How Dangerous is a Facelift?

Woman wonders how dangerous a facelift procedure is.

A facelift can tighten up loose, saggy skin and take years off a patient’s appearance. However, like any other surgery, there are risks and rewards for going under the knife. Many patients want to know how potentially “dangerous” a facelift procedure can be. After all, facial tissues are very delicate—you don’t want to damage such a visible part of your body.

As a board-certified plastic surgeon, I want my Phoenix and Scottsdale patients always to feel informed and confident. Here is what you can expect from facelift surgery and how you can achieve safe, satisfying results.

What is a facelift? How is it performed?

Facelift surgery is a cosmetic procedure that creates a smoother, more youthful appearance. The treatment can tighten sagging skin, lift drooping cheeks, and reduce creases and lines around the mouth.

Surgery begins with the doctor making an incision that extends from the ear to the hairline. This incision is used to give access to muscles and tissues lying underneath the skin. Deeper tissues next to the muscles are then lifted upward and excess skin is removed. After the tissues have been placed, the incision is closed with staples and sutures. The surgery takes around 4 hours to complete. 

Who is a good facelift candidate? Which preexisting conditions could affect surgery? 

Ideal candidates for facelift surgery are those who are in overall good health and refrain from nicotine products. Good skin elasticity and bone structure give the best facelift results. 

Those with certain preexisting conditions could potentially be more at risk during treatment. When reviewing your medical history, your doctor will take a look at:

  • Blood pressure
  • Blood clotting
  • Smoking
  • Drug use
  • Allergies
  • Medications currently being taken

A facelift is not recommended for anyone with significant health problems such as high blood pressure or diabetes. Tobacco use also increases the risk of complications after surgery.

What are the possible risks and complications involved with a facelift? 

Facelift surgery is a well-established procedure with infrequent complications. However, any surgery comes with a certain amount of risk. Some potential side effects include:

  • Bruising 
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Numbness
  • Tissue death

Most of these issues are created due to infection or nerve damage. Fever, pain, and excessive swelling are common warning signs of potential issues. If you experience any of these concerns after surgery, seek medical help.

How can I make my facelift as safe as possible? 

Patients can follow some practical tips to make their facelift as safe as possible. Maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid smoking and other nicotine products. Patients should also stop taking aspirin or other blood thinners at least two weeks before their surgery. In the end, though, there is one best way to make your facelift safe: find a board-certified plastic surgeon.

Most surgery complications arise from inexperienced doctors. If the room isn’t well sanitized, or a surgeon is unfamiliar with the procedure, patients may suffer from an infection or lackluster results. Board-certified surgeons undergo years of extensive training and operate in safe, highly sanitized rooms. It’s not worth it to cut corners or shop around for a cheap deal when you’re looking for a plastic surgeon. The best way to stay healthy is to find a plastic surgeon you can truly trust.

If you’re in the Phoenix or Scottsdale area and interested in facelift surgery, browse our before-and-after photos and request a consultation. You can also call our practice office by phone at (480) 214-9955 to schedule an appointment.

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