It can be distressing when the signs of aging affect a person’s self-esteem and quality of life. As the fat in the face depletes and the skin becomes loose, the jowls begin to sag and skin folds deepen. At Jefferson Plastic Surgery in Philadelphia, we often recommend facelift surgery to tighten the skin and improve the appearance of the lower face and upper neck.

Facelift Candidates

Facelift surgery is indicated for patients with excess skin and wrinkles in the lower third of the face. The majority of our facelift patients are between the ages of 40 and 70. As patients enter their 40s, they may notice the jowls and wrinkles becoming more prominent; this gets progressively worse as the years pass. Patients that wish to see more definition in the jaw line, along with fewer wrinkles may be good candidates for facelift surgery. 

At Jefferson Plastic Surgery, our surgeons do not perform facelift surgery on patients who smoke. Smokers will be required to quit smoking at least three weeks before surgery and for several weeks after surgery. Smoking can increase the risk of complications and delay healing after facelift surgery.

Facelift Techniques

Our Philadelphia facelift surgeons offer the skin and SMAS facelift techniques.

  • Skin technique: In the skin technique, an incision is made along the patient’s hairline and behind the ear. The skin is then separated from the underlying fat and muscles, and pulled up so it lies taut against the skin. This technique is associated with fewer complications, and a quicker and more comfortable recovery period. However, the results do not last as long as the SMAS facelift technique.
  • SMAS technique: The SMAS technique also involves an incision in the hairline and behind the ears, and the dissection of the skin from the muscles and fat. Then, the layer of facial muscles is tightened by suturing them up toward the ears. This tightening and lifting of the facial muscles, along with the skin, produces a more natural aesthetic and longer lasting results.
  • Dermal fillers: Facelift techniques, which tighten the skin and muscle, do not address areas in which facial fat loss has occurred or excess fat has accumulated. Dermal fillers such as Restylane®, Perlane®, and JUVEDERM® can be injected to restore volume to the face.
  • Facial liposuction: To contour the face and remove unwanted deposits of fat, our surgeons may perform facial liposuction in combination with facelift.

Other plastic surgery procedures that complement the facelift procedure include eyelid surgery and browlift.

Facelift Procedure

The facelift procedure generally takes three to fours hours to perform. The procedure involves the following steps:

  1. We will use a surgical pen to indicate where the incisions should be placed
  2. Our board-certified anesthesiologist will sedate the patient using general anesthesia
  3. Our surgeons will apply an antibacterial solution to the incision area
  4. An incision will be made in the hairline, just above the ear; the incision will curve behind the ear and then run along the hairline below the ear
  5. The facial skin is separated from the fatty tissue and muscle
  6. If the SMAS technique is performed, the facial muscles are lifted and sutured into place
  7. The skin is pulled taut over the skin to produce a smooth and youthful appearance
  8. Excess skin is removed
  9. The incisions are closed
  10. Bandages are placed over the incisions to protect them during the initial healing process

Facelift Recovery

Many of our facelift patients stay in the hospital the night after surgery. A hospital stay offers the benefit of round-the-clock care. The day after surgery, we will remove your bandages so you can shower. For the first two or three days after surgery, we recommend that patients take it easy and relax at home. As you start to feel better, you can return to some of your regular activities. However, strenuous exercise and sun exposure should be avoided for several weeks. Patients can return to our office one to two weeks after surgery so the sutures can be removed.

Facelift Side Effects

Facelift surgery side effects, including discomfort, bruising, and swelling, is at a maximum for the first two or three days after surgery. After that time, these and other side effects will begin to dissipate quickly. Other side effects of facelift surgery include:

  • Itching at the incision site
  • Numbness at the incision site
  • Nausea on the day of surgery

Facelift Risks

Though rare, facelift surgery is associated with some risks. These include:

  • Allergic reaction to anesthesia, pain medication, surgical tools, or bandages
  • Infection
  • Hematoma
  • Delayed wound healing
  • Nerve injury
  • Accumulation of fluid

Facelift Results

Our surgeons achieve excellent results with the facelift procedure. By employing modern facelift techniques, we can achieve natural looking results with minimal pain and downtime. The results of surgery are seen immediately, but final results are visible about three months after surgery when all swelling has subsided.

Philadelphia Facelift Consultations

Contact our Philadelphia practice to schedule a facelift consultation with the plastic surgeons at Jefferson Plastic Surgery.

Questions? Email us today.

To make or reschedule an appointment please complete the form below or call:  (215) 625-6630.

CALL US TODAY: (215)625-6630


Jefferson Plastic Surgery is located on the corner of 9th and Walnut streets in Center City, Philadelphia on the 15th floor of the Wills Eye Hospital Building.

Jefferson Plastic Surgery
840 Walnut Street - 15th Floor
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
Phone: (215) 625-6630
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Online Consultation

Out of town patients can take our simple 4 step online consultation. To make or reschedule an appointment please call:  (215) 625-6630.

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Find out why it is important for patients to avoid sun exposure for up to six weeks and limit sun exposure for up to a year after facelift surgery.
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Patients not local to Philadelphia can take an online consultation from the privacy of their own home. A simple four step process that can help us determine if they are a candidate for a procedure prior to traveling to our offices. Click the more button to begin the process.