What Facelift Can and Can’t Do

Posted By on Jan 27, 2014 in Dermal Fillers, Eyelid Surgery, Face Lift, Plastic Surgeon | 0 comments

With the aging Baby Boomer in the US, it is not surprising that facelift has been one of the most commonly performed surgical enhancements over the past several years.  According to a survey released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in 2012 alone about 126,000 patients had the procedure.

Despite the growing popularity of facelift, which has become a common household term, there are still many misconceptions about it.  To better help you understand the procedure, leading plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smaili has provided a list of things it can and cannot do.


What Facelift Can Do:

*  It can target the saggy mid-face, an area that fits inside an “imaginary” inverted triangle starting from the lower eyelids to the chin.

*  Deep lines below the lower eyelids caused by skin laxity.

*  The procedure can target the nasolabial folds or the deep creases along the nose that extend to the corners of the mouth, which are caused by repetitive facial movement and tissue laxity that comes with age.

*  Facelift can reposition the displaced fat pad particularly in the cheek area.

*  The surgery can also correct the muscle laxity in the lower thirds of the face, leading to an appearance of jowls and double chin.

What Facelift Can’t Do:

*  It cannot remove the drooping skin in the upper eyelids.

*  The procedure is not designed to remove the furrows across the forehead and the low-lying or asymmetric brows.

*  The surgery cannot address the hanging skin in the neck area, unless the incision that goes around the ear will be modified to reach the lower scalp.

*  It can’t address loss of facial fat that commonly affects the temples, tear troughs, and lips.

*  Facelift cannot address the drooping nose, which is also associated with facial aging.


One effective way to achieve a more dramatic and longer-lasting result is to involve not just the skin but also the deeper muscles.  While this approach leads to longer recovery and more post-op pain than the skin-only lift, the overall aesthetic outcome far outweighs such tradeoffs.

To achieve the most desired appearance, you may also need some procedures that are often used to complement the result of facelift—examples include eyelid lift, brow or forehead lift, fat graft, dermal fillers, chemical peels, etc.

Fat graft is particularly helpful in further improving the result of facelift by plumping up the sunken facial region using the patient’s own fat usually derived from the tummy and hip area.

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