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Facelift Overview

Length: Varies from 2.5 to 7.5 hours

Anesthesia: General or Awake

In/Outpatient: Outpatient

Side Effects: Patients may experience swelling, bruising, and possible numbness around the incision site.

Risks: There are possible complications that are associated with undergoing any type of surgery. Anytime a patient has surgery, there is a risk of bleeding, infection, scarring, or side effects from anesthesia.

Recovery: Most patients return to work or school one week after a facelift. Some patients choose to take 2 weeks off. Patients are encouraged to start walking and doing light exercise starting two weeks after surgery. Full exercise can start 4-6 weeks after surgery.

As we age, the effects of gravity become more noticeable on our faces, especially as our facial support structure weakens and we lose facial fat. We begin to look older than we feel. Does your facial appearance no longer reflect your youthful personality? If not, then a mini facelift or facelift procedure might be a good option for you.

At our office in Charlotte, NC, Carolina Facial Plastics can help you achieve your facial rejuvenation goals. Double board-certified facial plastic surgeon Jonathan Kulbersh, MD, provides patients with advanced techniques in the facelift procedure to help restore their youthful and healthy appearance.

A facelift, also known as a rhytidectomy surgery, is performed with the goals of:

  • Removing excess fat in the neck and jowls
  • Tightening underlying muscles
  • Elevating cheeks
  • Removing excess skin in the face

The results from a successful facelift include tighter skin on the cheeks and jawline, firmer skin on the neck, and smoother skin across the cheeks and mouth. You’ll regain definition in your face, rejuvenate your skin, and restore the beauty of your youth.

Although a facelift is beneficial for tightening skin, minimizing facial wrinkles and lines, and restoring a more youthful appearance, it’s not for everyone. You are a good candidate to get the maximum benefits from a facelift if you’re in good physical and mental health and are looking to restore your facial appearance to address signs of aging like deep wrinkles and sagging skin.

You’re also a good candidate if you want to have your unique features and beauty enhanced by a personalized facelift that could involve a combination of various techniques and procedures to give you the refreshed, youthful appearance you’re aiming for. The best way to know for sure, though, is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Kulbersh so he can answer your questions, address your concerns, and learn your goals before developing the best treatment plan possible.

With the guidance of Dr. Kulbersh and his advanced techniques, a facelift at Carolina Facial Plastics helps get the results you want. In fact, Dr. Kulbersh opened Fairview Surgical Suites, a state-of-the-art specialty surgical facility designed to for cosmetic surgery for the best possible care and results.  It is located in the same building as Carolina Facial Plastics.

The procedure can be performed under local or general anesthesia and begins with a small incision hidden beneath the chin. Next, excess fat is removed from the neck, and neck muscles are tightened to give the area underneath the chin more definition. This part of the procedure, called a platysmaplasty, helps remove platysma bands, or neck bands.  Only patients with neck bands or turkey gobblers will need this component of a facelift.

After this, incisions are made in the temple and hairline, which are carried to the ear area and hidden inside the ear or in a natural crease. The Superficial muscular aponeurotic system (SMAS), consisting of layers of deep fascia tissue and muscle is identified and then lifted upward in the cheek and outward in the neck for a natural-looking result. This tissue is secured with sutures, and the excess skin is removed.

The deep sutures allow Dr. Kulbersh to close the incision with no tension, allowing the incisions to heal to the point of being nearly invisible. The final step is applying a protective dressing to the face, which will be removed the morning after the facelift.

Is There Extensive Downtime or Recovery?

Traditionally, getting more dramatic results from a facelift has resulted in a longer recovery time. However, with Dr. Kulbersh’s skill, experience, and advanced techniques, downtime and recovery are reduced.

You can choose to recover at Dr. Kulbersh’s recovery center, Fairview Recovery Retreat, a comprehensive post-operative retreat designed to deliver post-surgery care in a luxurious, 5-star-hotel setting. You’ll receive VIP treatment as you recover, which will help reduce downtime and get you back to your busy schedule as soon as possible.

You can expect to have a bandage in place for a week, which can be temporarily removed to shower or run quick errands. After about a week, you’ll return to our office for complete removal of all bandages and sutures and for cleaning of the incisions. Depending on how you’ve healed thus far, you may be required to wear a bandage at night to facilitate quicker facelift healing and resolve swelling and/or bruising, which may last for up to 2 weeks.

After your facelift, you’ll be provided specific care instructions, which generally include avoiding strenuous activity for at least two weeks. You should also avoid coloring your hair for 6 weeks after surgery.  During your recovery and healing, our staff of highly specialized cosmetic surgery experts will be on call 24 hours a day to answer questions and address your concerns.

Around-the-Clock Care

Dr. Kulbersh opened Fairview Recovery Retreat to provide patients with a dedicated facility for comprehensive post-operative care in a luxurious 5-star hotel setting. For one-on-one care in a private, relaxing center, schedule your facelift recovery with Fairview Recovery Retreat.

Immediately After a Facelift

Immediately after surgery, you will be in the recovery room with nurses. There will be a wrap around the head and light pressure might be felt. In the recovery room, the anesthesiologist is present and will give medications to ensure that you are not in pain or nausea. You will stay in this area until you are awake and the nurse feels comfortable to let you go home or to a hospital room. I will see all of my patients after surgery in the recovery area to ensure everything is going well.

First Night After a Facelift

Patients will have the option to spend the first night at the hospital or at home with or without a trained personalized caretaker. I will only allow patients that are completely healthy and with a good caretaker to go home after surgery. That evening, patients may experience a tight feeling in the neck or a little nausea. I take great effort during and after the surgery to prevent nausea. If patients are nauseated, they have medication to take. The evening after surgery, I recommend patients take narcotic pain medications to keep themselves comfortable. The patient’s only responsibility is to drink liquids and eat basic foods (bread, eggs, and potatoes). I encourage patients to take the narcotic pain medications for at least the first night. I do this so that patients are as comfortable as possible. Patients are prescribed antibiotics and should be started the first evening. The face should remain wrapped the first evening and it does not require any care. Patients should sleep with their head elevated to help prevent swelling.


First Day After a Facelift

I always see my patients at my office in South Park the day following surgery. At that time, I will take off the dressing and show the family member or patient how to clean the incisions and apply the dressing. The cleaning and dressing are simple and straight forward to accomplish. The incisions are then cleaned 2 times a day for the first week. Depending on the patient, some patients feel well the first morning. Others may still feel the effects of anesthesia and the medications. These patients may still feel a little drowsy or sleepy. This feeling typically will wear off during the day. On the first day after surgery, I have patients start a light steroid to help the swelling resolve.

Days 2-7 After a Facelift

During this time, the facial wrap is worn during the day except for when it is removed for cleaning of the incisions. If patients want to wash their face and hair, it would be fine during this time. I recommend that patients wash with distilled water to prevent any chance of an infection.

The swelling in the face peaks 48 hours after surgery and then begins to subside. The patient may notice bruising. This bruising may start as a dark purple color and will continue to lighten over the next couple of days. Some patients experience very little bruising, but I always am honest with patients and let them know that dark bruising can occur. I want patients to expect the worst and hope for the best.

During these days, patients are sleeping with their head elevated. Patients do not typically have pain during this time. Most are taking extra strength Tylenol for their discomfort. It is very common for patients to have a tight feeling in the face and neck. This is a good sign and normal.

Patients are resting during these days. They should not lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk. They should not be in bed most of the day. They should be up and moving around. Many patients will begin to work from home at this time.

7 Days After a Facelift

7 days after the facelift, patients return to my office and the entire face is examined. The bruising should have become lighter by day seven and may now be located in the check region of the face. Swelling is present, but should be noticeably improved.
In the office, I will remove the stiches and check to ensure that the face is healing properly.

Days 7-13 Days After a Facelift

At this time, patients can see the improvement in their appearance. There will remain a minor amount of swelling and possibly some bruising at this point. Patients might notice small lumps or bumps that will slowly go away over the next few weeks. There may be some minor asymmetry from side to side as swelling may not go down at an even pace. At this time, patients are presentable to go out in public. They may have to wear their hair down or wear a little make-up to conceal the incisions or minor bruising.

For this week, a small wrap is worn only at night. The patient can shower normally and clean the face, hair and incisions with warm soapy water. After cleaning the incision, Vaseline or petroleum jelly is placed on the incisions. At 10 days after surgery, patients can begin to undergo light exertion.

Day 14 After a Facelift

14 days after a facelift, you will be seen in the office to ensure proper healing. At that time, you will start applying a special silicone scar cream to the incisions 2 times a day. This is another step that ensures that the incisions heal as best as possible. At this time, most if not all of the bruising has resolved. Most of the patient’s energy levels have returned to normal.

Beyond Days 14 After a Facelift

The minor amount of swelling, lumps, and bumps will continue to improve over the next 8-12 weeks, but the patients are looking and feeling great over this time. I will continue to see patients over this time to ensure the face and neck are progressing as expected.

Side Effects of a Facelift Surgery

Side effects generally include swelling, bruising, itching, and redness as your body progresses through the healing process. Most of these issues are mild to moderate and usually resolve themselves within 2 weeks.

Dr. Kulbersh underwent extensive facial plastic surgery training from renowned Beverly Hills plastic surgeons Dr. Babak Azizzadeh and Dr. Paul Nassif. Dr. Kulbersh’s expertise in facial plastic surgery and advanced surgical techniques provide you with unparalleled facelift results. Unlike any other Charlotte facelift surgeon, Dr. Kulbersh does not use the one-size-fits-all approach to cosmetic plastic surgery. He develops customized facial wrinkle treatment plans based on your unique goals and needs.

One of the most important aspects of any surgery, particularly a facelift procedure, is the initial consultation, the primary goal of which is to establish a trustworthy connection and channel of communication between you and Dr. Kulbersh. This is the best way to develop a personalized facial surgery plan that will meet your facelift surgery goals.

This treatment plan is designed to create the least invasive, most comfortable skin tightening therapy to obtain the maximum results while also looking natural. Rest assured that you’re in the hands of a facial plastic surgery expert who will customize a facelift that best suits your goals!

For patients looking to optimize their facial rejuvenation results, other procedures can be combined with a facelift to achieve these aesthetic goals.

Common recommendations include:

Chin Implant and Chin Augmentation

A small or weak-looking chin can appear to make a blunted neckline and shorter jawline. A chin implant can angulate the neck and lengthen the jawline for a look that’s thought to be more elegant in women and more powerful in men.

Fat Transfer to the Face

A fat transfer, sometimes called fat grafting, can be the “wow” factor that makes for a truly excellent facelift outcome. With a fat transfer from another part of the body, Dr. Kulbersh can add volume to the face by increasing definition and “lift” of the cheekbones for a more youthful appearance.

Jaw or Neck Liposuction

A “turkey neck”, or excess fatty tissue in the neck and jowls, can be improved with facial liposuction, which removes the excess fat for a slimmer, tighter neck and jowl region.

Cheek Implants

Cheek implants can create high cheekbones, which highlight the mid-face and add a youthful appearance to the face.

Facial Fillers, Laser Resurfacing, and Chemical Peels

Facelifts are not typically effective for improving fine facial wrinkles. However, facial filler injections (such as Restylane or Sculptra), laser resurfacing, chemical peels, or skincare products can help address these fine lines.

In the treatment of the aging face and neck, a facelift is typically one of the most talked about facial plastic surgery procedures. I believe it is a topic of conversation because it has such a dramatic and successful outcome when done correctly. Many men and women seek to regain definition in their jaw and neckline when they lose it as they age. A facelift is the most effective procedure to regain the definition in the neck and jawline. As with many products and services, people need to know the financials to plan accordingly.

What are the Components in the Cost of a Facelift?

There is a team of healthcare professionals and many supplies that are utilized during the process of undergoing a facelift. When a patient receives a quote from a facial plastic surgeon regarding the price of a facelift, there are typically 3 main components of the price:

    • Surgeon’s Fee
    • Anesthesia Fee
    • Facility Fee

What Does the Surgeon’s Fee Account For?

The surgeon’s fee is the component of the cost that is paid to the facial plastic surgeon. This money covers the many expenses it takes to run a facial plastic surgery practice. That money is used to cover the cost of all of the appointments you have with the doctor before and after the procedures. It will typically entail 2-3 appointments before surgery and at least 8 appointments for the first year after surgery. It covers the time that the surgeon takes to perform the surgery. The surgery can vary from 4 to 6.5 hours. This entails approximately 16 hours of the surgeons time (plus or minus a few hours).

This fee is also money that is used to cover the cost of the overhead it takes to run a medical practice to pay staff, supplies to care for patients, electricity, rent, and other costs. There are many other costs that are covered from the surgeon’s fee that do not go directly to your doctor.

What Does the Anesthesia Fee Cover?

While I have many patients that have a high pain tolerance, I do not think a patient could undergo a facelift without some type of anesthesia. The anesthesia fee is used to cover the costs the medical personal giving the anesthesia (anesthesiologist or nurse anestetist) and all their supplies. Their supplies include expensive medications and equipment that they use during your procedure.

What Does the Facility Fee Cover?

If I was undergoing a facelift in Charlotte, I would want to have the procedure done at a clean, safe, warm, and comfortable environment or facility. The facility fee is paid to the location where the surgery is performed (hospital, outpatient surgery center, or office). The facility fee covers the cost of the staff that takes care of patients. There are nurses and staff that care for patients before surgery, during the surgery, and during wake up from anesthesia. This fee covers all supplies, instruments and equipment used during the surgery and the general overhead of the surgery center including rent, utilities, cleaning staff, and other expenses that it takes to run a surgery center.

What is the Main Variable that Will Determine the Range in the Cost?

The simple answer is time. The shorter the procedure the less time a patient will need anesthesia, the facility, and the facial plastic surgeon. A patient is responsible for the time is takes to have surgery while they are in the operating room. The time in the operating room depends on the level of complexity of the surgery.

What is the General Cost of a Facelift in Charlotte?

The cost ranges from the low end of $9,000 up to $14,000 for a facelift. Most patients fall somewhere in the middle of this range. The price increases as patients begin to add other procedures including facial liposuction, platysmaplasty, eyelift, and/or facial fat grafting.

Why Choose Dr. Kulbersh for your Facelift?

Dr. Kulbersh is a Beverly Hills trained facial plastic surgeon. He trained with the best surgeons in Beverly Hills and specializes in only procedures of the face. He is a facelift expert and specialist and takes great care of his patients.

Frequently asked questions

A traditional rhytidectomy surgery, the more formal name for a facelift, helps to address more advanced signs of aging – such as sagging skin, neck jowls, and moderate to severe facial wrinkles and creases – by tightening the skin, restoring definition, and rejuvenating your appearance.

With a facelift, the soft tissue of the cheek can be raised. The indentation on either side of the chin, known as the pre-jowl sulcus, can be smoothed by a facelift.

If you have fine facial lines that you’d like to have minimized, a facelift is not as effective as non-surgical treatments like laser resurfacing, facial fillers, or chemical peels. A good daily skin care routine is also beneficial. In fact, even for deep facial creases like the nasolabial folds (the deep lines from the nose to the corners of the mouth, minimally invasive procedures like facial fillers or fat transfer deliver better results.

Although your healing process will be different from others, recovery from a facelift typically takes 10-14 days, although you’ll have to avoid hot hair dryers, curling irons, steam baths, and saunas for up to 4 weeks. And while it’s possible that you can get back to work and resume a normal schedule within a few days (although you should absolutely avoid strenuous activity during the 2-week recovery time), that’s up to you if there is swelling and/or bruising that you’d prefer to keep a low profile about, so you may want to take more time off from work or your schedule. Most people will be able to work from home 3-5 days after surgery.

Dr. Kulbersh’s Fairview Recovery Retreat can help deliver post-surgery care in a luxurious, 5-star-hotel setting where you’ll receive VIP treatment as you recover, which will help reduce downtime and get you back to your busy schedule as soon as possible.  This recovery center is located in the same building as Carolina Facial Plastics. During your recovery and healing, our staff of experts will be available to answer questions and address your concerns.

Side effects include swelling, bruising, itching, and redness as your body progresses through the healing process. Most of these issues are mild to moderate and usually resolve themselves within 2 weeks.

A well performed facelift has minimal pain. Most of Dr. Kulbersh’s patients will require only Tylenol during the healing process. Dr. Kulbersh will provide prescription pain medications that some patients will use for the first few days after surgery. In general, most of our patients report that the procedure is less painful than they had anticipated. This is usually because those patients are strictly following Dr. Kulbersh’s post-treatment aftercare routine and Dr. Kublersh’s meticulous surgical technique.

It’s likely that you won’t know for sure until you schedule a consultation with Dr. Kulbersh so he can listen to your questions, address your concerns, and learn your aesthetic goals in addition to giving you a visual evaluation. Only after this can he and you discuss a proper treatment plan that may include a facelift to achieve your aesthetic goals.

Since Dr. Kulbersh does not perform cookie-cutter procedures, he and our staff don’t treat you like cookie-cutter patients. You are unique – different from everyone else with specific concerns, questions, and skin issues. That’s why each customized treatment plan will vary in price. The best way to know how much your procedure would be is with a visit to our office for a consultation with Dr. Kulbersh.

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