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Revitalizing Your Facial Appearance with a Facelift and Neck Lift

We would all like to look as good as we feel. As the face ages, many people turn to cosmetic surgery to achieve a smoother, firmer, and more youthful look. Indeed, a surgical facelift can enhance the facial appearance by smoothing loose skin on the face, tightening underlying tissues, and removing excess fat. At Santa Barbara Plastic Surgery Center, our board-certified plastic surgeon performs a facelift in combination with neck lift surgery to provide extensive rejuvenation in the areas where aging is most apparent. If you would like to find out if you would be a good candidate for a facelift, contact the Santa Barbara Plastic Surgery Center today.

“My husband says I look so young now that he needs a procedure to match me.”

-Neck and Face Lift Patient

What is a Facelift?

A facelift, also known as rhytidectomy, is a facial plastic surgery procedure designed to reposition and tighten lax facial tissue in order to minimize signs of aging. Over time, the effects of sun exposure, the natural aging process, gravity, and decreased collagen production can cause loose or sagging skin to develop in the face and neck, creating an aged appearance. A facelift is considered a highly effective solution to restore a more youthful look for long-lasting results that appear very natural.

The treatment is performed differently for each patient based on one’s unique goals, anatomical facial structure, and aesthetic concerns. Therefore, if you are considering facelift surgery, it is extremely important to consult with an experienced plastic surgeon, such as Dr. Wesley Schooler, about your expectations for the outcome.

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What is a Neck Lift?

More often than not, the appearance of aging skin is not exclusive to the face. Excess fat deposits and loose skin can also congregate under the chin, forming vertical neck bands and preventing a defined, youthful neck profile. With a neck lift, these concerns can be addressed in conjunction with facelift surgery, or as a separate procedure. Treatment involves removing excess skin and fat in the neck while repositioning the underlying tissue and musculature to achieve a more contoured look. Dr. Schooler often performs a neck lift with facelift surgery to correct jowls along the jawline and sagging tissue in the neck, resulting in far-reaching enhancement.

What Signs of Aging Can a Facelift Treat?

As the most enduring method of facial rejuvenation currently available, a facelift can be utilized to improve:


These concerns typically develop over time as the skin loses elasticity and becomes lax. A facelift can be a powerful way to combat these changes and provide smoother, tighter, and firmer facial skin. When a neck lift is combined with a facelift, patients can also smooth horizontal bands, correct the appearance of a “turkey neck,” and enhance the overall neck contour. Dr. Schooler also offers a skin resurfacing CO2 laser treatment in conjunction with a face and necklift to provide even more improvement in the texture and appearance of the skin.

Is a Facelift Right for Me?

If you’re bothered by indications of aging in the face and neck, you can likely benefit from a facelift. Although non-surgical treatments have the power to improve your complexion and skin health, a surgical facelift is the only procedure that can make you look up to ten years younger than your actual age. In general, patients interested in a facelift should be:

During your consultation, you should gain a better idea of whether a facelift or one of our other facial procedures is the most optimal treatment for your needs and goals. Dr. Schooler will answer all of your questions and review your medical history to help ensure you’re a good candidate for surgery. We invite you to explore our before-and-after photo gallery to get an idea of the results possible with facelift surgery.

What are My Facelift Options?

There are many facelift techniques available to achieve a more refreshed and youthful look. The best type of procedure for your needs will depend on the severity of your concerns and your overall goals. No matter what approach is the best for you, Dr. Schooler is well-versed in achieving natural-looking results. 

SMAS Facelift

The SMAS facelift comprehensively addresses signs of aging by working within the superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS) — the layer of tissue that connects the neck and face muscles to the skin. This procedure is designed to tighten the underlying musculature, trim excess skin, and remove fat causing facial sagging. As a result, patients achieve an improvement in sagging cheeks, jowls, nasolabial folds, and lax neck tissue. 

Mini Facelift

A mini facelift is typically reserved for patients who only show mild to moderate signs of aging. This offers a less extensive version of the facelift procedure, allowing the benefits of a reduced recovery period and shorter incisions. In general, a mini facelift is designed to get rid of sagging skin along the jawline and neck. 

Neck Lift

Neck lift surgery focuses more on the neck rather than the face, often correcting concerns such as platysmal bands, loose skin, and a “turkey neck.” Whether combined with a facelift or performed in isolation, a neck lift can help contour the lower face and improve the appearance of an aging neck. If you have a “double chin,” a neck lift can also be performed at the same time as liposuction to the neck for a slimmer look overall.

How is the Facelift Procedure Performed?

A facelift is an outpatient procedure performed under general anesthesia. Incisions are typically hidden in discreet locations within the hairline, behind the ears, or along the natural contours of the face to allow a natural-looking result. During a facelift, Dr. Schooler targets the underlying SMAS layer, the supportive framework of the face that envelops the muscles, skin, and fat. Because the effects of gravity, aging, and environmental stressors can weaken the SMAS layer and cause facial laxity to develop, our plastic surgeon performs a facelift by tightening and repositioning this layer of musculature for a more refreshed aesthetic. Pronounced creases will be smoothed, and lax facial skin will be minimized. If you are undergoing a neck lift with a facelift, excess skin and fat will also be removed to make the neck more youthful. The surgery can take four to six hours, depending on the extent of your concerns.

Facelift Consultation

By meeting with our plastic surgeon, you will learn more about the risks and benefits of facelift surgery, as well as pre- and post-operative information, the costs associated with a facelift, and more. You can also request a brochure on the facelift procedure from the Santa Barbara Plastic Surgery Center. Our plastic surgeon is highly skilled in the facelift and neck lift procedure and aims for beautiful, natural-looking results. In planning for surgery, there are many behavioral patterns that can affect the results of a facelift. During your initial consultation, be sure to make our plastic surgeon aware of any behaviors that may affect surgery results, such as smoking or tanning habits as well as planned weight loss. Other aspects, such as your age and skin type, will also affect the final outcome of a facelift.

What is the Facelift Recovery Process Like?

After surgery, bandages or a light supportive facial garment may be worn to facilitate the healing process. This can also help diminish swelling, which patients typically experience to some degree after the procedure. Oral pain medications can help manage any swelling, bruising, or tenderness that may arise following a face and neck lift, with these reactions often resolving on their own as the recovery period progresses. Most patients can return to their daily routines within one to two weeks, although the amount of downtime required will depend on each individual’s unique rate of healing. Strenuous activity and aerobic exercise should be avoided for approximately four weeks.

How Long Does a Facelift Last?

While cosmetic surgery cannot stop the natural aging process, a facelift plus neck lift should provide a younger-looking facial appearance for the near and distant future. In general, a patient who has had facelift surgery will always look more youthful than individuals who are the same age and have not undergone the procedure. The best ways to prolong the outcome of a facelift is to engage in healthy habits that will not prematurely age the skin. That said, the following tips may help you extend the longevity of a facelift so you can enjoy your facial rejuvenation as long as possible:

Smoking, being outdoors without sun protection, artificial tanning, and a poor diet can all cause the quality of the skin to deteriorate. Dr. Schooler can provide you with more information about extending facelift results when he evaluates your concerns in person.

Treatments to Preserve Facelift Results

There are several non-surgical med spa treatments that can not only reduce wrinkles, acne scars, and other common skin concerns, but also “touch up” the results of your facelift procedure. If you notice signs of aging beginning to appear, the following services may be able to help:

These facial rejuvenation treatments can be an excellent and convenient way to facilitate a smooth, healthy, and radiant complexion. While the natural aging process will continue, preventive maintenance is the best way to prolong the longevity of your facelift results.

Will I Have Visible Facelift Scars?

Dr. Schooler is very diligent to conceal incisions within the natural contours of the face and neck. This typically camouflages post-surgical scars so they appear inconspicuously to outside observers once fully healed. At your consultation, Dr. Schooler will show you where your incisions are likely to be placed so you have a better idea of what to expect with regard to scarring. Visible scars can also be further minimized by taking proper care of your incisions during the recovery period. Following your procedure, Dr. Schooler will give you detailed after-care instructions to help ensure optimal wound healing and discreet facelift scars.

When’s the Best Age for a Facelift?

Everyone’s face ages at a different rate based on genetics, lifestyle habits, sun exposure, and other factors unique to each person. For this reason, there is no definitive “best” age for facelift surgery. A patient in their thirties may have better skin tone than an individual in their fifties, so it’s impossible to determine an ideal age for the procedure. Candidacy for a facelift and neck lift is more influenced by the severity of your concerns (i.e. extent of skin inelasticity, level of muscle laxity) rather than your actual age.

Can I Get a Non-Surgical Facelift?

A facelift procedure is considered the most powerful way to tighten the skin and musculature of the face, but there are other less invasive techniques that can also rejuvenate an aging facial appearance. A “liquid facelift” is a non-surgical treatment that can help you smooth wrinkles and restore lost facial volume using a strategic combination of dermal fillers. Products like Restylane® and JUVÉDERM® are designed to contour the cheeks and add volume to the lips, as well as smooth marionette lines and parentheses wrinkles. When these fillers are used in complement with each other, the result can be a more youthful look achieved without surgery or downtime. While the results of a liquid facelift are not as effective or long-lasting as facelift surgery, they can temporarily refresh your facial features.

Does a Facelift Treat the Entire Face?

A facelift mainly addresses the lower face and neck, which are regions commonly affected by lax or sagging facial skin. However, if you desire improvement along the entire length of the face, Dr. Schooler offers complementary procedures that can be incorporated into a facelift treatment plan. Brow lift surgery and blepharoplasty are both popular treatment options that can refresh the upper face—particularly if you experience a drooping brow or loose eyelid skin. These procedures are designed to smooth excess skin in the forehead and around the eyelids, respectively.

Alternatively, if you feel your cheeks have lost volume or that your mid-face appears sunken, fat grafting can be performed to restore fullness to your facial contours. This volume-enhancing technique often achieves rejuvenation that outlasts the results of non-surgical cheek fillers. Ultimately, Dr. Schooler can advise you on potentially beneficial treatment options based on your concerns and cosmetic goals.

How Much Does a Facelift Cost?

The price of a facelift depends on a number of factors, including whether a neck lift was performed as part of your treatment, the surgical technique used, and the extent of concerns addressed.

Our plastic surgeon has the opportunity to examine your concerns during a consultation, our office will be able to provide you with an accurate quote of your facelift expenses. In addition to accepting most major payment methods, our practice works with CareCredit® and Alphaeon™ Credit to allow patients the option of paying for their surgery over time. These premier plastic surgery financing companies offer qualified applicants a range of flexible payment plans with low monthly installments to make the cost of a facelift more affordable. If you have further questions regarding the price of a facelift and/or neck lift, please reach out to our practice to speak to a member of our team.

Is Facelift Surgery Safe?

The facelift procedure is safe as long as patients are under the care of a board-certified plastic surgeon who has extensive experience performing facelift surgery. While every cosmetic surgery comes with a degree of risk, you can maximize your safety by choosing a plastic surgeon with the highest level of training in aesthetic procedures. By obtaining accreditation by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), plastic surgeons receive training beyond the bare minimum required to perform surgery and participate in continuing education courses to stay up-to-date with evolving techniques. This wide breadth of experience can give patients the confidence of knowing their facelift provider has the education and training necessary to achieve top-notch results.

Additional Facelift FAQs

Can a facelift smooth wrinkles?

A facelift can help make creases in the lower face less noticeable, but the procedure is more designed to address sagging skin along cheeks, neck, and jawline. If you have wrinkles around the eyes or brow, a facelift alone may not be an effective treatment option to resolve your concerns. Depending on your goals, you may consider undergoing a brow lift or eyelid surgery in combination with (or instead of) a facelift to reduce wrinkling in the upper face. Non-surgical options like BOTOX® Cosmetic and Jeuveau™ can also smooth fine lines like crow’s feet, frown lines, and brow creases, if desired. 

Does a facelift differ for men versus women?

Each facelift procedure is custom-designed according to the needs, skin quality, goals, and anatomy of each patient. Although the same general techniques are utilized for both men and women during facelift surgery, the procedure will be influenced by the anatomical differences between male patients and female patients. In addition, men and women often have different desires for how they want the outcome to appear, with male patients often seeking a broad, strong jawline and female patients wanting softer, more elegant facial contours. In either case, Dr. Schooler prioritizes results that look natural and harmonious to the inherent character of a patient’s face. 

When can I wear makeup after a facelift?

It’s necessary to wait until all of your incisions have fully healed before wearing makeup again after facelift surgery. This helps decrease the possibility of contamination from bacteria and other impurities. Dr. Schooler will keep up with your recovery and provide you with instructions regarding all activity restrictions. Once it’s safe for you to begin applying makeup again, we recommend replacing your products with new cosmetics to further prevent bacteria buildup. 

How long after a facelift before I can exercise?

In most cases, patients must wait four to six weeks before resuming exercise depending on the progress of their recovery and the extent of their procedure. Once Dr. Schooler confirms that it’s safe to return to your exercise routine, it’s usually recommended that patients start with light, low-impact workouts and then slowly introduce more strenuous activity based on how their body responds. 

Please contact us today for more information, or to schedule a consultation. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have on facelift or neck lift procedures.