Ballpark Estimate: $5,000 to $10,000+
What if you could look younger and fresher than you have in years? Would you be willing to pay whatever it costs to achieve this image? As some people age, their skin becomes looser and wrinkly, too. But getting a face lift can help to pull the skin tighter and make it look firmer as well. While the procedure doesn’t come cheap, though, the results can make you look decades younger, and can also last for many years, which could make it well worth the investment for you.
The Lure of a Face Lift
If your face is aging faster than your body, you may feel comforted by the fact this is very common. Many people embrace the changes as a normal part of getting older. But if you find that your skin is particularly saggy, or if you just aren’t ready to appear your age or older, then the idea of getting a face lift could be worth giving a second look.
Consider this. As you get older, your skin begins to chage, with slower cell division and thinning of the lower layer of your face. Over time, these occurrences began to cause the skin to lose some of its tightness and to have a saggier appearance. The muscles and tissues beneath the skin also undergo aging, leading to increased wrinkling. If this sounds all too familiar, a very qualified surgeon can help you to address these issues so you can look more like you used to when you were younger.
Are You a Good Candidate?
Not everyone is a viable candidate for a face lift. This surgical technique is better suited to some skin types and situations. In fact, the experts say that for the best results, a woman whose face and skin have started sagging should still have good skin elasticity, so it will look good when the surgery is done. Therefore, people who are heavy smokers and drinkers, and those who spend excessive time with their face unprotected in the sun may not be as strong a candidate. But if you live a relatively healthy life and have good genes, you may have strong skin elasticity even into your 70s. Having bone structure, too, can also be a benefit when getting a face lift, so the results will be most pleasing.
Further, at what age you consider having a face lift is a very personal thing. The majority of face lifts are done on people who are over 50 years old, but some people do opt to have this done even earlier.
In addition, while women clearly outnumber men as face lift recipients, it’s certainly worth noting that men, too, can opt to have this procedure done. While this is a less common situation, both genders who meet the criteria can usually expect good results when the surgery is done.
Things to Consider
Keep in mind that a face lift can help you look younger, but it won’t change your features or your looks. Therefore, you need to have realistic expectations before you undergo this type of procedure. The face lift process actually removes your extra skin and tightens what’s left. This can make your jaw line look sharper and your cheeks and necks smother, but it doesn’t completely eliminate skin folds or change the overall texture of your skin. It also doesn’t improve your forehead, eyelids, eyebrows, and wrinkles around the mouth.
Therefore, if you’re looking for some dramatic changes, you may need to combine other plastic surgery along with the face lift to get achieve the results you seek.
That’s why some patients also opt to also have eyelid surgery, brow lifts, a nose job, chin surgery, facial implants and skin retexturing techniques like dermabrasion. (It’s worth noting that if you get multiple procedures done at the same time, while the actual surgical costs will be higher, you’ll only need to pay for the anesthesia and operating fee once, so this can save money over having different things done at different times.)
What to Look For
It’s also important to find a surgeon who is highly experienced in performing facial plastic surgery techniques. To help ensure this, look for someone who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. You can find a list of certified surgeons through The American Society of Plastic Surgeons website. You can also learn more about the process and what to look for through The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Another helpful resource is a Consumer Guide to Plastic Surgery.
The key to the most natural results lies in the hands of a surgeon who is very skilled at this art. Therefore, you’ll probably want to ask any surgeons you are considering to show you some pictures of their work and perhaps even to connect you with former patients to hear how satisfied they were with their experiences.
Face lifts can generally be performed in a doctor’s office, day surgery facility or hospital. Most of the time the surgery takes just a few hours, although if you have other techniques performed at the same time, the process may take a little longer. Usually patients undergoing a face lift are given anesthesia and/or a sedative.
There are several types of face lifts to consider. The condition of your skin, your goals and your facial structure will also come into play in determining which option will be best for your situation.
Some of the common procedures include:
Lower Face Lift
This is the most common approach, which focuses on the lower portion of the face to correct some of the signs of aging. The process can be performed several ways, but often consists of making tiny incisions around the ears and behind the hairline, and sometimes even under chin, in order to separate the skin from the facial tissue and muscles so that it can be pulled back to tighten the appearance. Any excess skin is removed in the process. Sometimes extra fat is also suctioned out, to help improve the final results.
Mid Face Lift
This focuses on improving the face around the cheek and below the eyes in order to reduce a tired, haggard look that some people experience as their skin loosens over time. Several techniques can be used to achieve the desired results, with some surgeons making their incisions at the lower lash line, or through the hairline at the temples. Regardless of the process used, however, the surgery is less intensive than the lower face lift.
Mini Face Lift
This is a modified version of a traditional face lift, and is often referred to as a weekend face lift because it’s not as invasive as some of the other techniques, and most patients can have it done and return to work in a few days. It usually is done with smaller incisions and on a smaller area of the face. While the results won’t be as comprehensive as with a lower or mid face lift, this is a particularly effective option for younger people who simply want to tighten loose skin on the cheeks or lessen sagging neck skin and jowls.
Thread Face Lift
This is an appealing alternative that is less invasive than a traditional face lift and can improve the cheeks, jaw line and neck more quickly and easily than a standard lower face lift. It relies on special threads that are used to hold back sagging skin. The threads are usually not visible and can show results almost immediately. There is also less recovery time needed for this procedure and it is also the one of the more affordable ways to achieve a younger face.
What It Costs
What you can expect to spend varies depending on what you have done, how many procedures you have at once and also what condition your skin is in when you undergo the surgery. People with drier skin or skin that won’t bounce back as easily can be more difficult to work with and more time consuming, and the surgical fee will take this into consideration. In addition, some procedures are more intensive than others, so the price will depend on what’s involved in the surgery.
Further, the geographic region in which you live, how experienced the surgeon you select is, and what type of facility he will be operating in will all affect the final cost of your face lift.
Also keep in mind that the total cost of a face lift includes three important fees: the surgeon’s, the anesthesiologists and the facility. These all have to be added in to come to the final price you will be charged in the end.
To give you a general idea of what you may pay for a face lift, here are some ballpark prices to consider.
- Lower face lifts: $5,000 and $15,000
- Mid face lifts: $4,000 and $10,000
- Mini face lifts: $4,000 and $7,000
- Thread face lifts: $2,000 and $6,000
Keep in mind that other surgical procedures you have done at the same time will increase the costs.
The recovery period for a face lift can take up to several weeks, depending on how intensive a procedure you undergo. You can expect to have some swelling and bruising with many facial surgeries, and you may need to eat soft foods or drinks that don’t require any chewing for the first day or two of the recovery period. It can help to be prepared for this.
Since most face lifts are considered elective cosmetic surgery, it’s likely that your health insurance plan won’t cover the costs involved in the process. However, many surgeons will be willing to offer you a payment plan so you can pay off the expense over time instead of in one lump sum. Ask your doctor what financing options are available for patients.
If you aren’t quite ready to invest in a surgical face lift but you feel in need of some help combating the aging process, you may want to look into the many creams and non-invasive skin treatments available through qualified dermatologists offices. There are a host of affordable options to consider today and many of them can be effective in tightening skin and reducing the look of fine wrinkles.