss of volume in tissue structures. A facelift can be used as a cosmetic tool to help combat these deep creases and volumize your face’s tissue structures.

A byproduct of aging is the loss of tissue structures and elasticity in your face. Cosmetic surgery, such as facelifts, help to restore the deep tissue structures to their rightful position. Surgery can replicate the effects of skin elasticity that a younger face would naturally have.

Enhances Your Natural Features

People rarely think about a facelift as an opportunity to enhance your natural features. There is a lot of negative stigmas associated with cosmetic surgeries giving individuals an operated or “plastic” look. Facelifts are a tool to help you rediscover the natural features that you already have.

Facelift scarring is easily concealable and facelift techniques build upon your pre-existing facial structure. Rather than redesigning who you are, facelifts help you enhance your features.

Start Comparing Facelift Costs

When you are shopping around for a plastic surgeon you want to ensure that your surgeon needs all of the medical board requirements. Before trusting a practice found online to complete your cosmetic surgery you want to verify the licensing and qualifications of the operation.

While you are looking around for different surgical quotes and fees lookout for specials that can help to make cosmetic procedures more affordable. Plastic surgery centers often offer rotational specials on a variety of services to make achieving your dream body more attainable. Keep an eye out for these specials and potential financing plans.

Wave Plastic Surgery offers a price match guarantee. If you find another Board Certified Doctor who gives you a lower quote, Wave Plastic Surgery wants to match that to ensure you have the best experience possible. We can guide you through the neck lift vs. facelift options and provide you a competitive price for the best option in your procedure.

Risks of Facelift Surgery

No surgery is without potential risk or complication. With the appropriate care, medication, and a well-trained surgical team, you can help to mitigate your chances of surgical complications.

Some of the primary risks associated with the facelift include a hematoma, scarring, nerve injury, or hair loss. Side effects like these are incredibly rare.

A hematoma is the collection of blood under the skin that may cause swelling or some skin discoloration. Typically this occurs immediately after surgery.

Incision scars from the facelift are permanent and typically hidden in concealable areas, leaving no visible scarring. However, surgical incisions can result in red scars or irritation, and with the proper treatment and recovery care, they should fade with time.

Due to the irritation from incision scars, your skin may experience irritation and result in temporary or permanent hair loss around the sites of incisions. Over time this hair can grow back or can be replaced with hair plugs.

Be sure to consult with your surgeon and primary care physician if any adverse side effects occur after your surgery.

Who is a Good Candidate?

The decision to get a facelift is one you have to make on your own. However, your surgeon can help outline the ideal candidate for a facelift. Any type of surgery requires good overall health beforehand so you need to notify your surgeon of any pre-existing medical conditions that may inhibit you from being able to opt for a cosmetic procedure.

Before undergoing surgery your skin should be in good condition and have maintained some level of elasticity. By being slightly elastic the skin should be able to recover after manipulation during surgery.

Ideal candidates are in good health, with no underlying conditions that would impair wound healing. Smokers are encouraged to refrain from doing so, and patients with underlying medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, etc, are urged to have them under control.

Patients are ideally at a stable weight and maintain a well-balanced diet. Mental and spiritual wellbeing are also desirable for individuals seeking face and neck lift. A positive outlook and realistic expectations can only add to the likelihood of a satisfactory result.

If your skin has been damaged through years of smoking or sun damage it may inhibit your overall success in receiving a facelift. During a consultation, your cosmetic surgeon will also look at your underlying bone structure.

Your bone structure is the foundation for any facelift and must be considered when mapping out a surgical procedure. Surgeons use the patient’s face to sketch out markups of the surgical path.

Although your age does not inhibit you from undergoing surgery, your overall health might. If you want to undergo cosmetic surgery, such as a facelift, you want to ensure that you were in good health.

Be sure to receive a stamp of approval from your primary care physician. It is important that you engage in an open and honest dialogue with your plastic surgeon during your consultation.

Types of Facelifts and Neck Lifts

Wave Plastic Surgery offers a variety of face lips to help you achieve your cosmetic goals. By using modern technology and expert surgeons, Wave is able to perform procedures that have small incision sites, minimal scarring, and a quick healing process.

Depending on your surgical needs, a surgical consultant may recommend one of the following facelifts:

  • Endoscopic Mid-Facelift
  • Endoscopic Facelift
  • Face and Neck Lift
  • High Extended SMAS
  • Face and Neck Lift

These procedures can be customized to help you feel strong and confident in your skin. Wave’s surgical team is eager to work with you in fulfilling your cosmetic requests.

Endoscopic Mid-FaceLift

The endoscopic mid-facelift uses endoscopic technology to reduce the size of incisions and work through a scope to remove excess skin. Mid-face-lift targets the area between your lower eyelids and mouth in order to reverse the effects of aging and gravity.

Typically, muscles pull this skin downward and can make your cheeks look saggy. A mid-face-lift is designed to help restore the fullness of your skin and give you a more youthful look. By focussing on the cheeks and eyelid area surgeons are able to medically enhance your face.

This surgery is done with a small incision above the ear or through the upper lip.  A scope and surgical instruments are used to lift the mid-face tissue off of the cheekbones. The tissue is pulled and repositioned towards the eyes and ears.

Because this procedure is performed endoscopically there is a short recovery time and minimal swelling.

Endoscopic Facelift

Wave Plastic Surgery has developed an exclusive procedure in order to combat early signs of aging in the middle or lower face. This fully endoscopic facelift is minimally invasive and allows patients to experience rejuvenated skin and minimal recovery time.

An endoscopic procedure involves inserting the surgical tools and a camera with a scope into an incision site. This allows the surgeon to complete the procedure without fully opening the surgical site. The surgeon is able to view the surgical site through a monitor and guide the tools within the patient’s face through the small incision. 

At Wave, this is done with a small incision site behind the patient’s ear in their hairline. This procedure takes only one hour and utilizes small incision sites to help move tissue and tighten skin that may be losing its elasticity.

Face and Neck Lift

This procedure is a quick outpatient procedure that produces long-term results. After years of stress and aging your skin around your neck and jaw can begin to sag. This procedure tightens these areas by going deep into your tissues.

A face and neck lift involves repositioning deeper tissues in a more natural way. This surgery removes excess fat and helps to tighten the jawline. It can help combat aging while ensuring that the results look natural. 

This procedure has a quick two-week recovery time and can be completed under local anesthesia.

High Extended SMAS Face and Neck Lift

The High Extended SMAS Face and Neck Lift is a fully comprehensive surgery that addresses all of the loose skin in your mid to lower face. This surgery tightens the tissue under your skin and repositions your facial structure to give you an age-defying appearance.

This procedure helps you treat your jowls, smile lines, and sagging skin in your neck and jawline. This surgery is done by putting you under general or local anesthesia. The plastic surgeon will make incisions in your hairline in order to reach the subdermal tissues.

Preparing for Surgery

If you have decided that you want to undergo cosmetic surgery you will want to find a specialist in your area and go in for a consultation. It’s important to consult with your general physician and see if you are on any type of medication that may inhibit you from receiving cosmetic surgery.

Finding a Surgeon

When you’re looking for a plastic surgeon, you want to ensure that the facilities you are looking at are board-certified. If you are looking for a surgeon in California, Wave Plastic Surgery has facilities all across the state.

Get a Consultation

When you go in for a consultation you want to ensure that your medical history is up to date. This way your surgeon can request up-to-date information and address any concerns about your eligibility to undergo surgery.

One of the primary reasons why it’s important to consult with your primary care physician is to see if any of the prescription drugs that you are on can inhibit your qualifications for cosmetic surgery.

During the consultation, your plastic surgeon will take pictures of your face from different angles. These images are used in order to do a mock-up of the procedure.

At the consultation, the patient’s overall health status is reviewed, and the condition of the facial skin, degree of facial and neck laxity, and skin quality are examined. A facelift won’t decrease fine skin wrinkles or sun damage, but other cosmetic procedures such a laser resurfacing can be done to address these at the same time, or shortly after surgery.

Steps for a Facelift Surgery

Facelifts can be done in a hospital or at an outpatient surgical facility. If you are looking for a premium facelift at a low cost with a minimal recovery time, choosing an outpatient facility, such as Wave Plastic Surgery, is a great option.

Administer Anesthesia

A facelift, whether done endoscopically or not, is a multi-step procedure done while the patient is under anesthesia. Medications are administered to help increase patient comfort and remove patient sensitivity to the surgical site. 

Cosmetic surgery such as a facelift can be done under local or general anesthesia. It is at the discretion of the surgical team what type of anesthetic is going to be best for the patient. 

A local anesthetic has applied to a small area of the body which is numbed while the patient remains fully conscious and is typically done during minor outpatient procedures.

General anesthesia makes the patient fully unconscious and unaware of the procedures and is typically done for longer operations or if the patient has anxiety associated with surgery.

Candidates for a facelift

Make Incisions

Surgical incisions are made in order to allow the surgical team to gain access to the subdermal tissues in the face. Depending on the degree of change that the patient would like to see the incision site may vary.

In general, the incision starts at your temples in the hairline, continues down and around the front of the ears, and ends behind the ear, eventually running along the posterior hairline. The skin flap is elevated, and the underlying muscular layer is addressed. The layer is commonly referred to as the SMAS, a fibrofatty structure that encompasses and supports the facial muscle.

By tightening this layer, facial tissues are replaced into their proper anatomical position. Facial skin is then re-draped over the newly repositioned contours of the face, excess skin is removed.

More limited incisions can be performed, depending on how extensive of a procedure the patient desires. An incision also might be made under your chin to remove fat and tighten the supporting neck muscles. 

For a mid or less-dramatic facelift, surgical teams are able to make a limited incision. This incision would run along the ear and gives the surgical team access to tissue located in the middle of the face. The greatest changes of this operation will be seen along the cheekbones.

Closing Incisions

After completion of the operation, the surgical team will close the sites with sutures that may need to be removed or dissolve after a few days. The incision sites from the facelift well hidden in the patient’s hairline and creases of their face.

Following the surgery, a moderately snug surgical dressing is placed to reduce swelling and post-operative bleeding. Drains are also used by most surgeons to remove tissue fluid from under the skin flaps.

This results in decreased bruising, and consequently less swelling and quicker recovery.  Once you are stitched up you are going to be ready to start the road to recovery.

Recovery Period

Patients are typically discharged home under supervision the day of the surgery. Patients are encouraged to recover in a comfortable environment with their heads elevated to reduce swelling.

We tend to see patients back a day or two after surgery to remove the drains and reapply fresh dressings. The compression garment is worn regularly for two weeks or more.

Patients may begin to resume modest activity in a public setting in one to two weeks. Swelling will be present for up to four weeks. Full recovery occurs at four to six weeks, but you may notice changes out to six months.

Endoscopic and outpatient procedures typically have a short recovery time. It is normal to experience short-term symptoms right after any type of surgery.

Immediately after the procedure, you may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Moderate pain
  • Skin irritation
  • Drainage at the incision sites
  • Skin sensitivity
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Numbness

Be sure to contact your surgical team if any of these symptoms become unbearable or persist after the first few days of recovery. Your surgical team will likely give you medication or proposed treatment to help you curb the side effects and help you deal with irritation following surgery.

The day after surgery may be your hardest, once all of the residual anesthesia has worn off you might begin to feel very sore and may need pain medication in order to handle the discomfort. It is likely that a few days after your surgery you may feel weak and drained. It’s important to rest your head in an elevated position, and follow any medication regimen set out by your doctor.

Maintain communication with your surgical team to set up follow-up appointments. They will be reaching out in order to change the surgical dressing, remove sutures, evaluate incision sites, and ensure that the healing process is going well.

After the first few days have finished you should no longer be in need of pain medication and should begin to feel normal. If your pain persists at high levels it is important to contact your doctor.

You will not be able to see the final effect of your cosmetic surgery until after bruising and swelling have subsided and the recovery process is nearly complete.

Defy Aging With a Face and Neck Lift

Although you may not have discovered the Fountain of Youth, you have discovered a way to defy age and keep your skin looking youthful and beautiful.

Facelift surgery can allow you to restore your skin and make you feel more confident and more like yourself. By tightening your skin you can withstand the tests of time.

Contact us for your consultation and get started on scheduling your facelift.

Common Questions About Face & Neck Lifts

If this is your first time undergoing cosmetic surgery, even less invasive endoscopic surgery, you likely have many questions. Here are the most common questions that patients ask.

The cost of a facelift and a neck lift procedure can vary widely, depending on the region of the country, anesthesia and facilities cost, and the individual surgeon’s fees. Even if you don’t show aging symptoms, these treatments can act as a preventative measure.

The longevity of a facelift and neck lift depends on the genetics, the overall health of an individual patient, and lifestyle habits. Obviously, excess stress, fatigue, smoking, and alcohol intake can speed up the aging process. Generally, you can expect the results to last up to 7-10 years.

By the time a patient notices sagging neck skin, minimally invasive techniques generally are not effective. At that point, a surgical intervention that tightens the neck musculature, and excision of excess skin in the form of a face and/or neck lift are the most effective solution

Face and neck lift terminology can be confusing, as it is not consistently used. Many surgeons refer to the facelift as a procedure that rejuvenates the midface, lower face, and neck. Others do not include neck tightening procedures with their facelift. Generally, however, a neck lift is used to refer to a procedure that is limited to improving the neck.

There is no definitive age that is optimal for a facelift, as people age at different rates. Most people start considering it when they notice the formation of jowls and loose skin in the upper neck. This generally occurs in the mid-forties and early fifties.

There is no general rule regarding how many years a facelift can take off, as everyone ages differently. However, it is not uncommon for patients to report that they look ten or more years younger.

The term “Lunchtime Facelift” refers to Threadlifts or “Mini Facelifts”.  At Wave, we offer multiple non-surgical and minimally invasive procedures that can help you look younger. 

However, a face and neck lift is a surgical procedure that is complex and requires considerable skill on the part of a surgeon. As such, it is something that should be given the appropriate time, without shortcuts. That being said, the desire for an easy recovery is understandable, and surgeons have developed techniques to minimize bruising and swelling, leading to a better overall experience.