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Facelift

Scientifically known as a rhytidectomy, the facelift pulls back limp skin and repositions sagging and lax fat and muscle.

By Zeel Editorial Staff, Last updated: June 26, 2012

Scientifically known as a rhytidectomy, the facelift pulls back limp skin and repositions sagging and lax fat and muscle. Since 2008, the number of facelifts in the U.S. has decreased by almost 29%, most likely losing popularity to less invasive facial rejuvenators like lasers and injectables. But when significant tightening is needed, a facelift can provide more extensive and longer-lasting improvement.

What It's Good For

A facelift can only treat the lower two-thirds of the face. Facelifts are effective for tightening and smoothing the chin, jaw, loose skin, nasolabial folds, midface sagging, and jowls.

Who it works for: Lotions, lasers, and chemical peels can't banish wrinkles forever. Even the most pampered skin can sag, fold, and crease, and fat deposits can develop near the neck and under the chin.

If your jaw hangs and sways with every turn of the head or if deep lines have formed beneath the eyes and at the corners of the mouth, you're not alone. A facelift may be right for you.

Recommended age range: 98.4% of the facelifts performed in 2009 were on patients who were 35 and older.

When will I see results?: Temporary loss of muscle function or feeling can persist for a few weeks to a few months. Bruising and puffiness can last 10 to 14 days after surgery, but light bruising can stick around for four to six weeks. Makeup can be used to hide any skin discoloration.

How long it lasts: The results of a facelift can last up to 10 years, but the procedure can't fight age forever. Skin can continue to become wrinkled and relaxed through the years.

Key benefits of facelift: Surgical scars are typically created in the hairline and are easily hidden. A 2010 study classifying patient's satisfaction with their facelift found that one year later, almost 98% of outcomes were rated "very good" or "beyond expectations." 12 years afterward, 70% of patients still were pleased that they'd had a facelift.

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