Loading icon
Press enter or spacebar to select a desired language.
Health Information Center


  • Michael Jubinville, MPH
Publication Type:





A facelift is a cosmetic surgery to smooth and firm facial features. It includes the removal of excess fat, skin, and tightening of muscles in the face and neck.

In most cases, a facelift can be done in a doctor’s office or an outpatient facility.


nucleus fact sheet imagehttp://services.epnet.com/getimage.aspx?imageiid=64136413si1529_97870_1.jpegsi1529_WrinklesNULLjpegsi1529_WrinklesNULL\\hgfiler01a\intellect\images\si1529_97870_1.jpegNULL44NULL2006-07-14249382Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Reasons for Procedure

A facelift is done to improve appearance by reducing signs of aging such as:

  • Sagging
  • Deep wrinkles or creases in the skin
  • Misplaced or fallen fat
  • Jowls
  • Loose skin and excess deposits of fat

Possible Complications

Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:

  • Adverse reaction to anesthesia
  • Unintentional scarring
  • Hematoma—a collection of blood under the skin
  • Nerve injury, which can create muscle weakness or numbness
  • Asymmetry in the face
  • Persistent pain
  • Slow healing
  • Blood clots
  • Infection
  • Corrective surgery
  • Failure to meet your expectations

What to Expect

Call Your Doctor

Contact your doctor if your recovery is not progressing as expected or you develop complications such as:

  • Persistent bleeding or drainage from the incision site
  • Signs of infection, including fever, chills, redness, or warmth
  • Pain that does not go away with the medication you were given

If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.





  • Facelift. John Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/adult/plastic_surgery/facelift_85,P01113.
  • Facelift. Smart Beauty Guide—The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery website. Available at: https://www.smartbeautyguide.com/procedures/head-face/facelift.
  • Facelift surgery (rhytidectomy). American Society of Plastic Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/facelift.html.


  • EBSCO Medical Review Board
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.