what is a facelift?

image of model used to protect patient privacy

Mini-facelift, upper facelift, forehead lift, implants, injections and more—the established procedures that constitute a "facelift" today are varied and the terminology can be confusing. All are intended to restore youthful—yet age-appropriate—contours to the face and neck. Used alone or in conjunction, they can address the changes resulting from age, sun damage and genetic factors.

Washington Plastic Surgeon Dr. French
Beware of any surgeon who appears to have a formula.
—Dr. French

In truth, a facelift can be a combination of any number of procedures. The key is that a good facelift or facial cosmetic surgery is defined by what's best for each individual.

Curious about some typical combinations?

For example: A facelift for many patients may primarily be a "neck lift" or some combination of procedures that focus on the lower face, jaw line, and neck. For others, aging is most apparent in the upper and lower eyelid areas (known as the periorbital region) as well as the cheek and brow areas, so a "facelift" will focus on these areas. Still others will gain the most benefit from a traditional facelift which does a superb job of addressing generalized signs of aging.

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Our patients expect a "natural" appearing result, usually focused on the lower face and neck, as well as the eyelid and cheek areas.
—Dr. Price

Many times a facelift recommendation includes laser resurfacing and other non-surgical procedures such as BOTOX® Cosmetic injections, collagen treatments, fat injections, and overall skin care. It's important to remember that every facelift is unique—as is every individual considering one.

Read one writer's start-to-finish facelift experience.

What's best? The facelift that's best for you will be defined in partnership with a board-certified plastic surgeon. A board-certified plastic surgeon is fully trained to evaluate all of the physical characteristics that will influence the final outcome. These include your bone structure and the condition of your skin and underlying tissue. His or her recommendation will also be based on what you're comfortable with as well as your personal expectations.

What does "board certified plastic surgeon" really mean?

Because having a facelift is such a personal decision, it's important to choose a plastic surgeon who not only has the highest levels of skill, experience, artistry and accreditation, but who also strikes you as open, approachable and easy to talk to. After all, you are embarking on a process that puts your face in the surgeon's hands.

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I just knew I wanted to look less tired and have less of a double chin He listened carefully - thoughtfully - then made the perfect recommendation. I just look wonderful.
—Facelift Patient of Dr. French

Read on. Our goal in this site is your mastery of the terminology and understanding of the basic procedures that make up facelift surgery today. We will, therefore walk you through the most common, proven procedures—both surgical and non-surgical—and we will give examples of how they might be combined using examples from our own practice. Learn more about procedures related to the neck and chin; eyes and brow; full face and non-surgical procedures. Some patients choose to have other procedures at the time of their facelifts. These include liposuction, "tummy tuck," rhinoplasty (reshaping the nose) and chin and cheek implants. Read about these and all the procedures we offer at Center for Plastic Surgery.

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