Home|Facial Plastic Surgery|Facelift


For decades, facelift surgery has maintained its status as one of the most popular surgical cosmetic enhancement procedures available. This treatment can take years off an individual’s appearance, and the results can last long into the future. The best, most natural-looking facelift results require the skills and expertise of a highly-qualified plastic surgeon. Dr. Thomas Crabtree is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and has successfully performed facelift procedures for both women and men over the course of many years. He is able to combine the use of advanced techniques and meticulous attention to detail to provide patients with results that achieve their goals without producing a “windswept” or “frozen” appearance. 

Facelift at a Glance

  • Facelift surgery is performed as an outpatient in a fully equipped operating facility
  • The length of this surgery is usually about three to four hours
  • General anesthesia administered by a board-certified anesthesiologist will be required
  • Scarring from this procedure is often barely noticeable as the incisions are placed in inconspicuous areas
  • After the facelift procedure, small drains may be placed temporarily. Facial bandages can often be removed after one to two days.
  • At least one week of rest and recovery at home is typically required; side effects such as swelling and bruising are normal and fade as the area heals
  • Results are often immediately noticeable and should improve significantly as swelling subsides 

What Is a Facelift?

A facelift (rhytidectomy) is a surgical procedure that can diminish signs of aging and lax skin in the mid- to lower facial areas and under the chin. The procedure tightens facial tissues, reduces excess skin, and smoothes the remaining skin for results that can make patients look several years younger. 

Facelift surgery offers individuals looking to rejuvenate the lower facial area a variety of benefits, including: 

While facelift surgery is often the only treatment necessary for some individuals, many patients would like additional enhancement to address other facial areas. With that in mind, a facelift can be combined with eyelid surgery or even non-surgical treatments such as cosmetic injectables or microneedling to provide a more comprehensive rejuvenation. Dr. Crabtree can recommend the options that align with your ultimate goals once he has examined you and discussed your concerns. 

What Is a Mini Facelift? 

A mini facelift is essentially a less invasive version of the traditional facelift. Sometimes referred to as a “short-scar facelift,” this treatment may be ideal for patients who have cosmetic concerns that are less severe in nature. A mini facelift can effectively address milder levels of sagging, inelastic skin along the jawline and the upper neck. 

In most cases, Dr. Crabtree will create incisions in front of and behind the ears. He will then tighten underlying tissues and, if necessary, remove excess skin. This treatment most often requires general anesthesia and takes approximately two to three hours to complete. 

The mini facelift can sometimes be a good alternative to a full facelift surgery for patients who may not need the latter procedure to successfully meet their goals. During your consultation, Dr. Crabtree can talk with you about mini facelift surgery and determine whether this option is suitable based on your aesthetic concerns and the condition of your skin. 

What Does the Facelift Consultation Entail?

The initial consultation with Dr. Crabtree is the first, and one of the most important, steps in the treatment process. At this meeting, you and our plastic surgeon will discuss your concerns and goals in detail. After Dr. Crabtree has examined you and evaluated your skin, he will help you decide whether a facelift is the best option. He will also thoroughly describe the procedure’s benefits and risks and go over what you can expect on the day of surgery and throughout the recovery process. If facelift surgery is the right option for you, Dr. Crabtree will create a personalized treatment plan designed to meet your expectations with results that look both natural and beautiful. 

How Is the Facelift Procedure Performed?

The standard facelift procedure is performed on an outpatient basis at a fully equipped operating facility. This treatment involves general anesthesia, which will be administered under the care of a board-certified anesthesiologist. In most cases, Dr. Crabtree will begin the facelift procedure by creating an incision in folds at the front of the ear then around the earlobe and back along a small portion of the neck hairline. The incision technique is designed to produce scars that are quite inconspicuous, and Dr. Crabtree will make every effort to customize incision locations based on what will be best for each individual patient’s unique needs. After the incisions are made, Dr. Crabtree will tighten underlying facial tissues and remove excess skin. He will then smooth the remaining skin to create a firmer, more youthful appearance. 

A full facelift surgery can take about three to four hours to complete. Some patients may require small drains to be placed in the treatment area for a temporary period. Sutures are typically removed about one week after the facelift procedure. 

What Is Recovery from Facelift Surgery Like?

Many of our facelift patients are able to resume work and other normal daily activities about one week after the treatment. Strenuous exercise should be avoided for a minimum of three to four weeks, and patients should be sure to sleep with the head in an elevated position for a brief period following surgery. Bruising, swelling, and redness in the treated areas are normal side effects of facelift surgery and should dissipate as healing progresses. Discomfort during recovery can be controlled with oral medication. While the majority of the swelling should go down after six weeks—at which time the final results of the procedure are typically more visible—it is important to note that a small amount of swelling may be present (though often barely noticeable) for up to six months following facelift surgery. 

The initial results of facelift surgery should be immediately noticeable, with the outcome further improving as the swelling subsides over the next few weeks. 

Would you like to learn more about facelift surgery? Please contact Crabtree Plastic Surgery for additional information, or to schedule a consultation with our plastic surgeon.