Minneapolis Plastic Surgery, LTD.
(763) 545-0443

Face Lift

Minneapolis / St. Paul, Minnesota - Face Lift Surgery

What you and every face lift patient wants is improvement without over-tightening, rejuvenation without visible or tell-tale scars, and a more refreshed and youthful look without friends and acquaintances asking “What happened to you?”  You probably are already aware of examples from Hollywood, Los Angeles, or New York of face lift surgeries that are over-tightened, over-done, or just plain unnatural. In short, what you really want is what we offer at Minneapolis Plastic Surgery, LTD. in Minnesota—discreet face lift with stunningly pleasing improvements in your facial appearance. Your results will make you wonder why the Midwest is one of the best-kept secrets of cosmetic surgery!

Candidates for Face Lift Surgery

If you find yourself looking in the mirror and pulling your skin upwards to smooth and tighten the jaw line, to decrease the depth of the folds around the nose and mouth, or to minimize the loose skin and fat in the chin and under-neck area, you are a candidate for face lift surgery.

Face lift (rhytidectomy) is a surgical operation which smoothes and tightens the loose skin and muscles of your face and neck, reducing the most apparent signs of aging or weight loss in these areas and giving you a more rejuvenated and youthful appearance. This operation reduces the depth and severity of the creases from the nose and mouth, the slacking jaw line, and the sagging jowls. Excess fat from the neck and chin areas is removed, underlying muscles are tightened, and the skin is redraped on the face and neck. Although a face lift cannot give you a completely new appearance, it can give you a younger, fresher look and have a positive effect on your self-esteem and confidence.

Face Lift Techniques

It seems that every few years there is some cosmetic surgeon (often not a fully-trained plastic surgeon) somewhere who is offering a “breakthrough” in face lift surgery—variations in actual face lift operations, such as the “S-lift,” the “Lifestyles-lift,” and mini-face lifts with shorter incisions and supposedly quicker recovery, or, more recently, the ThreadLift™, Featherlift®, Rejuvalift®, or other such barbed-suture techniques. Then there are the procedures that claim facial rejuvenation without surgery such as Thermage®, GentleWaves®, Fotofacial™, and others.  There are also laser procedures that claim results equal to or better than actual face lift surgery, though laser energies can only treat the very top skin layers.  The latter are designed to appeal to those patients who want improvements without surgery, usually because of fears about anesthesia, bad scars, or surgery itself, whereas the former attract those patients who know they require some sort of surgical procedure but are hoping to reduce the scarring, recovery, cost, or risk.

Most intelligent consumers understand that whenever you try to get something for nothing, or more accurately, more improvement for less cost, scarring, recovery, risk, etc., you are generally buying into marketing hype long on promise and short on delivery. Unfortunately, rather than improve the procedure to live up to the promise, what some practitioners do is raise the cost to justify the uniqueness or supposed desirability of the “breakthrough” technique or process, but what is actually enhanced is the feeling of disappointment and loss when the results fail to live up to the costs.  Add to this the additional time and expense of correcting or redoing the failed or inadequate procedure, and you can see why reputable surgeons decry those who promise much but deliver little.

At Minneapolis Plastic Surgery, LTD. in Minnesota, we have mastered multiple advanced face lift surgery techniques and continue to refine and redefine what works best and gives the best results. It’s not that the above-mentioned procedures and techniques don’t work. Each of them does give some degree of improvement with respect to cost, risk, scarring, or recovery time. In our own evaluation of each of these technologies or “improvements” in technique, we strive to determine what works and what doesn’t, and what fails to deliver or is just plain risky.  We also strive to implement procedures and protocols that maximize results while limiting touch-up surgery or revisions.

We would encourage you to see one of our plastic surgeons for a complimentary face lift consultation to discuss your wishes, your ideas, and anything you may have heard elsewhere. With a combined thirty years of cosmetic surgery experience in the Minneapolis / St. Paul area, Dr. Richard H. Tholen and Dr. Douglas L. Gervais are absolutely comfortable discussing the pros and cons of each and every option, including our own surgical recommendations, in your consultation. Should you choose face lift surgery, you will receive treatment based on patient-by-patient results, reputation via word-of-mouth and physician colleague referral, and actual results that both surgeon and patient can be proud of.


Face lift incisions are designed to hide in the normal folds and contours around the ear, extending from the scalp near the temple area, around the back of the ear, and then into the scalp high behind the ear to avoid visibility when healed. Support for the underlying facial muscles is not achieved by suturing the cheek to the earlobe, as this fails to secure the skin or deep tissues and pulls the ear forward and abnormally low, leaving a widened visible scar in front of the earlobe, as well as an unnaturally pulled “pixie” earlobe. Careful attachment of the deep tissues to the temporal and mastoid fascia with soft, non-dissolving sutures not only gives long-lasting deep-tissue support and lifting, but also allows healing of the skin incisions without tension and with the least-visible scars.

A small incision under the chin allows the fat in this area to be removed and the underlying neck muscles to be tightened, rejuvenating one of the most important areas to be addressed in the face lift/neck lift patient.  Every face lift patient will have his or her neck area addressed at the same time as face lift; in some patients this is the main area of concern. Another “Oh, you had a face lift” giveaway is incision placement that changes or interrupts hairlines or hair growth.  Careful planning, exact incision placement, and precision closure techniques can keep tell-tale scars or hairline alterations to a minimum, allowing short or “up” hairstyles to be worn rather than forcing you to always wear your hair down or long to hide scars.  Additional considerations are made for men who request face lift/neck lift procedures, as their shorter hairstyles and beard/sideburn growth needs to be considered also.

At our practice in Minneapolis, Minnesota, we do offer short- or limited-incision face lift techniques that work (including mini-lifts, platysmaplasty, temporal lift, as well as cheek and chin implants), and we continue to evaluate and determine what can be safely and effectively done to reduce scars, healing time, or costs.

Recovery and Results

After face lift surgery you may have one or more tiny drain tubes placed to allow fluid or blood to escape from under the skin. A well-padded bandage will also help to support your face for a day or two. The bandage and tubes are removed by the second day in most cases, when our staff performs a complimentary hair wash and blow dry. After this, you will be fitted with a stylish elastic chin strap to help reduce swelling. Head elevation and avoidance of strenuous activities is critical for two weeks after face lift surgery to minimize swelling or bleeding under the skin, which can compromise your results or require re-operation. All sutures are removed by the seventh to tenth day, and most patients are suitable for social contact by two weeks after surgery.

Of course, some swelling or residual bruising may take longer to resolve completely, and scars fade over time. Some numbness is normal, and it improves as healing progresses. This multilayered approach to muscle layer and skin tightening, as well as fatty tissue sculpture, gives a natural, youthful look that lasts as long as possible for each patient, and much longer than all of the “lunchtime lift” or “fast recovery” face lift techniques.

Since face lift surgery is real surgery, there are always risks and the potential for complications. All the years of experience mentioned above do not eliminate the need for care and individual attention to detail, nor do they guarantee a specific result. Since each individual varies in his or her anatomy, physical reactions, and healing abilities, outcomes are never completely predictable. Results are further affected by patient compliance with requirements and recommendations. You must absolutely avoid aspirin or ibuprofen-containing medications, Aleve™, additional vitamin E (the amount in a daily multivitamin is acceptable), or herbal preparations of any kind for a full two weeks before and after surgery, as these can increase the risk of bleeding requiring re-operation. You must also avoid tobacco or nicotine, including gums, patches, or sprays, for two weeks prior to surgery, as even one cigarette or incident of exposure to secondhand smoke can cause loss of circulation, resulting in dead skin or prolonged dressing changes. In turn, these may necessitate skin grafting or additional surgery, and the chance of achieving the best possible cosmetic result will be lost. Facial nerve damage is very rare and usually temporary, as is infection. Most complications are minor, infrequent, and resolve with proper attention.

Our goal is to provide the most up-to-date, innovative, and proven techniques that will delight our face lift patients, whether they undergo just a face lift or add forehead (brow) lifting, eyelid surgery, or rhinoplasty (nose) enhancement.

Contact Minneapolis Plastic Surgery, LTD., serving Minneapolis / St. Paul, Minnesota and Beyond, for Your Face Lift Consultation

For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our plastic surgeons, please contact our practice in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We can help determine whether face lift surgery is the correct cosmetic surgery option for you.

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Minneapolis Plastic Surgery, LTD.
4825 Olson Memorial Highway (Hwy 55) Suite 200
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55422

Phone: (763) 545-0443
Fax: (763) 545-2784

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