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Facelift Frequently Asked Questions

Q-What is a facelift?

A facelift, also known as rhytidectomy, is a plastic surgery procedure designed to improve the most visible signs of aging and restore a more youthful appearance to the face and neck. As time passes, facial lines and wrinkles form, laxity in the neckline develops and deep folds appear along the nose-cheek groove. No one lives a life completely shielded from the sun, immune from gravity, while not allowing ourselves to make the facial expressions that cause wrinkles. The purpose of a facelift is to restore the youthful cheeks, lower face and neckline you had years ago. Properly performed, a facelift should not to make you look like someone else; instead, a facelift should make you look better, certainly not different. The procedure can improve the appearance of sagging facial skin of the lower face as well as jowls and loose neck skin.

facelift photo

Dr. Clevens brings a skilled touch to the facelift procedure, his patients should expect to achieve a smoother neck area, reduced jowls, and a refined jawline and chin. Your face will never looked pulled or operated upon. Through the use of the most sophisticated and up to date facelift techniques, Dr. Clevens strives to create a subtly more youthful face by lifting and restoring the muscles in addition to tightening the superficial layers that serve as the foundation of our skin. The soft tissues and fat are addressed by Dr. Clevens to achieve a rejuvenated appearance.

Q-Are other procedures typically performed at the same time as facelift?

A facelift rejuvenates the lower two thirds of the face and neck. A facelift lifts the cheeks creating an uplifted appearance to the cheeks and midface, smooths the nasolabial folds, lifts the jowl thereby defining the jawline creating a more youthful and angular jawline and neck line. In addition, a facelift lifts the neck and chin improving you profile and neckline.

Facelift is often performed in conjunction with other procedures that rejuvenate the face and turn back the hands of time including browlift, blepharoplasty (cosmetic eyelid surgery) and skin resurfacing procedures such as laser skin resurfacing, Rhytec Portrait skin resurfacing and chemical peels. . These procedures improve the forehead, brow position, the appearance of the eyelids and the texture of the skin. Often additional procedures are necessary to achieve a balanced improvement. For example, if someone receives a facelift, their youthful lower face may accentuate an aged forehead, saggy brows, or tired looking eyelids.

During your consultation with Dr. Clevens, he and his staff will help you decide what combination of procedures, if necessary, will best address your individual needs if a facelift alone is not enough to achieve the best post operative result.

Q-Who is the best candidate for a facelift?

The best candidate for a facelift is a physically healthy person who is realistic in their expectations regarding the appearance of loose facial and neck skin. You do not need to wait until the signs of aging are severe, an increasing number of men and women elect to have facelifts performed at a younger age at the first signs of a sagging lower face – creating a less dramatic and less noticeable result than if they had waited longer. In general, a facelift performed at a younger age creates a longer lasting and more natural appearing lift, enabling you to enjoy the results of your procedure for more years to come. Conversely, so long as you are healthy, a facelift can be performed at any age and can deliver remarkable results. Many healthy patients over 80 years of age enjoy the benefits of a facelift.

Q-Where is the facelift procedure performed?

To ensure your safety and comfort, Dr. Clevens performs facelift surgery in a state-licensed, fully accredited ambulatory surgery Center of Outpatient Surgicenter. Dr. Clevens does not perform this type of procedure in an office setting as this is generally considered unsafe.

Q-What type of anesthesia is used for the facelift?

Dr. Clevens typically performs facelift with either general anesthesia or a combination of local anesthesia and sedation. Regardless, a board certified physician MD anesthesiologist will be responsible for administering your anesthesia or sedation. Dr. Clevens and your anesthesiologist will help determine what best suits your particular needs.

Q-How is the actual facelift procedure performed?

In a facelift, Dr. Clevens creates fine incisions around the folds and contours in front of and behind the ear. The skin is carefully separated from the underlying fat and muscle. Fat is removed from around the neck and chin, the muscles are tightened, and excess skin is removed. The incisions are then meticulously closed. Dr. Clevens typically performs the most sophisticated, state of the art facelift known as a ‘Deep Plane’ or Extended Sub-SMAS facelift – creating the most natural looking lift and the longest lasting lift.

Q-How long does it take to perform the actual facelift procedure ?

Facelifts typically require several hours to perform.

Q-Where are the incisions made for a facelift? Are there scars after a facelift?

For a traditional facelift, the incision usually begins at the temples just above the hairline and runs in front of and then behind the ear into the lower scalp. If the neck requires work, a small incision may be made just under the chin.

It should be noted that the incisions for a facelift are different in men than they are in women. In women, the hairline and border of the ear hide the scars. If these incisions were made the same way in men, beard growth and pattern would be altered! For this reason, in men the incision is made in front of the ear, where it can be hidden by sideburns.

Dr. Clevens takes great care to make inconspicuous facelift incisions that will heal into the least obvious scars possible. Before your procedure and during your aftercare you will receive advice from Dr. Clevens and his staff on how to care for your incisions.

Q-Is the facelift procedure painful?

Patients may experience some discomfort after the facelift procedure, though this pain is typically mild and can be easily controlled with prescription pain medication that Dr. Clevens will provide.

Q-What is the recovery like after a facelift?

After a facelift, some numbness, bruising and swelling will occur. Bruising typically takes two to three weeks to fade. Dr. Clevens has an experienced team of aestheticians on his staff available to instruct you how to conceal any bruising or swelling that may remain when you are ready to return to your normal routine. Many patients will return to work within two weeks of their facelift procedure.

Dr. Clevens and his staff are devoted to delivering the best aftercare and aid you in the speediest and most comfortable recovery possible.

Q-How much time will I need to take off from work after undergoing a facelift?

Many patients will return to work within two weeks of their facelift procedure. Our team of experienced medical aestheticians will assist you with makeup to cover-up any bruising and will perform lymphatic massage to aid in the rapid resolution of any bruising or swelling.

Q-When can I exercise after undergoing a facelift?

Exercise and sTRenuous activities will need to be avoided for one month after your facelift procedure. Take it easy, and though your mind may feel restless make a conscious effort to give your body time to catch up and recuperate to achieve the best results of your facelift.

It is also wise to limit sun exposure for several months after your facelift procedure, as the tissues in your newly youthful face may be fragile.

Q-When are the stitches removed after the facelift procedure?

Dr. Clevens uses dissolving stitches that vanish a few days after your procedure.

Q-What are the risks or complications associated with a facelift?

Patients should be informed that every surgical procedure carries certain risks and the potential for complications. The potential complications associated with the facelift procedure may include the following: bruising, swelling, sensitivity to anesthesia, asymmetry, infection, nerve injury and poor healing.

Q-Does insurance cover the facelift procedure?

Facelifts are a purely cosmetic procedure, and are therefore not covered by insurance.

TRUST YOUR FACE TO THE SPECIALIST… Ross A. Clevens, MD, FACS is board-certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. He completed his undergraduate work at Yale University and earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School. Dr. Clevens completed his residency and post-graduate Advanced Fellowship in Facial Plastic Surgery at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

A graduate of Yale, Harvard and Michigan, Dr. Clevens is Brevard’s only fellowship-trained and board-certified facial plastic surgery specialist. Dr. Clevens specializes in nasal, facial and eyelid plastic surgery rather than plastic surgery in general to provide his patients the best in specialized care. Your specific concerns are best addressed in detail during your personal consultation with Dr. Clevens who was judged “Best of Brevard” by the readers of Florida Today in 2001-2007.

Please contact our offices in Melbourne and Merritt Island, Florida at 321.727.3223 or 888.438.3223 today to arrange your consultation.

You may contact us via email at or visit us on the web at

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