A facelift is a surgical procedure that addresses signs of aging in the lower two-thirds of the face. This includes sagging skin, excess fat, loose neck muscles, jowls, and insufficient volume in the cheeks. A facelift surgery utilizes the foundational tissues of the face known as the superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS) to create natural-looking and long-lasting results.
There are multiple surgical techniques for facelifts, including the SMAS plication, SMAS excision, deep SMAS technique, periosteal lift, and more. While there is no one technique that best suits all patients, the SMAS layer typically needs to be addressed in all patients. In younger patients with minimal sagginess, plication may suffice, while patients with poor collagen and elasticity may require a more involved procedure.
Dr. Alfred Sofer performs the SMAS facelift using great skill and new techniques that reverse facial aging without a pulled or pinched look. As a surgeon with over 20 years of experience who currently performs over 1,000 cosmetic procedures per year, Dr. Sofer has great and extensive knowledge of the intricacies of procedures like the facelift. Call his office in Fairfield, Connecticut or White Plains, New York at (203) 336-9862, or request a consultation online today.
- 1 The Evolution of the Facelift
- 2 Benefits of a Facelift
- 3 Personal Consultation
- 4 Preparation
- 5 Facelift Procedure
- 6 Recovery and Results
- 7 Cost of a Facelift in Fairfield, Connecticut
- 8 FAQ
- 9 References
The Evolution of the Facelift
The first publication that details procedural steps for a basic facelift was published in 1907. According to the surgical literature by Dr. Charles Miller, “The Correction of Featural Imperfections” the facelift and other facial procedures could be performed to improve cosmetic appearance. (1) While many surgeons did not take his research seriously, it was the first official American text describing various cosmetic procedures. However, it only described very basic steps for removing lax skin, and facial anatomy wasn’t well understood at the time. By the end of World War I, surgeons had a greater understanding due to a rise in reconstructive surgery for soldiers.
In 1976, Dr. Mitz and Dr. Peyronie made a significant breakthrough with the discovery of the SMAS and how it could be manipulated. As an important underlying layer of connective tissue, the SMAS displayed the ability to provide facelift results that last 10 years or more. In addition, they found less tension is placed upon the skin itself, there is less risk of causing unwanted skin injury to the incision sites around the ears and hairline. Since the 1970s, surgeons have continually improved upon the methods to ensure that patients receive a revitalized look rather than a “windswept” look that appears unnatural. (2)
Benefits of a Facelift
The facelift particularly the SMAS facelift that Dr. Sofer performs, comes with a multitude of benefits:
- It tightens the skin around the jawline, providing a more defined facial structure.
- It minimizes the appearance of deeper wrinkles around the cheeks.
- It effectively reduces nasolabial folds around the mouth.
- It reduces hollowness within the cheeks.
- The modification of the SMAS avoids the “pulled back” look.
- It provides more youthful contours to the face with minimal, hidden scarring.
- On average, results last 12 years. (3)
- Patients can expect to feel a boost in self-confidence.
Who is a good candidate for a SMAS facelift?
Ideal candidates for a SMAS facelift are non-smoking individuals in their 50s or 60s who have noticeable signs of aging related to moderate to severe facial sagging and hollowing. It is important that candidates are in good overall health and have realistic expectations about the outcomes of the procedure.
At our practices in Fairfield, Connecticut and White Plains, New York we prioritize personal aesthetic goals for patients considering a SMAS facelift. This one-on-one meeting between you and Dr. Alfred Sofer allows for an in-depth discussion of your specific needs and concerns regarding the procedure. During this consultation, Dr. Sofer will carefully assess your facial features, skin condition, and overall health to determine if a facelift is the right choice for you. If you’re ready to rejuvenate your appearance and restore a more youthful look, contact Alfred Sofer, MD today at (203) 336-9862 to schedule your consultation, or inquire through our contact form.
To properly prepare for your facelift, medical clearance is needed to ensure you are healthy enough to undergo the procedure. We will advise you to stop taking anti-inflammatories and other blood thinners that can cause excessive bleeding and other complications during surgery. If you smoke, you’ll be required to stop about 4 to 6 weeks before your procedure. Since smoking, vaping, and consuming nicotine products can negatively impact your circulatory system, stopping their use will allow your body to optimize your healing processes- leading to better results in the long run.
Dr. Sofer can also advise you to follow certain skincare tips to keep your skin healthy in the weeks before. This includes using sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more. Sunscreen is an essential part of skincare because sun-damaged skin repairs itself slowly and may not respond well to the incisions required for a facelift.
24 hours before your appointment, you should wash your hair normally but avoid applying any hair gel, dyes, or other products. A facelift requires an incision in the hairline, and these products could possibly interfere and cause an infection. The last part of your preparation includes arranging for a friend or family member to take you home after your procedure is completed. This is essential because you will be drowsy from the anesthesia and unable to drive. Finally, consider wearing a loose, comfortable top that won’t have to touch your face when you change out of it.
During a facelift procedure, Dr. Sofer places incisions strategically behind the natural creases of the ear and the hairline to minimize visible scarring. Through these incisions, he carefully lifts and repositions the underlying facial muscles, fat, and other tissues to restore a more lifted position. Excess skin is then trimmed, and the remaining skin is redraped tautly and secured with sutures. Dr. Sofer will also tighten the platysma muscle that surrounds the neck and jaw to smooth out creases of the neck. Depending on your unique anatomy, he may use liposuction to further sculpt this area. The procedure requires general anesthesia, and it takes between 2.5 and 4 hours to complete.
Recovery and Results
Following the procedure, your face will be supported with dressings to minimize swelling and promote proper healing. Swelling and bruising are common in the initial days post-surgery. To aid in reducing swelling, we advise keeping your head elevated above your heart when resting. You will be required to schedule appointments to monitor your recovery process. These visits will allow Dr. Sofer to assess your healing, address any concerns, and provide personalized guidance tailored to your needs. All in all, this is what to expect for your recovery:
- 1 to 2 hours in the recovery room
- 10 to 14 days to resume everyday activities
- 3 days managing surgical discomfort (pain medications and muscle relaxants will be prescribed)
- 4 to 6 weeks to resume exercise
Cost of a Facelift in Fairfield, Connecticut
The cost of a SMAS Facelift will vary depending on several factors, including the specific treatment plan. These are the other factors that will contribute to your overall cost:
- A 1-hour initial consultation that includes the doctor and nurses
- A 1- to 2-hour preoperative appointment that goes over paperwork, medication, follow-up appointments, and photos
- A surgery fee for your plastic surgeon and fees for your on-call surgeon
- An operating room fee, garments (may or may not be included), and anesthesia
- 15 to 30-minute follow-up visits (usually 3 to 6), along with bandages and equipment used during these visits
- Postoperative photographs
Financing is available through CareCredit for most cosmetic and surgical procedures. Check with our office for more information.
Can an SMAS facelift be combined with other procedures?
Absolutely! Many patients choose to combine an SMAS facelift with additional procedures to achieve more comprehensive facial rejuvenation. Common combinations include a neck lift to further address loose skin and excess fat in the neck area, as well as eyelid surgery to rejuvenate the upper face.
When will I see the results of my SMAS facelift?
You will begin to see results at around the 2 week mark, but it typically takes 6 months to notice the final results and for swelling to recede completely.
Do SMAS facelifts fix fine wrinkles?
A facelift can tighten and lift sagging skin in the lower third of the face, which may reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Through a facelift, you will not only appear younger, but it will work to define your facial bone structure.
Do SMAS facelifts improve wrinkles around the eyes?
SMAS facelifts won’t address wrinkling around the eyes. If you are looking to fix a drooping upper eyelid or a puffy, full lower lid, then an eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) is the ideal procedure to consider.
- Cosmetic Surgery. The Correction of Featural Imperfections. California State Journal of Medicine. 1908;6(7):244-245. Accessed August 10, 2023. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1652512/
- Barrett DM, Casanueva FJ, Wang TD. Evolution of the rhytidectomy. World Journal of Otorhinolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. 2016;2(1):38-44. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wjorl.2015.12.001
- Sundine MJ, Kretsis V, Connell BF. Longevity of SMAS facial rejuvenation and support. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 2010;126(1):229-237. doi:https://doi.org/10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181ce1806