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School of Medicine
Facelifts tighten the skin on the face and neck. The goal of a facelift is to turn back the hands of time by restoring the youthful appearance that you had 15 to 20 years ago.
The plastic surgeons at Johns Hopkins, in Baltimore, Maryland, do two types of facelifts. In a traditional facelift, your plastic surgeon will make an incision in the hairline at your temples and continue around your ears and down to the lower scalp. These incisions are hidden in the natural contours of the face and are designed to be inconspicuous. The plastic surgeon will also lift loose tissues in the cheek region, along your jawline, and in your neck. In addition, the surgeon may reposition underlying tissue and lift the muscles of your face to create a youthful and natural appearance that has longevity. The skin is then repositioned with the excess trimmed away. Depending on what you want, your plastic surgeon may also make a second incision under your chin to facilitate lifting and tightening.
With a limited incision facelift, your plastic surgeon will make shorter incisions at the temples, continuing around the ear and then possibly inside the lower eyelids or under the upper lip.
Your surgeon will decide which procedure is appropriate for you. Often, a facelift is performed with other facial-rejuvenating procedures in order to achieve a balanced, harmonious appearance of the entire face.
What to expect during a facelift
The surgery can be done as an outpatient procedure, using general anesthesia. Expect it to last between three and six hours, depending on the amount of surgery necessary and desired. Although many patients leave after surgery, your plastic surgeon may recommend an overnight stay depending on the length and complexity of the procedure. Sometimes your plastic surgeon may use a drainage tube that stays in place for one to three days.
Recovery from facelift surgery
Your doctor may prescribe pain medication to alleviate any discomfort you may feel in the days following the surgery. You may have some numbness after the surgery, which will also disappear with time. You can expect the majority of the swelling to subside after about two weeks but it will take a few weeks longer before all of the swelling is gone. Generally, scars are not noticeable and begin to fade quickly, disappearing after several months.