As we age, gravity, sun damage and genetics affect all parts of the body and our faces are one of the first areas to show it. The effects of gravity often first appear in your late thirties, but become more apparent and prominent once you hit your forties and fifties. Wrinkles, lines, less tonality and sagging cheeks begin taking over your once firm and youthful face. A good facelift with a certified plastic surgeon reverses the signs of aging, achieving a naturally youthful appearance and avoiding a “wind blown” look. For older patients, the facelift is still the most powerful procedure for providing long-lasting facial rejuvenation.

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What Parts of My Face Does a Facelift Treat?

Facelift procedures only deal with the lower two thirds of the face and neck. The upper third of the face – including the eyelids – is part of a different region that may require additional facial plastic surgery procedures to correct. Since aging affects the facial skin as well as the underlying muscle, both need to be corrected. Simply tightening the skin or suspending the skin with threads or strings will not help achieve the look that you want. Tightening and resuspending the underlying muscle, and removing the excess skin will provide a natural, younger appearance. The goal of the facelift is to restore the various facial structures back to their normal anatomical position.

Your facelift procedure can help treat issues such as:

  • Jowls
  • Nasolabial Folds
  • Sagging Cheeks

Supplementing your facelift with a brow lift and eyelid surgery can help rejuvenate the upper portion of your face for an even younger look.

How Does a Facelift Work?

At our certified outpatient surgery center, your facelift will be performed either with general anesthesia or under IV sedation with local anesthesia. Your Wave plastic surgeon will make a careful incision starting within your hairline above the ear, traveling down in front of the ear, and then finishing behind the ear, tracing down to the hairline at the back of your neck. The skin is not lifted up much, but a layer of tissue called the SMAS/Platysma is elevated extensively. This is used to re-elevate the facial structures and reposition the tissues to its more youthful location. This method of the facelift procedure that our plastic surgeons use ensures a natural appearance.

After your facelift, you will be scheduled for several follow-up appointments to receive medications for minimizing swelling. We will provide you with specific care instructions, such as when it is safe to wash your hair and when. Most of your surgical incision lines will be well hidden beneath your hair and will progressively fade over time. You will experience some temporary numbness and swelling after your procedure, but you should be ready to return to work and normal activity with a younger look in about two weeks.


All of our doctors perform the facelift procedure in Los Angeles CA areas with a keen attention to detail. While other plastic surgery practices may often treat facelift surgery the same for each patient, we take into account each patient’s specific situation and carefully listen to their goals and expectations to formulate a proper procedure plan.

There are numerous details and techniques that we adhere to when performing your facelift in order to ensure beautiful results. These are some of the examples that we consider with all of our facelift patients:

There are three separate compartments where the orbital fat resides. As we age, the tissues holding the orbital fat become attenuated and as a result, the fat becomes more visible as it protrudes out more. Depending on the severity and whether there is a depression in the lower portion of the lower lid rim, each individual’s treatment will be different.

If excess fat is the only issue, we can remove it using a transconjunctival approach (inside the eyelid). This prevents unnecessary external scars, and there is less of a chance of disrupting the tissues that can cause evertion of the lower eyelid. The removal of the fat must be conservative to prevent unwanted hollowing.

If the fat is not too significant, but does exist, the tissues holding the orbital fat can be simply tightened. This is called a septal reset. If there is hollowness in the lower lid rim, called a tear trough, the fat can be mobilized and repositioned to the bony rim margin. This helps with the removal of the protruding fat as well as filling in the defect of the tear trough.

  • The incision has to be precisely perpendicular so that there is a good approximation during closure to ensure a scar that will be hardly noticeable.
  • Near the cartilage portion of the ear, the skin has to be cut thin so that the area appears more natural.
  • Skin undermining should be minimal to ensure smoothness and less disruption of blood vessels so that there is faster and better healing.
  • The SMAS/Platysma tissue should be extensively undermined to reposition tissues.
  • There are tissues called retaining ligament, which must be completely released to assure a tension-free movement of the soft tissue. These ligaments are located along the malar bone, cheeks, and along the jaw and chin. By releasing these ligaments, we have the freedom to reposition and tighten drooping tissue.
  • For people with wrinkles along the side of the eyes, the muscle can be transected to weaken the lines.
  • For people with nasojugal groove (a line beneath the malar bone and the cheeks) the malar fat pad must be separately elevated and suspended.
  • Patients with heavy nasolabial fold, should undergo careful micro-liposuction over the malar fat pad or have fat grafting to the nasolabial fold.
  • Patients with heavy jowls, should also undergo careful liposuction of the overlying fat. Also, the retaining ligaments of the jawline must all be released in the chin area.
  • Patients with a wide lower third of the face who wish for a slimmer look can benefit from the removal of the buccal fat pad.
  • For some areas that are depressed, SMAS can be folded upon itself to augment certain areas such as submalar region.
  • The corner of the mouth can be elevated to give you a appearance.
  • For people with excess neck fat, the neck must be very aggressively treated. Not only is the Platysma/skin pulled from the sides, but also from the middle. A small incision is made in the natural crease under the chin. Through this area, the fat underneath the skin is removed. Also, there is a fat layer underneath the platysma muscle called the subplatysmal fat pad which should be removed. Then the platysma can be tightened both from the middle and sides.
  • SMAS that is trimmed during surgery can be used to augment areas that are depressed. Some of the more common areas are submalar region, nasolabial fold, and lips.
  • All of the pulling tension is placed on the SMAS layers. The skin is allowed to just redrape. This ensures smoothness of the face and good scar healing.
  • A constant reference to the preoperative photographs to ensure accuracy and symmetry.

Get Your Facelift Consultation Today

Give us a call today to schedule your Facelift consultation with one of our plastic surgeons at Wave Plastic Surgery.

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