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Facelift FAQ

As one of the leading facelift specialists in Chicago, Dr. Thomas Mustoe frequently answers facelift questions not only from his own patients, but also online for the benefit of those individuals nationwide seeking reliable information. Having performed more than 1,400 of the procedures in his career, Dr. Mustoe is recognized as an authority on the subject.

Dr. Mustoe specializes in surgical facial rejuvenation, including face lifts. Men and women in the Chicago metro area considering facial cosmetic surgery can request a consultation online. Or, you can call us at (312) 788-2560 and one of our helpful staff members will schedule your appointment.

Who is a good candidate for a facelift?

Patients who are in good overall health and are bothered by signs of aging in the middle and lower face are appropriate candidates for a facelift. Sagging, wrinkled skin is the most obvious of these signs and can make people look tired or sad even when they don't feel that way. A good facelift candidate also has realistic expectations about the results of facial rejuvenation surgery.

What is a mini face lift?

A mini face lift is similar to a full facelift, but it produces smaller adjustments through smaller scars, as its name implies. Incisions are usually limited behind the ears, totally in the sulcus between the ear and the head, and are at the edge of the ear anteriorly where they are completely hidden. Dr. Mustoe can reposition muscle, fat, and skin. The mini technique is best for patients who have less extensive signs of aging, since it is generally limited to the neck. It's also a good choice when combined with non-surgical treatments such as injections of BOTOX® Cosmetic. Dr. Mustoe can evaluate your face and determine whether a mini or full technique would work best for you. In either case, the procedure does not require general anesthesia. Recovery time needed to feel comfortable professionally is typically about a week.

When is the right time for a facelift?

Most patients begin to consider facelift surgery in their 40s or 50s, but the age range varies, and physical condition is more of a determining factor than age. Dr. Mustoe has operated on a patient with major weight loss in her late 20s, and operated on another patient who was 92, and all ages in between. Dr. Mustoe generally recommends treating early signs of aging with injectable fillers for patients whose skin retains much of its elasticity. Fat grafting is also an excellent alternative to multiple filler treatments over the course of several years. For many patients, fat grafting is preferable to fillers because it lasts longer, can be placed with larger volumes, and feels completely natural. Sculptra® Aesthetic, JUVÉDERM VOLUMA® XC, and RADIESSE® are longer-lasting fillers. A facelift is a better approach when the loss of volume associated with aging is accompanied by sagging of the skin on the jawline and neck, which requires the subcutaneous tissues to be repositioned.

Why Choose Dr. Mustoe

Dedicated to advancing the field of plastic surgery, Dr. Mustoe has developed several innovations for a better facelift and neck lift procedure and result. These include:

  • Full results with a "mini" recovery
  • More natural-looking, lasting outcomes
  • Smaller incisions and less tissue trauma
  • Minimal bruising
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What will the recovery be like?

Recovery following a facelift varies from patient to patient, but it generally takes about 10 days for most of the swelling to diminish. Residual swelling can take longer. The area of the cheeks near the ears remains numb during the first several months before the sensation gradually fades. Bruising is minimal because of the advanced techniques Dr. Mustoe uses; it usually resolves in 10 days. For the occasional patient with more bruising than usual, the office has a laser which can treat the bruising and resolve most of it within 24 hours after treatment. Most of Dr. Mustoe's patients return to work 10 to 14 days after the facelift. Recovery following a mini face lift, or short-scar facelift, is typically a few days faster.

Can a facelift be combined with other procedures?

There are a number of reasons to combine a facelift with other procedures, both surgical and non-surgical, to get optimal results. One fairly common circumstance is patients who are bothered by loose neck skin and jowls. A facelift combined with a neck lift can address both issues. It is also common to have eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) or a brow lift when a patient comes in for a facelift, so that signs of aging on the whole face are addressed. Combining procedures is safe in Dr. Mustoe's experienced hands, and it benefits patients who have only a single recovery period.

What kind of anesthetic will be used?

Dr. Mustoe typically uses local anesthesia with sedation for facelifts. He finds that nausea is minimized, and the postoperative phase is smoother with less swelling and bruising.

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