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Alternatives to Facelift Surgery

By Last updated on January 30th, 2023January 30th, 2023No Comments

It should come as no surprise that the facelift is one of the most frequently performed cosmetic procedures in the United States. Some argue that the neck and chin are major influences of an aged appearance – so tightening them can reduce the appearance of saggy skin and wrinkles.

But any surgical operation comes with a set of risks that must be considered before making the decision to have a facelift. Another consideration to make is alternative ways to produce facelift-like results without the risks of surgery.

Why Get a Facelift?

Many individuals become less accepting of their appearance as they age. Skin begins to sag, wrinkles form, and age spots may appear. There comes a time in many people’s life when they look in the mirror and don’t like what is looking back at them. It’s perfectly normal to be uncomfortable with a changing face and body, and there are many safe and effective ways to alter the appearance for positive benefit.

As the skin ages, the structures that keep it looking young and feeling supple begin to break down. This is a natural process that happens all over the body as we age. Proteins like collagen and elastin are some key players in the structure of the skin, as they help connective tissue do its job.

When these key proteins and others can’t do their job, we get wrinkles and saggy skin. Some areas where this is particularly prominent include the forehead, next to the eyes, smile lines, jawline, and neck. A facelift targets the neck, chin, and jawline.

Though some people may be satisfied with a facelift alone, many more will choose other cosmetic procedures to be done simultaneously – this may include fillers, rhinoplasty, or other procedures that target wrinkles.

The facelift begins with an incision, which is strategically placed in locations where it will be the least noticeable. Surgeons are then able to go under the skin and pull muscles out toward the ear to create a “lift” effect. Once this is complete, they can close the incision and put stitches in place.

There is also the option of a mini facelift, which is essentially a lower-scale version of a full facelift. The recovery is shorter as the operation is less invasive, though the results are also less drastic.

Recovering from a facelift typically takes several weeks to months. The beginning stages of recovery include dressings and bandages, which often come off within the first day. The operation is performed under general anesthesia, which is coupled with an overnight stay and an arranged ride from the hospital. Swelling and bruising can occur but go away within a couple of days. Patients can manage pain and swelling with ice and medication. It doesn’t take a long time to recover the soft tissues in the face that need to be repaired.

Facelifts are popular because, when performed well, they can make the skin appear younger and provide other intended results. But there are several risks and potential complications to be aware of before deciding to get a facelift.

Risks of Facelift Procedure

Risks of Facelift Procedure

Every surgical operation comes with a set of risks. It is important to talk these over with doctors, surgeons, and anesthesiologists to discuss concerns and have the opportunity to ask questions.

Several risks to be aware of are:

  • Infection: every surgical procedure has a small risk of infection. Ensuring that safe practices are put in place and properly caring for wounds can decrease the risk of an infection developing.
  • Complications With Anesthesia: a reaction to anesthesia is rare but possible. It is important to discuss what this might mean with a medical professional.
  • Bleeding: bleeding immediately after a procedure is normal, but if bleeding continues into the weeks after surgery it could be indicative of a greater issue. Discuss with a doctor or surgeon if bleeding continues in the weeks after a facelift operation.
  • Nerve Damage: though the risk of nerve damage is low, it is worth noting because it can be serious. Some common symptoms of nerve damage include:
    • Numbness
    • Weakness
    • Stiffness
    • Paralysis
    • Tingling
    • Motion Loss

There are even more risks not mentioned here, so be sure to cover all bases with your surgeon or doctor.

Yet another risk, or something that increases the likelihood that the aforementioned complications will occur, is bad practice. Surgeons who do not follow proper medical procedures can open the door to a negative outcome.

Some ways to prevent seeing a bad practitioner are to check their qualifications, the results of their work, and general surgical experience. If the procedure is inexpensive, surgeons may be cutting corners in the operating room.

Before making the decision to undergo a facelift or mini-facelift, it’s important to consider all possibilities. Some individuals may be more susceptible to complications due to their personal health conditions.

Alternative Ways to Look Younger

Though the classic surgical facelift is popular, there are now other procedures on the market that may offer more long-term benefits with less risk.

Regenerative aesthetic treatments like Stem Cell Facelifts and Platelet-Rich Plasma (or PRP) Therapies can produce results similar to a facelift. These treatments use a patient’s own regenerative cells to rejuvenate and heal facial skin on a cellular level. Because it uses the patient’s cells, the risk of a reaction is lower. These operations are most often performed using local anesthesia, which is less risky than general anesthesia.

Regenerative cells in the body like stem cells and platelets are used in natural healing processes to help rebuild old structures like connective tissue that may have broken down during aging.

The procedures begin with procuring cells. Platelets come from blood cells and stem cells come from either blood, fat tissue, or bone marrow. Once gathered, these samples are processed to prepare for injection.

The injection form of treatment is beneficial because it does not require an incision. Because of this, the recovery process is shorter than a facelift or mini-facelift. There is also less risk of bruising, swelling, and scarring. It also may be a good option to consider because it can have positive effects on the entire face, rather than only the neck, chin, and jawline.

Pursuing regenerative therapies begins with a comprehensive consultation with a medical professional. During this consultation, doctors can gather information about the patient’s previous health conditions, how to meet the patient’s personal needs, and what they are looking to change about their appearance.


Cosmetic surgery is at its peak right now, so there is a lot of information to consider when deciding how you want to look younger. Some important considerations include the effectiveness of treatment, how the results may look, and risks or complications. Facelift surgery can be intensive and have a long recovery time when compared to regenerative therapies. Considering all facelift options could be a good way to decide what treatment is right for you.

Dr. Pejman Bady

Dr. Pejman Bady began his career over 20 years ago in Family/Emergency Medicine, working in fast-paced emergency departments in both Nevada and Kansas. He has served the people of Las Vegas as a physician for over two decades.


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