Anatomy of a Facelift
Face and neck lifts can erase years off your appearance by reducing wrinkles and tightening skin around the eyes, cheeks, jowls and neck.

Types of Lifts

  • Lower facelifts tighten the facial muscles around the jowls, jaw line and neck, raise the corners of the mouth and trim excess skin and fat. The surgeon makes a small incision from the front of the ear to behind the ear. This may be done endoscopically by inserting small cameras through a few short incisions. (Endoscopic surgery is less invasive and therefore causes less swelling and requires less recovery time.) When a neck lift is included, a small incision is made under the chin.

  • Mid facelifts tighten sagging cheeks and eyelids and lift the corners of the mouth. The surgeon uses either traditional or endoscopic techniques to make deep incisions in the muscle tissue to trim fat, adjust muscle tissue and tighten the skin.

  • Forehead lifts involve tightening loose skin and removing the excess to eliminate wrinkles and drooping brows. Part of the muscle that causes vertical frown lines between the brows may be removed. Incisions are placed at or behind the hairline or above the brow or mid-forehead.

  • Mini "weekend" facelifts refer to the short time both the procedure and recovery take. They reduce minor sagging around the cheeks, jaw line and neck with less risk and stress than standard facelifts, and are much more affordable. Using smaller incisions than in standard facelift surgery, the surgeon lifts, repositions and removes facial tissue to eliminate sagging. Mini facelifts do not include the forehead or brow. Optimal candidates are in their 30s and 40s.

  • Thread facelifts are a less invasive and less expensive alternative to traditional facelifts. By holding repositioned skin and facial tissue in place with threads after surgery, thread facelifts reduce sagging around the cheeks, jaw line, and neck more quickly and with less scaring and swelling than conventional procedures. Optimal candidates are in their 30s to 60s and have good skin tone.

  • Lower, mid and forehead lifts can be combined for a full facelift.


To choose which type of facelift is best for you, consider:

  • Areas of improvement. Do you want a little maintenance "nip-and-tuck" or is a complete overhaul in order?

  • Budget. Can you afford a full facelift and combine all the procedures at once, or is a step-by-step approach more financially realistic.

  • Pain tolerance. Some procedures are more invasive than others. Consult your plastic surgeon for specifics.

  • Recovery time. How long it will take to recover and how that may impact your ability to work; time away from your family; how long it will take to get back to your daily routine, etc.

Discuss these considerations with your plastic surgeon. For more information, visit The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery website.