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A Facelift is a Facelift…or Is It?

There are a lot of types of facelift names out there in the media, making it seem as though each facelift inventor has discovered the new, best technique. However, unless a specific technique has been published in a peer-reviewed plastic surgery journal, it is more likely to be a marketing invention than a facelift invention.

A facelift is really an unfortunate name, since the procedure only addresses the lower face and neck. Incisions can be hidden in the curves around the ears, though some techniques hide the scars better than others. The waddle of fat under the chin, which is too protected to be removed by liposuction, can be removed through separate incision under the chin. The muscles that cause cords of the neck can also be tightened, creating a better neck contour. Deep sutures in selected areas of the chin and below the ear can tighten the deeper structures, and, finally, the skin can be redraped, the extra removed, and the incisions closed.

A mini-facelift addresses the lower face, but doesn’t address the central neck. This procedure is ideal for patients who notice loose skin of the cheek and early jowls, but who still have nice contours of the neck.

A neck lift tightens the neck through the incision under the chin and sometimes combines some of the elements of a facelift.

A facelift is often combined with laser resurfacing so the both the contours as well as the skin’s lines and texture are improved all together.

We tell our Northern California patients if they decide to have a facelift, they should educated themselves first. Don’t fall for marketing hype or “named” facelifts. A facelift, well-done, is a real confidence-booster.


Dr. Heather Furnas

About Dr. Heather Furnas

Inspired by watching her plastic surgeon father operate in African bush hospitals, Dr. Heather Furnas followed in his footsteps, training at Stanford and serving on the Harvard clinical faculty. She and her husband, Dr. Paco Canales, practice together in Santa Rosa, California, where they raised their two children. (To learn more about their practice, visit She believes an informed patient is more likely to be a happy patient and is committed to providing that education. If you have any suggestions for topics you'd like to learn more about, she would love to hear from you!

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