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Time is not a friend to the complexion. Gravity, exposure to the elements and stress all wreak havoc on the facial soft tissues and over time, causing wrinkles, deep jowls and neck creases. That sad and tired appearance that you see in the mirror doesn’t always reflect how you feel on the inside, which is why many men and women seek out surgery to rejuvenate their looks and turn back the clock. A surgical facelift or rhytidectomy can be a way to dramatically refresh the face with noticeable results that last for many years.

With extensive experience in facelift procedures, Austin Plastic Surgeon Dr. Sharma understands the intricacies of the facial anatomy and can manipulate underlying muscles and tissue to create a natural, more youthful appearance. He will tailor your procedure to your precise needs, so your result is distinctly you, only better. Whether you are looking for a slight improvement or a full rejuvenation, a facelift is customized to produce just the results you want.

A Facelift Patient’s Journey

We interviewed Elizabeth, a patient of Dr. Sharma, to gain insight into her journey to finding confidence through a personalized facelift procedure at Plastic Surgery Austin.
Read Part One

What is a Facelift?

A facelift is the gold standard of facial rejuvenation. It provides dramatic and long-lasting results that address a wide range of concerns in the mid and lower face, including deep lines and wrinkles, creases, folds, jowls and sagging. Despite dozens of new anti-aging treatments appearing each year, only a facelift creates smoother, more youthful contours by trimming excess skin and tightening the underlying tissues, making it one of the most effective solutions for reversing moderate to advanced signs of aging.

In Austin, Texas, patients choose a facelift because they know it’s the best option for achieving their aesthetic goals. Dr. Sharma works closely with each individual to develop a unique surgical plan tailored to their needs, so you can feel confident that your procedure will provide natural-looking results that enhance and rejuvenate your facial appearance.

Facelift Candidates

Austin women and men alike who are in good health and non-smokers tend to make the best candidates for facelift surgery. Patients that smoke will need to stop for at least six weeks before and six weeks after surgery to reduce their risk for complications and ensure the best possible results. It is essential to have realistic expectations about what this procedure can do for you and be prepared to take ample time off to recovery after surgery for optimal healing. A facelift may address any or all of the following concerns:

  • Significant skin laxity that cannot be sufficiently treated with nonsurgical therapies
  • Facial lines around the nose and mouth
  • Hollowing in the mid-face that leads to a sunken, aged appearance
  • The formation of jowls (loose, hanging skin) along the jawline
  • The accumulation of submental fat and loose skin under the chin (double chin)
  • Loose skin around the neck that leads to a “turkey wattle”

Dr. Sharma will assess your situation, health status and expectations at your initial consultation to determine whether a facelift would be a safe option for you and give you the results you want to achieve.

Options in Facelift Surgery

There are different facelift techniques Dr. Sharma might use during your surgery, depending on how much rejuvenation you need to achieve your desired outcome. Options include:

Mini Facelift

Also known as a mid-facelift or a short-scar lift, this procedure focuses on the midface to restore definition to the cheeks and produce a more youthful contour from the eyes to the mouth. Incisions for this procedure extend from the temple to the ears and are confined to the hairline in most cases to eliminate visible scarring.

Full Facelift

While this approach features longer incisions that extend beneath the ears, Dr. Sharma can make a more dramatic correction to the mid and lower face through this technique. Like the mini lift, incisions are hidden within the hairline or natural creases of the skin in most cases to minimize visible scarring. Jowls are eliminated, as well as creases in the lower face. Some improvement is also made to the neck, although the addition of a neck lift will produce even more enhancement in this area.

Additional Procedures

A facelift is highly effective when performed alone, but many of Dr. Sharma’s patients are looking for more rejuvenation than a facelift can provide. In these cases, Dr. Sharma may recommend additional procedures at the same time, such as a brow lift, eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) or a neck lift. Adjunctive treatments can also be done with a facelift lift to enhance results. These treatments might include soft tissue fillers to soften jowls or restore facial volume, or chemical or laser peels to resurface the skin for a smoother and more radiant glow.

Fat transfer is another popular add-on to the facelift that offers long-lasting results. This dual-step procedure begins with the removal of a small amount of fat from another area, often the abdomen, buttocks or thighs. The fat cells are processed and prepared to inject into the regions of the face in need of volume, like the way dermal fillers are administered. However, the fat injected typically lasts much longer than filler formulations.

Because there are a variety of options involved with a facelift, it will take some time to decide on the optimal plan for your procedure. At your initial consultation, you will spend sufficient time discussing your concerns and goals with Dr. Sharma so the two of you can create a treatment process that will meet your needs best.

Preparing for Your Facelift Procedure

After your consultation with Dr. Sharma, your procedure will be booked a few weeks out. This gives you ample time to prepare for your appointment, ensuring that you feel confident, comfortable and ready for surgery and the subsequent recovery process. Here are some steps you can take before your upcoming procedure for a smooth, stress-free experience.

Ask Questions

If you have questions about your facelift at any point in the treatment process, don’t hesitate to ask Dr. Sharma for help or clarification. It’s important that you feel confident and knowledgeable going into your procedure. Asking questions can also make sure any concerns you have are addressed before your scheduled surgery day.

Arrange for Help

Recovering from surgery isn’t easy. After you return home, you might find that it’s harder to complete certain tasks, such as caring for pets or children. Household chores may also be difficult as your activity will be restricted for the next week or two. It’s recommended that you ask a friend or family member for help in the early days of your recovery. This can help you stay on top of things without straining yourself.

Fill Your Prescriptions

To help control side effects like pain, bruising or swelling, Dr. Sharma will provide you with some medications to take after your surgery. Filling these and any other prescriptions you might have in advance will ensure that they’re ready when you need them most.

Stock Up

The last thing you want to do is run out of something essential while recovering from surgery. It can be beneficial to make a list of everything you might need and stock up before your appointment. A few things you should consider getting include bandages, wet wipes, ice packs, over-the-counter medications, gentle cleansers and healing ointment. Having pre-prepared meals or snacks on hand is also a good idea, so you don’t have to worry about cooking. If you’re unsure of what to get, Dr. Sharma can make some recommendations.

Prepare Your Home

After your surgery, you’re going to be spending the next few weeks relaxing and recuperating at home, so you’ll want to make sure your environment is clean and comfortable to facilitate your recovery. To do this, you can take care of any household chores or errands ahead of time, make sure you have loose-fitting clothing available, and select your favorite books, movies or podcasts to stay occupied. You should also launder your sheets and linens, declutter your main living area and sanitize frequently-used surfaces. This will keep them free of dirt and bacteria, minimizing the risk of infection.

What to Expect During Your Facelift

When you arrive for your surgery, Dr. Sharma will review the details of your procedure and determine which type of anesthesia will be used. Depending on the complexity of the procedure, your general health history and personal preference, he may recommend general anesthesia or local anesthesia with IV sedation. Both approaches will ensure you are comfortably asleep throughout the surgical process. Facelifts are performed as an outpatient procedure, which allows you to go home the same day as your surgery. However, you’ll need to arrange for safe transportation as the lingering effects of anesthesia can impair your ability to drive.

The duration of a facelift will depend on your individual goals and precisely what is to be accomplished during the operation. Typically, surgery takes several hours to complete. If additional procedures are added, such as a brow lift or fat grafting, it can take up to four hours or more. Dr. Sharma takes his time with each patient and doesn’t rush the surgical process, ensuring the best possible outcome.

To sculpt more youthful contours, Dr. Sharma will make incisions that give him access to the underlying tissues of the face. These will be placed in areas where visible scarring will be minimal, usually around the ears or temples and hidden by your hairline. In some cases, an additional incision beneath the chin may also be used. Then, he will begin to tighten and reposition the facial muscles to create a more lifted appearance. He will also remove excess skin to eliminate any sagging. Finally, the skin will be pulled taut and sutured in place to create a smoother surface and reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles.

Dr. Sharma uses special techniques to close the incisions and ensure natural-looking results. He also takes great care to minimize the risk of excessive scarring and facilitate the healing process, so you can feel confident in the outcome of your procedure.

View Facelift Gallery

Understanding the Facelift Recovery Process

Recovering from surgery is a highly personal and individualized process. It can vary depending on your health, age and the amount of correction needed, and whether any other rejuvenating treatments were combined with your procedure. To ease your recovery, Dr. Sharma will provide you with detailed aftercare instructions. He also recommends a post-surgery medication kit that includes vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements known to help with healing and dramatically reduce swelling, bruising and discomfort. In general, here’s what you can expect during the first month of your facelift recovery.

The First Week

You’ll experience some bruising, swelling and discomfort for the first couple of days after your facelift. These side effects are normal and will begin to lessen in intensity over the following weeks. Dr. Sharma will prescribe pain medication and instruct you on how to reduce swelling to keep you comfortable in the early recovery process. He may also apply bandages or surgical drains, but these will be removed within a day or two. You can expect a follow-up appointment in the first week after surgery, where Dr. Sharma will remove your sutures and check on your progress to ensure proper healing.

The Second Week

While you might feel up to returning to normal activities within a week, most patients wait a bit longer to head out into public. This is to give any residual bruising or swelling more time to subside and ensure that the effects of your surgery are no longer noticeable. If you wear makeup, you should also be cleared to use it again around this time. After two weeks, patients are typically ready to go back to work and sport their rejuvenated look to the rest of the world.

The First Month

A month after your facelift surgery, you’ll be ready to incorporate more strenuous activities back into your routine and fully enjoy life with your new, youthful appearance. Your results will be more developed and your swelling, bruising and incision lines will be barely noticeable. To protect your healing skin, you should still avoid sun exposure and continue to use a high SPF sunscreen for another three to four months.

Facelift Results

The results of your facelift will become apparent once the swelling and bruising begin to subside. The outcome of your procedure will depend on your particular concerns and which technique was used, but you can expect to see smoother, tighter skin in treated areas. Your improvements might include reduced sagging, less noticeable jowls, plumper cheeks and a softening of any lines or wrinkles. While a facelift can’t stop the natural aging process, you’ll be able to enjoy a more youthful appearance for years to come. Most patients feel like they don’t need any more work done for another decade, but you can further maintain your results with nonsurgical rejuvenation treatments and a good skincare routine.

Schedule a Consultation

A facelift procedure produces significant rejuvenation that can last up to 10 years for some patients. As aging signs slowly begin to creep up once again, additional treatments can be offered to help you maintain your refreshed appearance. If you would like to learn more about the benefits of a facelift or find out if you are a candidate, contact Dr. Sharma today at Plastic Surgery Austin at 512-838-3658.


What’s the ideal age to get a facelift?

Most facelifts are performed on individuals in their 40s, 50s or 60s. This is when deep lines, wrinkles or sagging become more noticeable, and these concerns are best treated with surgical solutions that tighten the underlying tissues. In comparison, patients in their 30s typically have less severe signs of aging that respond well to nonsurgical techniques like dermal fillers or Botox injections. The mini facelift is also a good option for younger patients. During your consultation, Dr. Sharma will evaluate your concerns and recommend the best approach for rejuvenating your appearance.

Does a facelift produce noticeable scars?

Your facelift will involve incisions around the ears and temples. Depending on your concerns, an additional incision may also be needed beneath the chin. This allows Dr. Sharma to access and tighten the skin, tissues and muscles of the face and sculpt a more youthful appearance. Fortunately, facelift incisions are carefully concealed and leave behind only faint lines. Once they fade, it’s unlikely that others will notice any outward signs of your procedure. If you’re particularly concerned about scarring, a good skincare routine and sun protection can help. You can also undergo laser treatments or use topical creams to further reduce their visibility.

What if I’ve had a previous facelift?

In some cases, patients may be unhappy with the results of a previous facelift. Other times, the signs of aging can begin to reappear after several years. During your consultation, Dr. Sharma can address your concerns and determine if a revision facelift will help you achieve your aesthetic goals. He may also recommend other procedures to address specific concerns and restore a youthful, vibrant appearance.

How many years will a facelift take off my appearance?

Most patients report that a facelift makes them look up to 12 years younger. However, this procedure is highly individualized, so there’s no set number you should be looking to achieve as long as you’re satisfied with the outcome. Keep in mind that while a facelift can reverse the signs of aging, it cannot stop them from reappearing. You can expect to enjoy a youthful appearance for 10 years or more. Good skincare habits, a healthy lifestyle and limited sun exposure can help you prolong and maintain your results for longer.

How soon can I shower after a facelift?

You can bathe two to three days after your facelift, but you’ll have to take care not to get your bandages wet, if you’re still using them. Dr. Sharma may also give you a removable elastic band to wear for support, and this should be removed when showering. To avoid irritating your sutures or incisions, it’s important to use gentle cleansers and pat dry your skin dry. You should also gently apply any recommended healing ointments or creams for the same reason. You’ll be provided with detailed aftercare instructions to ensure proper healing and can contact our office if you have any additional questions or concerns.

Are there any risks or complications associated with facelifts?

As with any surgical procedure, there are certain risks and complications involved. The most common side effects include bruising, bleeding and swelling, but you may also experience numbness, tightness or tingling after your procedure. Facelifts are generally considered safe when performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Sharma, but he will review the risks and benefits during your consultation to help you determine if this procedure is right for you.


Contact our office to schedule a private consultation with Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, Sanjay K. Sharma, M.D., F.A.C.S.