Procedures

Facelift Surgery

What to Expect

  • Anesthesia: General
  • Length of surgery: 2-4 hours
  • Outpatient/inpatient: Outpatient
  • Adjunct procedures: Neck Lift, Brow Lift, Blepharoplasty (upper and lower lid surgery), Fat Grafting
  • Recovery: 2-3 weeks

The delicate skin of the face is highly vulnerable to gravity, sun damage, collagen loss and other factors that hasten facial aging. Additional influences like genetics, diet and skincare habits also dictate when and where signs of aging emerge. Despite reassurances that lines, wrinkles and sagging skin are a natural part of growing older, their appearance can be frustrating and disheartening.

Facelift surgery (rhytidectomy) is designed to correct facial aging and the associated structural changes. The skilled surgeons at Edina Plastic Surgery use the most advanced techniques to rejuvenate the face and neck, while maintaining a natural appearance and creating the best version of you. Our techniques are designed to make you look younger, healthy and completely natural – without the telltale signs of surgery. Our patients often say they hear “You look great!” from friends, relatives and colleagues who don’t realize they’ve had surgery.

If you are interested in facelift surgery in Edina, Minnesota, schedule a consultation with the board-certified and board-eligible surgeons at Edina Plastic Surgery. Drs. Leigh, Philbin, Stewart and Wilke offer years of experience performing facial plastic surgeries and are committed to providing the highest quality surgical care. Contact us online or at 612-688-3177 to make your first appointment.

Personalizing Your Facial Rejuvenation Procedure

Our comprehensive facelift surgery approach addresses the skin, underlying fat, fascia and muscles to achieve the best and most long-lasting result. There are two main types of facelifts: the classic facelift and the modified or mini facelift. The classic facelift provides a more complete lift of the neck, in addition to the face. The mini lift uses a shorter incision and is appropriate for patients who don’t need a neck lift but still desire a lift of the mid-face region and jowls. Your Edina plastic surgeon will evaluate which aspects of your face are exhibiting signs of aging to determine which surgical approach will give you the best result.

Classic Facelift

Full facelift surgery repositions the underlying soft tissue layers to a more youthful anatomic position in addition to tightening the skin. By including these deeper layers in the lift, a more natural outcome is achieved. Incisions are placed along the hairline and around the contours of the ears to minimize the visibility of postsurgical scarring. This technique offers the greatest access to the underlying structures. As such, a classic facelift tends to be ideal for patients who wish to address advanced signs of aging, such as jowling and sagging of the neck.

Mini Facelift

A mini facelift is a less invasive procedure than a full facelift. The primary advantages of this technique are shorter surgical scars, shorter recovery time and less discomfort. A mini facelift can be an ideal option for patients who are no longer seeing the results they want with injectables and are not ready for or in need of a full facelift. Good candidates are individuals with mild to moderate tissue laxity in the lower portion of their faces. A mini facelift is not recommended for patients with significant sagging throughout the neckline.

Facial Fat Transfer

One of the key drivers of facial aging is volume loss. Over time, the fat that gives the face youthful fullness and definition slips away, and the collagen and elastin that support the skin diminish. This overall loss of structure gives rise to wrinkles and sagging tissues. Facial fat grafting can be used in combination with a facelift to restore volume and correct related concerns, such as deep nasolabial folds. In some cases, excess tissues in the deep layer of the face can be used to rebuild volume instead of fat.

Deciding If a Facelift Is Right for You

There is no one-size-fits-all facelift. The procedure is highly customizable, and at Edina Plastic Surgery, we work closely with each patient to develop a surgical plan that is tailored to their needs.

Contrary to popular belief, facelift surgery does not have an age requirement. All of us show signs of aging at different rates, so there is no exact age range when a facelift is appropriate. What matters more is the specific concerns you hope to improve. A facelift concentrates on the lower two-thirds of the face and the neck. If your concerns are primarily located in the upper third of your face, you may be a better candidate for a brow lift or blepharoplasty (upper or lower eyelid surgery). If you desire comprehensive rejuvenation of your entire face, you may wish to combine a facelift with one or two other techniques.


Like any surgery, a facelift should only be considered if you are in good physical and emotional health. Factors such as tobacco use, high blood pressure, obesity or preexisting health conditions may increase your risk for complications and might indicate that surgery is not a safe option at this time. You may also be advised against surgery if you are unable to take sufficient time away from daily responsibilities for recovery.

An ideal candidate for facelift surgery is experiencing tissue laxity in the lower regions of the face, is in good general health, understands the commitment required for a safe and satisfactory outcome, and has realistic expectations about what the procedure can achieve. A facelift is meant to lift sagging skin and subtly enhance your facial features. It cannot completely remodel your facial structure or stop the aging process, but it can help you look and feel your personal best at this stage of life.

Preparing for Your Facelift

During your consultation, your surgeon will thoroughly review your medical history, your goals for the procedure and any concerns weighing on your mind. Your surgeon will also conduct a physical examination to assess your facial anatomy, skin type and soft tissue variations. Based on these findings, your surgeon will develop a treatment plan that meets your needs and works with your unique facial structure.

Adjunctive procedures may be discussed to maximize your results. Procedures such as eyelid surgery, a brow lift or volume enhancement with fat transfer are often performed in conjunction with facelift surgery.

Our onsite skin clinic, Skin Artisans, provides dermal fillers, laser treatments and a range of exceptional skincare services that can enhance and prolong your results. Textural concerns can be addressed preoperatively or postoperatively with our facelift plus package.

Before the day of your surgery arrives, you will be asked to follow instructions about smoking, eating and drinking, and taking or avoiding specific vitamins and medications. You will need to arrange for someone you trust to drive you home from surgery and care for you for the first day and night.

Gallery Default Image

Before & After

Photo Gallery
Enter Gallery

The Facelift Procedure

Facelift surgery is conducted at our surgery center, a fully accredited facility with essential equipment and staff. While it is possible to perform a facelift with IV sedation anesthesia, patients are typically more comfortable when general anesthesia is used.

The specific steps of a facial rejuvenation surgery are unique to each patient. In general, a traditional facelift begins with an incision that extends from the temporal hairline along the front of the ear. The incision then continues around the earlobe and behind the ear, and ends at the hair-baring scalp line. Once the incision is made, the surgeon can elevate the skin of the cheeks and neck to reduce sagging. The deeper tissues are also lifted and reshaped to restore more youthful definition and contours to the face.

Some areas of the face and neck may be treated with liposuction to improve the facial profile further. The fat that is removed can be injected into areas that could benefit from additional volume. To complete the facelift procedure, the skin is re-draped and trimmed, and the incisions are closed over small drains.

Facelift Recovery and Results

About two hours after your surgery, your surgeon will examine you to prepare for your discharge. Our recovery nurse will ensure that your caregiver understands the postoperative care instructions. You will wear a large head dressing overnight. In rare instances, an overnight hospital admission could be required so that the first night of recovery can be monitored.

You will be seen in our clinic the following day. Your surgeon or nurse will remove your drains and ensure that your recovery is on track. While no bandages are usually required, you will look bruised and swollen. If you have stitches, they will be removed within the next week. Your surgeon will provide you with specific instructions regarding activity guidelines and when you can return to work – most likely in one to three weeks after surgery. Recovery from a mini facelift is generally faster and easier than a full facelift.

Our facelift patients appreciate their newly refreshed look. The procedure delivers a tighter, smoother, more lifted and youthful appearance to the lower half of the face and upper area of the neck. The discreet placement of the incisions aims to ensure easy disguising of any postsurgical scarring. The best facelifts make patients look younger and natural rather than different or “operated on.” With healthy lifestyle habits and diligent skin care, results can last a decade or more. All facelift surgeries at Edina Plastic Surgery include a complimentary HALO laser treatment and BBL (BroadBand Light) treatment, as well as a pre- and post-surgery skincare kit.

Request a Consultation Today

For women and men who are accustomed to looking their best, the aging process can bring a great deal of dissatisfaction with the image in the mirror. As we mature, our soft facial tissues slowly drop, creating jowls, lines, creases and a sagging neck that are constant reminders of the years that have passed.

Our board-certified and board-eligible plastic surgeons provide world-class facial rejuvenation procedures, including various techniques for facelift surgery. To schedule your initial consultation with Edina Plastic Surgery, contact us today at 612-688-3177. We will be happy to help you find out if a facelift or a different facial procedure might be right for you.

Schedule A Consultation