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Facelift Surgery
Darrick E. Antell, M.D., F.A.C.S.850 Park Avenue, New York, New York 10075


Top New York plastic surgeon Dr. Darrick Antell is board certified in plastic surgery, emphasizing aesthetic / cosmetic surgery. One of the procedures he performs is the facelift, both full and regional.

A facelift, also known as a Rhytidectomy, can improve the most visible signs of aging by the removal of excess fat, the tightening of underlying muscles, and the redraping of the skin of your face and neck. If you are considering a facelift, this section will give you a basic understanding of the procedure.

Considering Facelift Plastic Surgery

As people age, the effects of gravity, exposure to the sun and the stresses of daily life can be seen in their faces. Deep creases form between the nose and mouth; the jawline grows slack and jowly; folds and fat deposits appear around the neck.

A facelift (technically known as rhytidectomy) can't stop this aging process. What it can do is "set back the clock," improving the most visible signs of aging by removing excess fat, tightening underlying muscles, and redraping the skin of your face and neck. A facelift can be done alone, or in conjunction with other procedures such as a forehead lift, eyelid surgery, or nose reshaping.

If you're considering a facelift, this will give you a basic understanding of the procedure when it can help, how it's performed, and what results you can expect. It can't answer all of your questions because a lot depends on the individual patient and the surgeon. Please ask your surgeon about anything you don't understand.

The best candidates for a Facelift

The best candidate for a facelift is a man or woman whose face and neck have begun to sag, but whose skin still has some elasticity and whose bone structure is strong and well-defined. Most patients are in their forties to sixties, but facelifts can be done successfully on people in their seventies or eighties as well.

A facelift can make you look younger and fresher, and it may enhance your self-confidence in the process. But it can't give you a totally different look, nor can it restore the health and vitality of your youth. Before you decide to have surgery, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with your surgeon.

All Facelift Surgery carries some uncertainty and risk

When a facelift is performed by a qualified plastic surgeon, complications are infrequent and usually minor. Still, individuals vary greatly in their anatomy, their physical reactions, and their healing abilities, and the outcome is never completely predictable.

You can reduce your risks by closely following your surgeon's advice both before and after surgery.

Planning your Facelift Plastic Surgery

Facelifts are very individualized procedures. In your initial consultation the surgeon will evaluate your face, including the skin and underlying bone, and discuss your goals for the surgery.

Your surgeon should check for medical conditions that could cause problems during or after surgery, such as uncontrolled high blood pressure, blood clotting problems, or the tendency to form excessive scars. Be sure to tell your surgeon if you smoke or are taking any drugs or medications, especially aspirin or other drugs that affect clotting.

If you decide to have a facelift, your surgeon will explain the techniques and anesthesia he or she will use, the type of facility where the surgery will be performed, and the risks and costs involved. Don't hesitate to ask your doctor any questions you may have, especially those regarding your expectations and concerns about the results.

Preparing for your Facelift Plastic Surgery

Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications. Carefully following these instructions will help your surgery go more smoothly. If you smoke, it's especially important to stop at least a week or two before and after surgery; smoking inhibits blood flow to the skin, and can interfere with the healing of your incision areas.

Whether your facelift is being done on an outpatient or inpatient basis, you should arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery, and to help you out for a day or two if needed.

Where your Facelift Surgery will be performed

A facelift may be performed in a surgeon's office-based facility, an outpatient surgery center, or a hospital. It's usually done on an outpatient basis, but some surgeons may hospitalize patients for a day when using general anesthesia. Certain conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure should be monitored after surgery, and may also require a short inpatient stay.

Types of anesthesia for a Facelift

Most facelifts are performed under local anesthesia, combined with a sedative to make you drowsy. You'll be awake but relaxed, and your face will be insensitive to pain.

Some surgeons prefer a general anesthesia. In that case, you'll sleep through the operation.

The Facelift Surgery

A facelift usually takes several hours-or somewhat longer if you're having more than one procedure done. For extensive procedures, some surgeons may schedule two separate sessions.

Every surgeon approaches the procedure in his or her own way. Some complete one side of the face at a time, and others move back and forth between the sides. The exact placement of incisions and the sequence of events depend on your facial structure and your surgeon's technique.

If the neck needs work, a small incision may also be made under the chin.
In general, the surgeon separates the skin from the fat and muscle below. Fat may be trimmed or suctioned from around the neck and chin to improve the contour. The surgeon then tightens the underlying muscle and membrane, pulls the skin back, and removes the excess. Stitches secure the layers of tissue and close the incisions; metal clips may be used on the scalp.

Following surgery, a small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin behind your ear to drain any blood that might collect there. The surgeon may also wrap your head loosely in bandages to minimize bruising and swelling.

After your Facelift Surgery

There isn't usually significant discomfort after surgery; if there is, it can be lessened with the pain medication prescribed by your surgeon. (Severe or persistent pain or a sudden swelling of your face should be reported to your surgeon immediately.) Some numbness of the skin is quite normal; it will disappear in a few weeks or months.

Your doctor may tell you to keep your head elevated and as still as possible for a couple of days after surgery, to keep the swelling down.

If you've had a drainage tube inserted, it will be removed one or two days after surgery. Bandages, when used, are usually removed after one to five days. Don't be surprised at the pale, bruised, and puffy face you see - it is part of the healing process.

Most of your stitches will be removed after about one week. Your scalp may take longer to heal, and the stitches or metal clips in your hairline could be left in a few days longer.

Recovery after Facelift Surgery

You should be up and about in a day or two, but plan on taking it easy for the first week after surgery. Be especially gentle with your face and hair, since your skin will be both tender and numb, and may not respond normally at first.

Your surgeon will give more specific guidelines for gradually resuming your normal activities. They're likely to include these suggestions: Avoid strenuous activity, including sex and heavy housework, for at least two weeks (walking and mild stretching are fine); avoid alcohol, steam baths, and saunas for several months. Above all, get plenty of rest and allow your body to spend its energy on healing.

Most patients are back at work about ten days to two weeks after surgery. If you need it, special camouflage makeup can mask most bruising that remains.

Your new look after Facelift Surgery

Having a facelift doesn't stop the clock. Your face will continue to age with time, and you may want to repeat the procedure one or more times - perhaps ten years down the line. So, while you will continue to age, if you had an identical twin who did not have a lift, you would always look better than your twin.

What types of a Facelift is available?

Commonly when only the term "face-lift" is used, the face and neck are what is being referred to.

There are also mini lifts, who are also called neck-only lifts, face-only lifts and regional facelifts, depending on the patient’s particular concern.

How long does a Facelift last?

No one can say for sure how long a facelift lasts. The clock is turned back, but keeps on running.
Ten years later, you may look better than if you never had facelift plastic surgery. If you had a facelift and has an identical twin who did not, you would always look younger than your twin. Many patients never have a second facelift, while others may desire further plastic surgery seven to 15 years later.*

What will be discussed during my consultation for a Facelift?

Dr. Antell will ask you what concerns you most about your appearance and address that region first and foremost. He will talk about your options, the facelift surgery, the risks and potential complications, your recovery period, how much down time you should allow yourself, the operating room and the anesthesia.

He will show you in a mirror how much improvement you can expect from facelift surgery by simulating the amount of tension with his hands. He believes that computer imaging gives false expectations as it does not take into account the texture, thickness and elasticity of your skin, or of your ability to heal.

Dr. Antell spends as much time as is necessary with you to make sure you fully understand all the aspects of the procedure. Dr. Antell has had cosmetic surgery himself and speaks from experience as a patient as well as a doctor.

Can Facelift Plastic Surgery be done without scars?

The scars from facelift plastic surgery usually fade and are barely perceptible.

In some patients, especially younger ones, endoscopic surgery can be used to lift the eyebrows, remove frown lines, elevate the cheek and jowls, and tighten the neck. This endoscopic surgery can be done with tiny scars. However, if there is excessive skin, it must be removed for the best results through standard facelift incisions.

Can I have other Plastic Surgery procedures of the face done at the same time as a Facelift?

Yes, very often patients have their eyes or their brow done at the same time.

If the surgery is warranted, the final result is uniform and balanced and there is only one recovery period.*

Some patients ask that their nose be touched up, because as we age, the tip of the nose can start to sag as well.

Other patients find that they have lost volume in their lips as they've gotten older and request a fat transfer to bulk up their lips for a more youthful, pouty appearance.

What is the Submuscular Aponeurotic System?

The SMAS is a layer beneath the skin which invests the facial muscles. By tightening the SMAS, the jowls are lifted, the neck is tightened, and the cheeks are elevated. This "deep" or "2-layer" facelift is an improvement over earlier skin-only techniques.

How to get started?

Dr. Darrick E. Antell and his staff will be happy to discuss Facelift (Rhytidectomy) with you. Please call for a private consultation or schedule an appointment online at our office.

Click on images below & view Video Clips of Dr. Antell discussing Facelifts.

Facelift Testimonials From Twins Gay & Gwyn

Dr. Antell Discusses Facelift Study On Identical Twins

Dr. Antell Performs Facelifts On Twins

Facelift Surgery On Identical Twins


Related Patient Testimonials*
* Patients individual results may vary.
  • This is a glowing recommendation. I asked Dr. Antell for something difficult, to remove all sagging skin from my neck, smooth my jaw line, if possible, and improve my eyes, all without it being noticeable to anyone that anything had been done. He accomplished exactly what I asked in subtle, artful, and, what I consider, remarkable ways. He is very skilled. I came to him with my ideas, and he persuaded me to change them a bit to a solution he thought would be better. He was right. There is much art to this profession. Dr. Antell knows what to do and does it well. He has an artist's touch. I am wonderfully pleased with the results. I told him that I feel liberated. I no longer have to wear eye make-up to feel presentable, and I wear scoopnecks happily. It's a big decision to let someone change our appearance and vital to find the right person to do it. I understand why Dr. Antell has operated on many TV anchors. He is also kind, full of good humor, and concerned for his patients' welfare. He is very positive. He is a pleasure. Wonderful people work with him. His anesthesiologist and nurses are highly skilled and caring. The office director and staff are helpful, accommodating, and caring. He and they make the process easy. I feel very fortunate to have found Dr. Antell.
  • I went to Dr. Antell, and he transformed my face and my life. Not only does my face look amazing (20 years younger), but immediately after my surgery, I walked into a restaurant in the Village and met my soon-to-be husband. I am now moving to SoHo and beginning a life that I could never have dreamed of.
  • Always Excellent…lovely, professional staff as well!
  • People never realized I had anything done!  They just thought I looked very well.
  • My sister and I were both very satisfied with your services.
  • Dr. Antell you are the best.  God bless you.
  • I am so thrilled with my face and neck.  No one believes I had a lift.  Everyone wanted to know who did it.  They all say – “he did a fantastic job.  You look great!”
  • The service was excellent and exceeded my expectations.
  • I love his warmth & friendliness! He’s a real great human!
  • You are the best
  • I was blessed by having him as my plastic surgeon.
  • I have had two procedures with Dr. Antell & have been very happy with both. 
  • Dr. Antell and his entire staff were wonderful.  I was extremely pleased with the entire experience & results.
  • Not only are you the best surgeon around, but you are truly a lovely person!
  • I could never give back all that I have received.
  • I have always appreciated the very professional service I have received from Dr. Antell and his staff.  I can’t think of anything that would improve upon the experiences I have already had

*Disclaimer: The information contained on this website is intended to be purely educational in nature and does not create a physician-patient relationship with Darrick E. Antell, MD, FACS or any agent, servant or employee thereof. By no means should the information contained in this website be considered as a substitute for consultation with a qualified physician and it does not constitute a second opinion. This website and its contents do not represent or claim to provide the information needed for a patient to give his or her informed consent to any surgical procedure or are a reflection of individual patient results, as they may vary patient to patient. Individual results will vary and no guaranteed result is stated or implied by any photo use or any statement, testimonial, or video on this website. The results depicted in “before” and “after” pictures and stated by any “patient testimonial” illustrate results you may or may not achieve if you choose to have a cosmetic surgery procedure. Individual results may vary by patient. Please see our Notice of Privacy Practices.
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