Tucson Facelift Surgery Information, Benefits and Risks

Click here to see Before and After photos for Facelifts


Click here to see Dr. Maloney talk about Facelifts on Tucson's Morning Blend Show

Skip to:

What is a facelift?

A facelift is a surgical procedure that tightens the skin and underlying structures of the neck and face for a more youthful appearance. A mini-facelift is performed when someone just wants extra skin slightly tightened. There are many different names used for variations of a facelift. Some of these include the “lifestyle lift,” “lunch time lift,” “mini-lift.” These different types of facelifts are similar, but vary in complexity. Each facial rejuvenation operation needs to be customized to your needs and desired outcome.

When is a facelift used?

A facelift is best for people who are healthy and within their normal weight range. It removes excess skin of the neck and face, and improves the jowls and jawline by tightening underlying tissue.

A mini-facelift is appropriate for someone who is young and not ready for a full facelift, but needs skin tightened. A mini-facelift is also good for someone who has had a facelift in the past and needs skin tightened. Some mini-facelifts can be performed in the office under local sedation with minimal downtime.

What is involved at a facelift consultation?

When you come in for your initial consultation, you will meet with Dr. Maloney and Lindsay, the clinical coordinator. Maloney Plastic Surgery is one of the only practices in Tucson, Arizona to offer VECTRA 3D (three-dimensional) technology to our patients. One of the first things we will do at your consultation is use VECTRA imaging technology to take a 3D image of your face and neck. The exciting part of the VECTRA technology is we can perform a “face lift” on the 3D image and show you how the operation will look on your face in 3D! We are excited and proud to offer this amazing technology to our patients.

After Vectra imaging, Dr. Maloney will discuss the differences between a face lift, a minifacelift and aditional procedures that may improve your results. Dr. Maloney will determine if your surgery can be done in the office or if it needs to be done at an outpatient surgery center. This will depend on many factors, including the amount of extra tissue you have, your health conditions, if a lot of work done must be done to your neck, your preference etc. Dr. Maloney will discuss details of the surgery, show you before-and-after photos and answer any questions you may have. Lindsay will review surgical fees and financing options with you.

If you choose to have surgery, you will return for another consultation about 2 weeks before your scheduled surgery. At this appointment, Dr. Maloney will review the surgical plan with you, go through consent forms, review your VECTRA pre-operative photographs and give you prescriptionsfor before and after the procedure.

Lindsay will go over your surgical instructions and give you a packet of information so when you leave the appointment you will have everything you need for surgery.

How do I prepare for a facelift?

After meeting with Dr. Maloney and choosing a surgical date for your procedure, plan for your care and recovery after surgery. You will need to arrange a ride to and from the surgery center or office the day of surgery and arrange for someone to stay with you for the first 24 hours. Plan to take 5 days to 3 weeks off of work for this operation depending on the type of work you do (speak to Lindsay, Dr. Maloney’s Clinical Coordinator for additional information). If your employer requires paperwork for time off, please obtain it ahead of time and bring it to our office.

If you smoke, you must quit a minimum of 2 weeks before surgery. We suggest 6 to 8 weeks, but 2 weeks is the minimum. Smokers heal slower and may have wound-healing problems. Smoking may require modifications to the surgical plan.

If you take aspirin or other medications that may cause bleeding, stop taking them 3 weeks before surgery to reduce the risk of bleeding. If you are taking any diet pills (prescription or over-the-counter) or Metformin (a common diabetes medication), stop 1 week prior to surgery to avoid anesthesia risks. All medications, herbs, vitamins or dietary supplements should be carefully reviewed prior to surgery. If you are under the care of a physician for any health issues, we may require surgical clearance from your physician and/or cardiologist.

At your pre-operative consultation with Dr. Maloney you will be given a map to the surgery center and your prescriptions. Get your prescriptions filled before surgery so they are at home when you will need them. Pick up some bags of frozen peas or corn to use as icepacks after your procedure. You will need to sleep with your head elevated for the first few days to keep swelling and bruising to a minimum. You need to stay hydrated, so have plenty of water or sports drinks available at home. Begin taking an over-the-counter stool softener because narcotic pain medication and anesthesia can make you constipated.

If your surgery is at the surgery center

The morning of surgery, do not have anything to eat or drink after midnight, including water. If there are medications you must take the morning of surgery, please make us aware. We may have you take them with a small sip of water depending on the medication. Do not wear any lotions, deodorant or make-up on the day of surgery. Do not wear any jewelry to the surgery center.

Wear comfortable clothes that are easy to put on and take off. A shirt that zips or buttons up the front is preferable, as are loose workout pants or sweat pants. Bring your photo ID to check in to the surgery center. You will check in and then be taken back to the preoperating area where Dr. Maloney will discuss the surgical plan, answer any additional questions you have and mark the surgery site. You will also meet the anesthesiologist and ask him/her any questions you may have.

If your surgery is in the office

You will take your prescribed pain medication 1 hour before surgery. Do not wear any lotions or make-up on the day of surgery. Do not wear any jewelry to the office. Wear comfortable clothes that are easy to put on and take off. A shirt that zips or buttons up the front is preferable, as are loose workout pants or sweat pants. When you arrive, you will be brought to the procedure room where Dr. Maloney will mark the surgery site.

How is a facelift performed?

The operation is an outpatient procedure that takes about 2-4 hours. The amount of time in the operating room is determined by how much fat needs to be removed from the neck area and if there are any ancillary procedures being performed at the same time. At the surgery center, the anesthesiologist will put you to sleep or use twilight anesthesia depending on your preference and that of Dr. Maloney. An anesthesiologist is present for this surgery to ensure your safety and comfort. If the procedure is performed in the office and local sedation is used, Dr. Maloney begins by injecting a numbing medication into your face.

The first incision is typically made under the chin to tighten deeper layers (the vertical bands in your neck). Extra fatty tissue is removed or lifted, using incisions made around your ears. Underlying structures are lifted into a more pleasing position. Skin is tightened and excess skin is removed. Fat transfers are often performed at the same time to augment the areas of the face that have lost volume due to aging. Both dissolving and nondissolving sutures are used with staples to close the incision. Drains (which are removed at your first postoperative visit) may be placed behind the ears to minimize bruising if there is work done to the neck. You will wake up in the recovery room and be ready to go home in about an hour.

What should I expect after a facelift?

A light compression dressing will be applied over the surgical area to minimize swelling and bruising. Sleep with your head elevated for the first 2 or 3 days to help minimize swelling. Rest and eat a healthy, high-protien diet to help speed up recovery. Drink plenty of fluids and avoid alcohol and smoking. A low-grade fever is not unusual after any surgery. All surgeons recommend early and frequent ambulation after surgery to reduce the risk of blood clot formation in the legs and to speed up your recovery. You may be stiff and sore when you first get up and walk around but the more active you are, the better you will feel. You may develop some swelling after surgery. It takes about three weeks to see the final results, so be patient during the healing process. You may remove your dressings and shower 1 to 3 days after surgery, depending on what the office staff tells you. You will return to the office for your first postoperative exam 1 to 3 days after surgery. If you have any questions during the recovery phase, please call our office any time, day or night.

What are the benefits of a facelift?

After the procedure, you will see improvements in the contour of your neck and jawline. Wrinkles will be reduced and you will have a younger, more natural appearance.

What are the risks of a facelift?

A facelift has both aesthetic and health risks, and it is your decision whether benefits outweigh the risks. The most common risk is slow wound healing behind the ears. You may also experience changes in skin sensation. Bleeding, nerve injury and other severe complications are rare. For a full list of risks, go to plasticsurgery.org.