Mother Nature and Father Time have given your face a worn look, so much so that you're considering a facelift, also known as a rhytidectomy. Your skin and soft tissue have lost their elasticity. You look tired, even when you're not. You may have deep lines around the corners of your mouth, jowls or neck laxity (looseness) that increase your aged and tired look.

The good news is that modern facelift techniques have evolved significantly over the past 15 years. Early facelift operations tightened only the skin, while the modern facelift removes excess skin, laxity of facial muscle and excess fat, often found in the lower face and neck. The procedure can improve the contour of your lower jaw and jowls, and soften deep lines from your nose to the corners of your mouth.

But a facelift is only one technique surgeons can use to restore youth and beauty. Once the loose skin, fat and muscle have been tightened, laser and other peeling techniques can improve the quality of the skin. Your surgeon can perform a facelift with other procedures, including surgery on the forehead, eyelids or nose.

Who's a Candidate For a Facelift?

The best candidates for facelift surgery are those patients who demonstrate the above signs of facial aging but still have some skin elasticity. Generally this includes patients who are in their 40's to 70's, although older patients occasionally are candidates.

It's extremely important that you are in good general overall physical and mental health, and it's crucial that you have realistic expectations. A facelift is not meant to completely alter your appearance or make you look like someone else. It's a way to turn back the hands of time and restore your once youthful appearance, but it is not a method to solve personal problems or psychological issues.

It's important to recognize that not every person needs or is willing to undergo a facelift operation. Younger patients may obtain significant benefit from smaller or more minimally invasive procedures. Older patients also may choose one of these smaller procedures to address a particularly bothersome area of the lower face or neck. Facial liposuction, a neck lift or a brow lift are examples of such procedures.

What Is a Weekend Facelift?

The increasingly popular "weekend facelift" is a minor surgical procedure that provides minor improvements to drooping and sagging skin. And while the results are much less impressive than a "real" facelift, the recovery time is also much less.

If you are interested in this procedure, you can discuss with your doctor whether or not it would be a suitable alternative to a regular facelift and whether it will provide the outcome that you desire.

Does Insurance Cover a Facelift?

Insurance carriers generally do not cover surgery that is cosmetic or elective, so you're probably paying for this one out of pocket.

Make sure you receive all of your surgeon's costs in writing, and ask for detailed charges that you will incur for anesthesia, follow up care, any required prescriptions, etc. It's important to note that some insurance carriers will increase your premiums after you've undergone cosmetic surgery and undergoing a facelift may affect future coverage.

Make sure you ask your insurance carrier about its policies and how they will affect you.

Your Consultation

You've selected a surgeon, now it's time for the consultation.

During the consultation, your surgeon will examine your facial proportions and may suggest additional minor changes, such as enhancing the chin with an implant or elevating the eyebrows. He or she can show you how you'll look with these changes via computer imaging and may also take photographs of you to assess your situation. During this time, your surgeon will discuss what type of would be required.

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