Procedure: Approximately 3-4 hours (facelift alone)
Anesthesia: General anesthesia
Recovery: About 2 weeks (desk jobs / light exercise); 4 weeks (social events)
Post-op Visits: 1 day, 1 week, 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 6 months
Cost: Begins at $18,000 (total fee)
What Is a Facelift?
A facelift is a cosmetic procedure designed to reduce wrinkles, sagging skin, and various other signs of aging in the face and upper neck region for a more youthful and revitalized appearance. Dr. Jon Kurkjian—our board-certified plastic surgeon—is subspecialty-trained in this aesthetically demanding treatment, providing him the advanced anatomical knowledge and surgical skill to achieve exceptionally natural-looking results for women and men seeking facial rejuvenation.
While there are many facelift techniques that can be employed, Dr. Kurkjian typically prefers the high SMAS deep plane facelift as the standard at our practice. In our opinion, this more complex technique provides a more natural look and longer-lasting results. For all facelifts, Dr. Kurkjian’s goal is to make sure his patients look like a more rested and refreshed version of themselves.
Customizing a Facelift Treatment Plan
At the time of the consultation, Dr. Kurkjian will identify areas that can be improved for enhanced facial harmony, starting from the top of the head and down to the neck. Depending on your specific aesthetic concerns, he may recommend combining facelift surgery with complementary procedures like fat transfer or eyelid surgery—though he will only do so in the event an additional treatment would help produce a better, more natural outcome.
Once both of you have agreed upon the procedural strategy, Dr. Kurkjian will provide a comprehensive overview of how the surgery will be performed, detail what to expect before and after treatment, and answer any questions you may have. If you are satisfied with the proposed plan and feel comfortable moving forward, our team will assist you in booking an appointment for facelift surgery on a date that is convenient for you. At this time, we can also discuss available payment plan options should you desire financial assistance.
In the end, Dr. Kurkjian and our staff want your facelift experience to be as pleasant and stress-free as possible, and we will do whatever we can to make sure you achieve the outcome you desire while delivering an unmatched level of care.
What Are the Benefits of Facelift Surgery?
Facelift surgery can help address some of the key signs of facial aging, including:
- Lines and wrinkles
- Drooping cheeks
- Facial volume loss
- Hanging jowls
- Sagging neck skin
- Stubborn fat
It is important to note that while a facelift is considered one of the most comprehensive facial rejuvenation procedures available, it will not directly address aesthetic concerns pertaining to the eye and forehead regions. To resolve cosmetic issues in these areas, patients can often elect to combine their facelift with eyelid surgery and/or brow lift surgery.
Facelift vs. Mini Facelift
A full facelift is designed to address significant signs of aging from the midface down throughout the neck; it does not address sagging tissue in the eyelid or brow areas. A mini facelift, on the other hand, is often less invasive, though the specifics of how this technique is performed may differ based on the surgeon or practice. For some, a mini facelift is restricted to a very small dissection with minimal change and minimal result. In our practice, a mini facelift involves a shorter incision that stops behind the ear. Also known as a short-scar facelift, this option is ideal for patients with minimal aging in their neck skin. For qualified candidates, a mini facelift can offer the benefits of a shorter incision with less scarring than that of a full facelift.
Dr. Kurkjian learned the short-scar facelift technique from pioneers of the procedure in New York City and has further honed his surgical skills to produce the most aesthetic outcome. For more information about this variation of facelift surgery, please visit our page devoted to mini facelift surgery.
Am I a Candidate for Facelift Surgery?
A facelift is an excellent option for men or women who want to look refreshed again. There is no defined upper age limit for facelift surgery, though we recommend that you are in good health and have the approval of your primary care physician before proceeding with facial rejuvenation. During the consultation, Dr. Kurkjian will evaluate your overall health status, facial anatomy, and cosmetic goals. Most importantly, he strives to formulate a detailed and comprehensive plan that is ideal for you. If it is determined that facelift surgery is not an appropriate option at this time, Dr. Kurkjian will recommend alternative treatments that would be better suited to your needs and goals.
What Is the Facelift Procedure Like?
Facelift surgery is performed under general anesthesia, typically taking about three to four hours to complete by itself. In order to avoid a wind-swept or overly tight appearance, Dr. Kurkjian performs the high SMAS deep plane facelift, which involves tightening and lifting the deeper (SMAS) layers of the face without putting any tension on the skin. This not only avoids a pulled look, it also extends the duration of the results and diminishes the visibility of scarring. Once facial tissues are elevated to an ideal position and extra skin is excised, Dr. Kurkjian will carefully close the incision sites.
Dr. Kurkjian’s High SMAS Deep Plane Facelift
While many surgeons perform a SMAS facelift approach, this is typically the SMASectomy or SMAS plication technique, which leaves the SMAS attached to the face and only tightened by sutures. Dr. Kurkjian prefers the high SMAS deep plane facelift, which is a more technically challenging technique he learned directly from pioneers in facelifting surgery.
Dr. Kurkjian’s high SMAS deep plane facelift involves a complete release of the SMAS layer, elevating it from the key retaining ligaments to allow for more movement and, as a result, an improved lift. Using the deep plane technique to apply tension to the face is more beneficial because the SMAS is a stronger layer than the skin. In Dr. Kurkjian’s opinion, a deep plane facelift allows for more natural tightening than the SMAS facelift technique alone. A unique aspect of his approach is the SMAS and skin remain attached, which helps maintain more of the blood flow to the skin and produces a more “unoperated” skin appearance.
A deep plane approach releases the SMAS in order to improve the magnitude and longevity of the facelift. The results of this technique, which usually causes significantly less strain on the facial skin and muscles, are often longer lasting and more natural looking than those of a traditional SMAS facelift. In addition, Dr. Kurkian’s high SMAS deep plane facelift offers the benefit of lifting the midface, creating both a lower and mid facelift. During your consultation, Dr. Kurkjian will determine the best strategy for your facelift procedure after a thorough consultation of your medical needs and cosmetic goals.
SMASectomy and SMAS Plication
In specific cases, Dr. Kurkjian may perform facelift surgery using the SMASectomy and SMAS plication techniques, both of which he also learned from renowned facelift surgeons during his extensive training. These techniques are employed at our practice when addressing revision facelifts, as they are a safer approach when it is impossible to know the plane of dissection from the previous surgeon. The SMASectomy and SMAS plication techniques do not involve the same comprehensive reworking of tissue and facial structure as a deep plane facelift, which may help to protect facial nerve branches from injury.
Due to the complexity of aging, facial rejuvenation often requires a multi-modality approach. To help address all the different ways the human face loses its youthful exuberance, Dr. Kurkjian will commonly combine facelift surgery with techniques such as chemical peels, dermabrasion, dermal fillers, and/or fat transfer (fat grafts) to achieve the best possible outcome. When these procedures are also performed — or if eyelid surgery or brow lift is added — facelift treatment times may be extended. Regardless of the approach, Dr. Kurkjian will always tailor the treatment to fit the unique needs of each patient.
What Can I Expect During Recovery from Facelift Surgery?
Facelift patients typically stay overnight at a hotel or return home their first night after surgery, both options involving around-the-clock help from an aftercare service. Patients return the following morning, where our team will remove surgical drains, change dressings, and check incisions.
During the initial days after surgery, patients are instructed to rest with the head slightly elevated. While some degree of swelling and bruising throughout the treatment region is common, initial swelling usually lessens within a week and bruising often fully resolves after about two weeks. Most individuals feel comfortable returning to desk jobs and light exercise after approximately two weeks, and a full social recovery can typically be expected after about 4 weeks. To ensure proper healing, strenuous activities and vigorous exercise should be avoided for a total of 6 weeks following surgery.
Dr. Kurkjian and our team aim to provide every patient with detailed care and attention to make the facelift experience at our practice a safe, comfortable, and memorable one. We use several follow-up appointments throughout the course of recovery to assess healing progress and thus modify the treatment plan as needed. The typical follow-up schedule after facelift surgery is post-operative days 1, 4, 7, 14. Follow-up visits continue at 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year and beyond. Your follow-up visits will also include specific instructions for your skin care and non-surgical treatments to help accelerate your healing and maximize your results in the short and long-term. As always, Dr. Kurkjian and his staff are available to answer questions or address any concerns that may arise along the way.
Will I Have Obvious Facelift Scars?
Although some degree of scarring is an inevitable aspect of any procedure involving incisions, Dr. Kurkjian’s high SMAS deep plane facelift technique helps to greatly diminish the final appearance of any post-operative scars. Typically, our patients’ final facelift scars are very difficult to discern. These nearly invisible scars are possible due to the surgical approach and meticulous technique. Because the tension is applied to the SMAS layer, Dr. Kurkjian is able to close the skin with little to no tension on the skin itself. This not only helps avoid a “pulled” appearance, it also helps ensure ideal scarring.
Secondly, Dr. Kurkjian’s High SMAS technique keeps more of the skin attached to the SMAS and thus helps with better circulation and blood flow to the skin edge. Blood flow is critical to wound healing and thus is very important for proper scar formation.
Lastly, Dr. Kurkjian takes great care in placing his facelift incisions in the natural shadows and junctions of key aesthetic subunits which helps reduce visibility. These scars are placed in the sideburn hairline, along the junction of the ear and the cheek, behind the tragus, behind the ear and into the hairline behind the ear. Careful technique helps place these scars to help ensure an “unoperated” natural result.
In the end, the majority of patients have little to no concern about facelift scarring once incision lines have fully healed, particularly with our meticulous post-operative scar care regimen.
What Does a Facelift Cost?
The cost of a face and neck lift begins at approximately $18,000, which includes all fees. Additional components that can impact the total expense of treatment include:
- Facility and anesthesia fees
- The specific concerns being treated
- The facelift technique used
- Any necessary pre- or post-op medications
- Complementary procedures
- Location of the practice
It is not generally advised to choose a practitioner simply because they offer treatment at a lower cost than someone else. This is, after all, your face! On the other hand, the growth of social media has created frenzied demand for certain “social media famous” surgeons that subsequently charge exorbitant 6-figure fees for procedures. In Dr. Kurkjian’s opinion, it is important for patients to avoid falling prey to the concept that something much more expensive must be better. The unfortunate reality is that some facelift pricing is more about popularity based on photo-shopped or edited photos than any real results on real patients. Our advice is to review standardized professional photos of patients and meet your surgeon to ensure that you feel that they are transparent and honest in their approach.
At our practice, we never want treatment pricing to prohibit patients from receiving the aesthetic care they desire, which is why we offer plastic surgery financing through several of the most trusted healthcare lenders in the nation. These organizations provide numerous payment plan options that break the cost of treatment into manageable monthly payments for virtually any budget. If you desire financial aid, our staff will be happy to help you get started on the application process for your plan of choice.
How Long Does a Facelift Last?
Generally speaking, results achieved through facelift surgery “turn back the clock” approximately 10 years. Aging will continue after surgery, however, this process can be slowed with proper skin care and non-surgical treatments. Most people find that another procedure may be of benefit 10-15 years after their first facelift. That said, at that point in time, patients still look younger than if they never received a facelift in the first place.
While there are a variety of elements that impact how long facelift results ultimately last, one of the most important factors is the surgical method utilized. Techniques that tighten the skin only tend to yield shorter results than those that target deeper layers of the face, such as the SMAS layer which is released and tightened with Dr. Kurkjian’s approach to facelift surgery. Additional components that can influence the longevity of one’s outcome include skin quality and care, as well as one’s lifestyle habits (i.e. diet, sun exposure, tobacco use, etc.).
Following an in-person consultation, Dr. Kurkjian will be able to provide a more personalized answer as to how long you can expect your facelift results to last based on your unique needs and overall lifestyle.
Can I Get a Facelift Without Surgery?
A surgical facelift will typically provide a more comprehensive and longer-lasting enhancement than any non-surgical alternatives for ideal candidates; however, not every individual needs and/or desires to undergo a surgical procedure to achieve their aesthetic goals. For patients seeking a non-surgical facelift, Dr. Kurkjian can discuss the role of neuromodulators, dermal fillers, biostimulators and threads. This customizable treatment can help diminish facial lines and wrinkles, augment areas of lost volume, and lift sagging skin without the need for incisions or prolonged recovery. At the time of your consultation, Dr. Kurkjian can help you decide whether or not a non-surgical approach or surgical facelift would be right for you.
Why Choose Dr. Kurkjian for Facelift Surgery?
As with any major cosmetic procedure, the success of a facelift largely depends on the skill, experience, and professionalism of the surgeon. For this reason, it is imperative that you choose the best provider available. Thankfully, surgeons often have biographies and information about their training and career highlights posted online, giving you easy access to helpful insight about them. We encourage you to read about them thoroughly to learn all you can before pursuing them as your facelift surgeon.
While some physicians emphasize their specialty in facial plastic surgery, understanding what this means can help you make a more informed decision about your care. Facial plastic surgeons typically spend the majority of their training in an ear, nose, and throat residency. Over the course of those five years, they focus on procedures such as removing the tonsils, placing ear tubes, and cancer treatments. Following this residency training, these ENT specialists may complete a one-year fellowship in facial plastic surgery.
Plastic surgeons, on the other hand, spend five years training on techniques that relate to all areas of the body, providing them with advanced knowledge of how to alter tissues to achieve aesthetic outcomes and how to guide proper wound healing. Some physicians, like Dr. Kurkjian, progress to aesthetic surgery fellowships, which are dedicated to aesthetic surgery alone and provide them with an elevated level of expertise when they begin practicing. Dr. Kurkjian completed this additional year of training in NYC with some of the pioneers in facelift and rhinoplasty surgery. By spending six years, if not longer, in plastic surgery, physicians like Dr. Kurkjian enjoy the benefit of focused training on proper plastic surgery assessment and technique.
In addition to his extensive training with world-renowned plastic surgeons, Jon Kurkjian, MD is well-known by his peers for his work in facial aesthetic surgery. He is invited to national societies and conferences to train fellow surgeons in advanced facelift techniques. Additionally, he completed an Aesthetic Surgery Fellowship at the prestigious Manhattan Eye, Ear, & Throat Hospital, where he gained extensive knowledge of the facial anatomy and its complexities. Through his residency and fellowship training from some of the best-known facelift surgeons over the last 40 years, Dr. Kurkjian has developed impeccable aesthetic judgment and learned many of the most advanced facelift techniques in the world. Trust Dr. Kurkjian, who performs facelifts on a weekly basis, to personalize your surgery and help you obtain a beautiful facial aesthetic.
Facelift Before & After Photos
One of the most effective strategies to get to know your surgeon is to explore their before-and-after photos. Please look through our facelift gallery for a preview of Dr. Kurkjian’s results.
Additional Frequently Asked Questions
Will It Be Obvious I Had a Facelift?
A leading facelift surgeon like Dr. Kurkjian will aim for an effect that enhances the facial aesthetic in a natural way. Dr. Kurkjian performs each facelift to bring out the natural beauty of the patient, avoiding the “overdone” or “wind-blown” results seen in surgeries performed by less experienced physicians.
Does a Facelift Address the Entire Face?
Facelift surgery targets the middle and lower sections of the face, including the cheeks, chin, jaw, and the neck in many cases, as well. For those with aging in the upper third of the face, such as the eyelids or forehead, Dr. Kurkjian may recommend eyelid surgery or a brow lift, either alone or in conjunction with a facelift.
How Can I Reduce Swelling After a Facelift?
Some degree of swelling is normal after facelift surgery, but there are certain precautions you can take to help control the amount you experience. In addition to following your post-operative care instructions, using cold compresses can help to reduce discomfort, heal bruising, and manage swelling. Keeping your head elevated, waiting the recommended time to resume strenuous activities, and getting ample rest to help your body heal are all important parts of your recovery that can help control swelling.
Do I Need a Neck Lift with My Facelift?
Facelift and neck lift surgery are often performed together, as they provide a more natural-looking and uniform rejuvenation. If a patient has prominent signs of aging in both areas, but they only undergo a facelift, this can cause the facial results to look unnatural while making sagging neck bands and skin more noticeable.
While a facelift and neck lift can provide beautiful results when combined, not all patients may need both. The best way to learn if you need a facelift, neck lift, or combination of the two is to schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon.
Is Facelift Surgery Different for Men vs. Women?
While cosmetic surgery is often associated with female patients, many men seek plastic surgery to improve their appearance as well. Facelift surgery, in particular, can provide unique advantages for men and women, and since their aesthetic goals often differ, the procedure must be tailored as a result.
Common reasons women pursue facelift surgery is to eliminate jowling and diminish wrinkles and creases, allowing them to achieve a softer, more youthful look. Men, on the other hand, tend to want a more masculine result, helping to define their jawline and address neck folds that can make shaving more difficult. By focusing on these goals and the different characteristics of the male and female face, Dr. Kurkjian has helped numerous patients achieve the younger look they desire.
Is There an Ideal Age for Facelift Surgery?
Most patients interested in facelift surgery are in their 40s, 50s, and 60s, but those older or younger can also be good candidates for the procedure. While there is not an ideal age for undergoing facelift surgery, patients can typically benefit most from the procedure when they have more advanced signs of facial aging, which tends to become more noticeable in a person’s late 40s. Certain factors will impact the rate at which every person ages, such as their genetics and lifestyle habits.
In many cases, patients closer to their 20s and 30s can achieve satisfactory results through non-surgical rejuvenation. Patients in their 70s can still be eligible for facelift surgery, as long as they are healthy enough to undergo surgery with anesthesia and properly heal during their recovery.
How Long After a Facelift Can I Get a Revision?
Facelift surgery generally has a high satisfaction rate; however, if the surgery was performed by a less qualified provider, a revision may be necessary to achieve one’s aesthetic goals. Dr. Kurkjian typically recommends that patients wait at least six months after their initial procedure before seeking a revision, but this may vary based on techniques utilized and any compromising health issues. If you are pursuing a revision facelift, Dr. Kurkjian can employ a number of innovative methods to improve unsatisfactory effects.
Contact Our Practice
If you would like more information about facelift surgery, or if you wish to schedule a consultation with Dr. Kurkjian, please feel free to contact us today.