How to Know if You're Ready for a Facelift

How to Know if You’re Ready for a Facelift

Dr. Pearlman using chin implant tool on woman's face

If your face is showing significant signs of aging, you could benefit from facelift surgery. But are you ready to undergo this procedure? 

At Pearlman Aesthetic Surgery, we prioritize helping our patients make informed decisions about their aesthetic care.

Dr. Steven Pearlman is an expert facial plastic surgeon in NYC with decades of experience. He is uniquely dual board-certified in both Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery as well as in Head and Neck Surgery. Above all, his goal is always to help his patients achieve a natural, beautifully revitalized version of themselves.

Here are some ways to know whether you’re ready to change your life with facial rejuvenation surgery.

Physical Signs You’re Ready for a Facelift

A facelift corrects sagging tissues in the cheeks,  lower face and neck. If you have jowls, significant lower face wrinkles, and poor jawline definition, you could be ready for a facelift. A facelift can also rejuvenate and reposition sagging cheeks.  A good test is to set your hands along the sides of your jaw and pull gently toward your ears. If the results seem desirable, you could be a good candidate for this surgery. Other physical signs that you’re ready for a facelift include sagging neck tissues and muscle banding on the neck.

In addition, you should be in good physical and mental health. A facelift is a major surgery, and if you have notable health issues, you are not ready for major surgery. Once your health is under control and your doctor has given approval, you could be ready for facelift surgery.

Emotional Signs You’re Ready for a Facelift

You may also be ready for a facelift if you have certain emotional indicators. Candidates with noticeable signs of aging should desire a change because they are bothered by their wrinkles and sagging skin and don’t feel what they see on the outside reflects how they feel on the inside.

If you look in the mirror and feel discouraged because your appearance does not reflect the youthful and confident person you feel you are, then you may be ready for a facelift. If you are ever dissatisfied that your aged appearance makes you look tired, angry, or sad when you do not feel so, it could be a good time to undergo this procedure. 

Most importantly, you should be self-motivated. If you are receiving outside pressure to get a facelift, it may be better to hold off until you want it for yourself. On the other hand, if you know you want the procedure, you should feel free to pursue your desires.

The Right Time for a Facelift

Timing is one of the most critical aspects of preparing for a facelift. Most facelift patients are between the ages of 40 and 60. Patients who get a facelift before age 50 may see the best results because they tend to have more youthful skin elasticity. 

Additionally, because the tissues of your face will be more sensitive to the sun during recovery, it may be best to get a facelift in the fall or winter, unless you are very careful with sun exposure. Winter is also opportune because sun exposure is more minimal and hats and scarves are more appropriate accessories. These factors will help protect your skin and reduce scarring. 

Other factors such as finances and planning for recovery can also determine whether you are ready for a facelift. 

The Importance of a Facelift Consultation

Seeing a specialist is particularly important for a facelift. Your face is arguably your body’s most important and visible feature. Your face is what people see; it is your brand and exemplifies your persona. A facelift is never a one-size-fits-all process because it depends on your unique anatomy.


To get the best facelift results, it’s crucial to visit a surgeon who is board-certified and specializes in facial plastic surgery. Board certification means that a surgeon is well-trained and maintains a safe and ethical practice in the area that you are seeking surgery

Before and Afters

Viewing before and after images is a crucial part of choosing a facelift surgeon. When viewing the images, ask yourself:

  • Do I like the results I see?
  • Are there patients that look like me?
  • Do the photos look unedited?
  • Do the patients look natural?
  • Are their incisions/scars barely noticeable?

Informative Consultation

The consultation process sets the tone for your relationship with your surgeon. It’s important that you feel comfortable throughout the process and feel as though you can ask any questions you need to.

These are some questions to ask during your consultation:

  • Am I a candidate for this procedure?
  • What is your experience with this surgery?
  • What type of facelift do I need?
  • Can I see before and after photos?
  • Where will my surgery take place?
  • What is my expected recovery timeline?

Academic Involvement

You should look at their level of expertise and what percentage of their practice is dedicated to facelifts. Is a facelift one of  the primary surgeries that they provide, or just one of many?

In the past, people often found surgeons based on their academic involvement. In order to give lectures, teach residents and fellows, and have papers published, they had to be a leader in their field. A surgeon has to have true mastery of the facelift procedure. More people should consider the academic standing of their surgeons.

Types of Facelifts

There are multiple types of facelifts, which is why it’s important to see an experienced facial plastic surgeon. A specialist will have access to and experience with the most popular and effective facelift techniques. 

Deep Plane 

While Dr. Pearlman does perform many different facelift techniques in his NYC office, his favorite and most enduring is the deep plane facelift. The deep plane facelift repositions sagging cheeks, jawlines and necks back to their original position, restoring beautiful, young faces. Not only that, the deep plane facelift produces longer-lasting results than a standard facelift, and it can also look more natural because the ligaments that hold the face down are released and all the tension is placed on the underlying muscle layer.The skin is then closed without tension. 

Mini & Micro

The mini-facelift, also known as a “short flap” facelift, rejuvenates the lower face for patients with minimal sagging that causes early jowls and excess skin in the lower face and neck. This procedure is best for younger patients who do not have heavy jowls, severe neck laxity, sagging cheeks, or significant facial aging.

SMAS Facelift

A SMAS facelift gets its name from the muscle structure that gets adjusted during the procedure. As we age, this layer of tissue gradually loses its elasticity and causes drooping cheeks, pronounced jowls, and other signs of aging on the face. This is the muscle that is completely elevated for a deep plane facelift. For a SMAS lift, the skin is undermined more extensively and the SMAS muscle is partially released and elevated.

Non-Surgical “Facelift”

We don’t consider any procedure a true “non-surgical facelift,” as minimally invasive procedures simply cannot have the same level of results as surgery. We do offer less invasive modalities. They can help partially rejuvenate the aging face but never as much as a surgical facelift. 

However, we do use these treatments for those looking for facial rejuvenation without surgery:

  • Liquid lifts with injection of fillers and Botox.
  • FaceTite
  • Morpheus8 Microneedling
  • Ultherapy

Planning for Recovery

Lastly, you will not be ready for a facelift until you can schedule your time and life around the recovery. Patients must be prepared to take at least 10 to 14 days off of work for their surgery and recovery. 

Facelift Recovery Timeline

Your recovery experience will be unique to you, but these are some general guidelines for what to expect. Most patients recover fully in about 4 weeks, but final results will appear in about 6 months.

Days 1 to 3

The first couple of days after surgery are when you’re going to experience the most discomfort. We often use drains in the neck to remove liquid that might collect under the skin and to help the incisions close properly. These are usually removed the day after surgery before you return home.

Day 4

You’ll start to feel better, and while you should still be prioritizing rest, you may feel comfortable moving around some. Sometime between days 4 and 6 is usually when patients can stop taking pain medication. 

Day 6

This is when we remove the sutures in front of the ear where the skin is thinner. We remove these first because they will be ready sooner than the second set.

Day 8

On day 8, we remove the sutures along the scalp  and hairline where the skin is thicker. 

1 Week

About a week and a half after your surgery, most of the bruising will have gone away. Up until this point, bruising can usually be covered with makeup.

2 Weeks

At a week and a half to 2 weeks, most patients can return to work if they don’t mind that there is still some swelling present. At 2 weeks, most patients are presentable for social situations and dinner out with family and friends. 

1 Month

Between 3 weeks and a month, patients can usually resume all of their normal functions. If you’ll be attending important social events, such as the wedding of a very close family member, Dr. Pearlman typically recommends allowing for at least 1 to 2 months of healing. If you are the parent of a bride, groom, or child celebrating their bar mitzvah or confirmation, we suggest 3 months so you look your best. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Facelifts

Am I going to have visible scarring after a facelift?

Any major surgery will result in a scar, but facelift scars are typically hidden by the hairline and the natural contours of the face and ear. Additionally, Dr. Pearlman employs a meticulous closure technique, resulting in a practically invisible incisions once it’s fully healed. 

Facelift scars are generally not noticeable to the untrained eye unless someone is inspecting your face very closely and knows exactly what to look for.

When will I see results?

After a mini-facelift, patients can often return to work or their normal routine in about a week and a half. This goes up to 2 weeks for a deep plane facelift. However, for important events, Dr. Pearlman suggests at least 1 to 3 months or more for a full recovery.

How long do results last?

A facelift is a permanent procedure, but the aging process continues. You will be able to enjoy younger skin for much longer than you would have otherwise. A highly skilled and experienced facial plastic surgeon can make all the difference. 

With Pearlman Aesthetic Surgery, you can expect a beautiful, natural-looking, long-lasting transformation, with skin that appears younger for many years to come.

Does adding a neck lift increase my recovery time?

This is a trick question. Most facelifts include the neck and recovery time does not change. In general, adding another procedure to a facelift will not increase your recovery time! Of course, this is dependent on your unique situation. 

Other procedures we might add are browlift, blepharoplasty (eyelid rejuvenation) and aging nose rhinoplasty.  For the deep plane facelift, we routinely address the cheeks, jawline, and neck 

What other procedures do patients combine with a facelift? 

  • Browlift
  • Blepharoplasty
  • Aging nose rhinoplasty
  • Lip lift
  • Laser resurfacing
  • Ready for a Facelift in NYC? Schedule a Consultation

Facelift surgery can change your life, so it is best to make sure that you are ready for it and that you will be able to enjoy the results. If you feel that now may be a good time to consider this procedure, schedule your consultation with Dr. Steven J. Pearlman. 

Dr. Pearlman is dual board-certified in facial plastic surgery and can help you determine whether you are a good facelift candidate and whether you are prepared for this surgery. With Dr. Pearlman, the results always look natural, never overdone or “windswept.” Additionally, we offer different facelift options to our patients, catering to every degree of aging. We even offer non-surgical options for patients who aren’t ready for the full surgical experience.

To book your appointment with Dr. Pearlman, call 212-223-8300 or contact us online today.

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