Facelift | Billings Plastic Surgery


With aging, the soft tissues of the face and neck follow the course of gravity. Jowls form, the lines between the lips and cheek deepen, and necks begin to sag. A facelift is the process of restoring those tissues to a more pleasing position. A facelift should not change your appearance but rather refresh it. Our patients appear rejuvenated, rested, happier-but not “done”.


When is it time for a facelift?

If you find, when looking in the mirror, that you are pulling up your cheeks or neck with your hands and like what you see, then it may be time. The operation basically restores tissues to their previous, more youthful location. It is not about stretching or pulling skin to make you look different.

How is a facelift done?

Using incisions hidden in the natural creases along the ear, excess skin is lifted up, and the underlying layer of muscle is repositioned to reduce looseness in the neck and jowls. The skin is then laid back down, without stretching, and the excess skin trimmed. The procedure can be done under local anesthesia with some sedation, or with general anesthesia depending on patient choice.

Can it be combined with other procedures?

Frequently patients will have other procedures such as eyelid lift, browlift, or facial laser to treat lines around the lip and mouth.

What is the recovery like?

Usually bruising persists for a week or two, as well as some swelling. Obviously everyone is a little different. Stitches are removed at a week and two weeks. It is important to remember that although appearances can be startling earlier after surgery, it improves quickly. You should plan on 4-6 weeks of recovery prior to a major social occasion such as a wedding or class reunion.

Are there different types of facelifts?

The extent of the lift depends on how much sagging or extra tissue there is present. A person with minimal jowls can have a “minimal access” or “short scar” facelift, of which we do many. A person with a lot of neck skin will require more of an incision (extending behind the ear) to get a good result. We do not do “threadlifts”, as these have proven to be quite unsatisfactory and a waste of money. You will see many marketing campaigns and infomercial’s regarding various types of lifts. You will also, after an internet search, find many complaints and lawsuits against these companies. With your face, you should choose a highly qualified, board-certified plastic surgeon to advise you about your particular needs. We evaluate every technique, explore every method, and certainly have the surgical skill to do anything. We will explain the options, and help you decide.

What are the risks?

Infections and bleeding are unusual but can occur. The most serious risk with facial surgery is injury to a nerve of facial expression. This is very uncommon and usually resolves, but can be permanent. Visible scarring on facelift incisions is unusual.