What exactly is a facelift?

As we age, the skin gradually loses its elasticity and begins to loosen and sag on the face and neck. This can lead to jowls, a “double chin” and vertical folds on the neck. Facelift surgery is designed to lift and re-drape the skin of the neck and lower face so that it fits more snugly on the underlying tissue. Muscle and connective tissue beneath the skin are also lifted and tightened to provide longer-lasting improvement. A facelift may be supplemented with additional procedures such as laser skin resurfacing or facial liposuction to achieve optimal results.

How does the facelift procedure work?

The procedure itself can take 3-4 hours and is performed using local anesthesia while the patient is under intravenous sedation (twilight sleep). The incision is begun in the area just above and in front of the ear and continues around the ear lobe to the back of the ear. If there is significant excess skin or bands in the neck, a small additional incision may be made just beneath the chin. The muscle beneath the skin is tightened and the skin is re draped with the excess trimmed away. The incisions are closed with fine sutures and small metal clips in the scalp. The patient goes home with the head and neck wrapped in dressings which are inspected and changed in the office the next day.

How should I prepare for a facelift procedure?

In the days and weeks leading up to the actual surgery, patients are asked to take a number of actions to help improve the surgical experience. For one, patients will be asked to quit smoking and refrain from drinking alcohol a few weeks prior to surgery. Both of these can affect your healing time. In addition, certain medications should not be taken prior to surgery. We will let you know which ones during your visit.

On the day of your surgery, be sure to arrange for transportation to and from the surgical suite. Though it’s located in the Sacramento area, after your facelift you will be in no condition to drive or get home on your own. You should also have a friend or family member stay with you for the first two or three days to help you around your home. Be sure to wear no make-up or jewelry on the day of your surgery, and to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes as well.

What should I expect after facelift surgery?

Even though most patients do not experience significant pain following a facelift, medication is dispensed just in case. Some degree of swelling and bruising may occur, but is kept to a minimum with the use of an elastic facial support which will be supplied. Any bruising should disappear over 2-3 weeks. Complete healing can take up to 3-6 months.

It’s important that patients get a lot of rest in those early days and refrain from any strenuous activity, particularly lifting heavy objects. Stay well hydrated, and be mindful of the position in which you rest your head. You will want to avoid wearing earrings, other facial jewelry, and blow drying your hair for a few weeks until you are told it is fine. Do not scratch or touch your incisions. You will also be instructed to avoid alcohol consumption, saunas, and steam rooms for several weeks to a few months until healing is complete.

Will a facelift last?

Since surgery does not stop the aging process, some relaxation of tissue can occur over the first few weeks. Because of the continuing effects of gravity and loss of elasticity, it is not uncommon for patients to undergo a “tuck up” or re-tightening of the lift a few years after the initial surgery.

Contact Dr. Craig E. Berris about Facelifts

If you’d like to discuss how a facelift could benefit you, or just gather more information, contact our Sacramento plastic surgery office today. Dr. Berris and his staff will be happy to field your questions, or schedule a free consultation.


Center for Cosmetic Eyelid & Laser Surgery
Craig E. Berris, M.D., F.A.C.S.
77 Scripps Drive, Suite 201
Sacramento , CA 95825
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[email protected]

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I had interviewed several doctors and my decision to have Dr Berris MD provide my surgical procedures was by far my best possible choice. And thank you so very much to his staff.

From first appointment for evaluation, staff getting authorization for upper eyelid surgery and forehead lift, and then to surgery, all staff were so helpful, courteous, and caring. I would refer others to Dr. Craig Berris.