How much surgery is required for facelifts?

I would like to buy my wife a facelift for her 61st birthday, which is something I know she will absolutely love, that will make her super happy. But we have a problem: she's a little bit paranoid when it comes to surgery. You see, her sister had a bad experience with a supposedly simple surgical procedure about a decade ago that nearly killed her, although she eventually emerged from the hospital just fine and has been totally healthy ever since. But my wife STILL hasn't fully gotten over it and I'm concerned she might refuse her birthday gift if there is too much surgery involved. So how much surgery IS involved with a facelift? Can anything be done to minimize the amount of surgery required?


M, 63, Connecticut

The amount of surgery required depends on what needs to be done, what the patients wants done, how long a recovery they can accept and how much they can afford to do. Facelift is not a what size fits all surgery. Some combination of lower lid, cheek, jawline and neck surgery is required. Some patients need little neck surgery and some need more. Safety is a separate issue and to assure safety make sure she is medically cleared for surgery by her internist or GP, the operating room is certified, the doctor is certified and has local hospital privileges (in case problems arise) and she has appropriate nursing care after surgery. Also make sure that her sister did not have an adverse reaction to anesthesia as that could be an inherited problem that might be preventable at the anesthesia of your wife independent of the surgery itself.

A facelift is usually a 2-3 hour surgery under a general anesthesia. My suggestion is to have a consultation and discuss desired outcomes and options. Perhaps the option of facial fillers and/or in office skin treatments may also satisfy her results without surgery.

A facelift might be the suggested surgery, but there are always options if she doesn't feel comfortable with surgery . Make sure you have an upfront discussion of her concerns. A good plastic surgeon will listen and offer advice

best wishes 

jack Peterson MD

Thank you for the question and an evaluation of your wife's face is really needed to say how much surgery might be needed.  That said there are less invasive techniques that can be used and any facelift can be done under local

Dr Corbin

You should concern yourself with the qualifications of the surgeon the the amount of surgery. If you choose a board certified plastic surgeon who specializes in face lifts, you checked on his/her certification, his/her record with the state and local hospitals, established good communication, have a good feeling about the staff, have reviewed photos of his patients. Then go with the recommendation of your surgeon. If after all of that you're uncomfortable with the surgeon, get a second opinion (almost everywhere they're complementary)

Dr. Donald Kress has 2 Facelift before & afters:

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