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A facelift is a cosmetic surgery that provides long-term aesthetic solutions for the aging face. Less permanent anti-aging treatments, such as dermal fillers and PDO threads may temporarily address wrinkles, lines, and sagging tissues, but the results patients gain from these procedures just don’t last. In contrast, a facelift is a long-lasting aesthetic intervention that can correct more extensive issues across the entire face. While there’s no procedure that can completely stop the aging process, a facelift can significantly slow it down! Prime Plastic Surgery’s Dr. Robert Singer has been performing facelifts since 1976, and uses the following example: if one sibling in a set of twins opts for a facelift and the other doesn’t, they’ll obviously both still age as the years pass. However, the twin with the facelift will look considerably younger, even 30 years down the line. A facelift can smooth deep jowls and creases, tighten loose skin, and address other age-related imperfections, bringing out your inner youthful glow, and increasing your confidence!

Fight signs of aging and rejuvenate your face effectively with a facelift procedure at Prime Plastic Surgery. Our stellar medical team is recognized and respected throughout Southern California and internationally, and provides expert care and lasting results for every one of our patients. Get in touch with our La Jolla location at (858) 285-4667 or call our La Mesa office at (619) 466-8851 to book a personal consultation with one of our experienced plastic surgeons. Connect with us today and see how a facelift procedure can benefit you!

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About Facelifts 

The facelift has been around for longer than many people would imagine. In fact, the first recorded facelift procedure took place at the turn of the twentieth century.(1) Over the years, alongside other significant breakthroughs in medical science, advances in facial surgery techniques significantly improved results. The facelift procedure was refined after extensive research in facial musculature provided surgeons with a clearer understanding of facial anatomy.(2) 

Nowadays, doctors can actually reshape the face at the subdermal level. Starting in the 1970s, physicians gained a stronger understanding of the tissues beneath the skin, called the SMAS (superficial muscular aponeurotic system).(3) Modern surgical facelift techniques address the deeper layers of the facial tissue rather than just eliminating excess skin. This has allowed for more natural-looking results while effectively leaving the patient looking significantly younger. And, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), they’re incredibly popular. Recent data from ASPS shows over 230,000 facelifts were performed in 2020 alone. This makes the facelift one of the top five cosmetic surgery procedures in the United States. And with today’s advanced techniques and the skilled surgeons at Prime Plastic Surgery, patients no longer have to worry about a wind-swept, stretched facial appearance that broadcasts “had work done.” The results are natural-looking and tailored to accentuate each patient’s features. 

Benefits of a Facelift

A facelift restructures subdermal tissues and muscle as well as tightens the overlying skin. A facelift can smooth loose and wrinkled areas around your eyes, cheeks, and jawline, for overall enhancement in a single procedure. 

Other benefits include:

  • A natural-looking, refreshed appearance that lets you look as young as you feel
  • Corrected volume for more youthful proportions 
  • Eliminate jowls for better jawline definition

The benefits of a facelift last for years, unlike temporary solutions such as botox and dermal fillers that may require frequent touch-ups.

Who are the Best Candidates for a Facelift?

Patients should be in good health, with a positive outlook and realistic expectations as to what the procedure can achieve. Certain underlying medical conditions may interfere with the procedure, such as bleeding disorders. Any thinning of the blood poses a risk in surgery, so patients will also need to discuss all medications with their surgeon. Diabetes, heart conditions, and anemia, as well as unhealthy habits such as drinking and smoking, can affect the success of the procedure, recovery, and results. The best patient is a healthy patient.

There is no set age for a facelift. While facelift patients were typically in their early 60s in years past, today, those in their 40s and 50s are choosing to take action. Most patients don’t want a dramatic difference from their facelift. They simply want subtle improvements that are natural-looking and a refreshed appearance that allows them to age gracefully. Generally, patients who have facelifts performed at a younger age enjoy longer-lasting results. Younger patients are also able to heal more quickly and enjoy a faster recovery. 

Whether you’re troubled by the onset of facial aging or have been considering a nip tuck for years, a facelift may be right for you. The best way to find out is to schedule an appointment at either of our locations in the San Diego area to learn more!

You can reach our La Jolla offices at (858) 285-4667, or our La Mesa location by calling (619) 466-8851.

Personal Consultation

During your personal consultation at Prime Plastic Surgery, you’ll meet with one of our expert plastic surgeons who will get to know more about you and your goals. After a friendly and honest discussion, they’ll examine your areas of concern in order to recommend an ideal treatment plan. We will also review your medical history and take other necessary steps to ensure that you’re fit for surgery. If you’re a good candidate for a facelift, we’ll walk you through preparing for the surgery, the surgery itself, and the recovery process. We will then discuss any concerns you might have in order to ensure our approach meets your individual needs.

At Prime Plastic Surgery, our team of doctors combines years of expertise with a dedication to the goals of their patients. 


The surgeons at Prime Plastic Surgery work carefully with patients to ensure the best possible experience and the most desirable results. Each of our patients receives personalized instructions and has the full support of our staff at their disposal.

After the decision to proceed, the patient should prepare for the surgery in the following ways:

  • Choose a trustworthy friend or relative who can act as an escort and driver until the anesthesia completely wears off.
  • Fast before the procedure. For an 8:00 AM surgery, drink only water after midnight.
  • Come to their surgical appointment with a clean face and hair.
  • Make plans for time off work or social activities (generally two weeks).
  • Follow all directions regarding medications and other activities leading up to the procedure.


There’s no one like you, and every facial surgery at Prime is tailored to the unique facial features and concerns of the patient. The exact steps for the procedure depend on the type of facelift, and the approach and techniques that your surgeon has determined will best suit your needs. Facelift procedures can take from 90 minutes to 6 hours, depending on the extent of surgery required.

After your anesthesia has taken effect, your surgeon will begin.

Facelift incisions generally encircle each ear and extend to the temple, and allow for the surgeon to carefully separate and lift the overlying skin from deeper layers of tissue. Once they have access to the SMAS, they will perform the necessary techniques to reshape and reposition this underlying tissue. They may also sculpt the underlying fat for more voluminous cheeks and better definition. The next step is to gently redrape the skin so that it lays smoothly over the new, revitalized contours. Any excess skin is removed, and the incisions are sutured closed. The incisions are then wrapped in a dressing, and the patient is moved to a recovery room to be monitored until they are ready to return home with their designated caregiver. Often microfat grafts are utilized to enhance areas where there has been a loss of volume. They are your own tissue so there is no chance of rejection. They are long-lasting, as opposed to synthetic fillers which require touch-ups every few months.

Recovery From Facial Cosmetic Surgery

As with most surgical procedures, recovery progresses in stages. Facelift patients should plan to relax at home and take time off work and other activities. 

The First Few Days

Following the procedure, you will have a soft head wrap around your head and under your chin to minimize swelling. Your surgeon will have placed drains behind each ear to release excess fluid. You and your caretaker will be instructed on how to care for these drains until they are removed a day or two after your facelift when you return to our office for a follow-up appointment so that we can monitor your recovery. Bandages are usually removed three to five days after surgery. After the procedure, it’s normal to experience swelling, bruising, numbness, and some discomfort, which are usually the most pronounced in the first few days and can be managed with the prescribed pain medication. This may make you a little drowsy, so be sure to have help on hand if needed. And remember, no driving, smoking, or drinking for at least the first 5 days. Keep the head elevated to alleviate the swelling. Patients should sleep on their back with 2-3 extra pillows during their recovery.

The Next Few Weeks

Most people are able to return to sedentary work in 10-14 days, at which point the healing process will be well underway, and patients can resume wearing makeup. Bruising and swelling will dramatically improve over the next three weeks. At this point, you’ll be able to return to more strenuous activities and those that raise your body temperature and blood pressure. As always, continue to protect your skin by avoiding excessive sun exposure and using a good SPF.

You’ll be given a full list of instructions to ensure you have a fast, healthy recovery, and can start enjoying your results as soon as possible.

Facelift Results

Your facelift will have a long-lasting, natural-looking rejuvenating effect. Although you’ll see results immediately after surgery, you can look forward to continued gradual improvement over the next six months to a year. 

Corresponding & Complementary Procedures 

Many facelift recipients opt to include other procedures at the time of their surgery to enhance the overall effect of their facelift. The most frequent companion procedure is a neck lift. A neck lift, or platysmaplasty, restores a smooth appearance to the neck, eliminating neck banding and the appearance of a double chin.

Other facial surgeries are performed at the same time as well to ensure a balanced, harmonious result, and allow patients to only endure a single recovery period. It might finally be time to go for that nose surgery you’ve been thinking about! Or, if you’re looking to improve a sleepy or angry expression that has taken hold of your countenance, eyelid surgery, or a brow lift might be just the thing. Patients who want to further restore volume lost during aging can enhance their features with micro-fat grafts, or with synthetic implants used in chin and cheek augmentation

Patients who are reluctant to commit to surgery often start with more temporary solutions. Non-surgical rejuvenating procedures include Botox, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and laser treatments. These procedures may complement the results of a facelift or provide an alternative for those not ready for surgery.

How Much Does a Facelift Cost in San Diego?

The cost of your facelift will depend on the extent of your surgery, and the details of your treatment. After we formulate a treatment plan, we will provide an estimate for the total cost of your procedure, and any others you may choose to add. Prime Plastic Surgery provides financing options for those who qualify.


How long does a facelift last?

Every patient ages at a different rate, and there are many factors that can accelerate the aging process. However, a facelift will typically last from eight to twelve years.

How painful is a facelift?

Most patients who have facelift surgery say they are surprised at how mild the discomfort is. Patients more typically complain of tightness and swelling or a pulling sensation under the chin or in the temple area. Understandably, after any surgical procedure, some discomfort can be expected and pain tolerance varies from patient to patient. Patients are provided with prescriptions for pain medication. Many patients use the prescription medication 2-5 days after surgery and then switch to Extra Strength Tylenol. It is uncommon for patients to report extreme pain after surgery.

How soon can I shower after a facelift?

You should avoid getting your incisions wet until your bandage is removed, which usually happens a day or two (3-5 days) after your surgery. Then, you can wash your hair in the shower with ordinary shampoo. You may dry it with a towel, or blow dry it with a cool dryer. Avoid hot styling tools. Do not use the hot setting on your hairdryer, electric rollers, or curling irons for three weeks following surgery. Do not color or bleach your hair for three weeks after surgery, or until you are completely healed.

What is a good age to get a facelift?

Anyone with significant signs of aging may be a good candidate for a facelift. Most of the women and men who would consider a facelift are between 40 and 70 years old. However, there are exceptions. Some people age prematurely and may consider improvement at an earlier age, or preventative measures from a mini facelift. Others patients are lucky to age more slowly and in good health, and can successfully undergo the surgery in their seventies or eighties.


  1. Yang, A. J., & Hohman, M. H. (2022). Rhytidectomy. PubMed; StatPearls Publishing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK564338/#:~:text=The%20first%20documented%20facelift%20was 
  2. Kim, B. J., Choi, J. H., & Lee, Y. (2015). Development of Facial Rejuvenation Procedures: Thirty Years of Clinical Experience with Face Lifts. Archives of Plastic Surgery, 42(5), 521–531. https://doi.org/10.5999/aps.2015.42.5.521
  3. Tarassoli, S. P., Shield, M. E., Allen, R. S., Jessop, Z. M., Dobbs, T. D., & Whitaker, I. S. (2020). Facial Reconstruction: A Systematic Review of Current Image Acquisition and Processing Techniques. Frontiers in Surgery, 7(7).  https://doi.org/10.3389/fsurg.2020.537616
  4. Barrett, D. M., Casanueva, F. J., & Wang, T. D. (2016). Evolution of the rhytidectomy. World Journal of Otorhinolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, 2(1), 38–44. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wjorl.2015.12.001.

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Face Procedures