What is a facelift?

A facelift (also known as a rhytidectomy) is a cosmetic surgery procedure commonly performed on patients over age 40 to refine their overall appearance and create a youthful, rested, attractive look.

Rhytidectomy can be used to eliminate loose skin on the neck and face, reduce the appearance of crow's feet, and erase fine forehead lines. It is also effective at eliminating a sagging, loose jowl and redefines the area between the chin and neck. This will create a younger-looking, smoother face to eliminate the signs of aging. A Chicago facelift from Dr. Horn can give you the face you had ten years ago, with minimal downtime and scars that are cleverly hidden. While everyone will see the results, you are the only one who will know you had work done.

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Am I a good candidate for facelift surgery?

A facelift is suitable for patients who have advanced signs of facial aging and who want to look approximately ten years younger on average.


The ideal candidate is someone who is a nonsmoker (or is willing to quit) and is in good overall health. Realistic expectations are a must before pursuing cosmetic surgery. It is important to understand that a facelift will not make you look like someone else, but rather help you look like a fresher, younger version of yourself. In general, most patients who receive facelift surgery in Chicago are over the age of 40. These individuals are looking to create a more youthful, rested look, and refine their overall appearance. Many patients at our convenient Chicago, Illinois location elect to undergo facelift surgery to reduce loose, sagging skin and tighten underlying facial muscles. We strive to provide you with the best facelift Chicago has to offer.

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What are the benefits of facelift surgery?


Choosing to undergo a surgical facelift in Chicago with Dr. Horn has multiple benefits. Facelift surgery offers results that are both more impressive than nonsurgical techniques and longer-lasting. This is especially true if you suffer from deep creases in the skin or sagging along the chin and jowls. While there are nonsurgical procedures that can offer temporary relief of some of these issues, the results are not nearly as comprehensive as what Dr. Horn can achieve with a surgical facelift. If you are tired of maintenance treatments and want a treatment that has real results with staying power, a facelift with Dr. Horn delivers those benefits.

What should you expect during your facelift surgery?


The extent of your facelift will depend on what you decide in your consultation with Dr. Horn. Dr. Horn’s facelifts are customized to address your specific needs and wants, which means that the recovery time and the procedure time will also vary from patient to patient.

What should you expect during your facelift consultation?

As mentioned, the first step in any facelift is a consultation with Dr. Horn at the Michael Horn Center for Plastic Surgery in Chicago. A facelift is a major surgery, so it is important to make sure your surgery addresses as many of your concerns as possible. During your consultation, you will work with Dr. Horn as he crafts a surgery plan that reflects your wishes and achieves the look you want. You’ll also get to see examples of what your face will look like before and after treatment. This helps you visualize the effects of the procedure and helps Dr. Horn achieve the goals you want from your surgery.

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How should you prepare for a facelift?


If you are a smoker, you will be asked to stop at least two weeks before surgery and for a period afterward. Smoking can hinder your body's ability to heal and cause serious complications. You will be asked about the medications you take, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and supplements. You will need to arrange for a friend or family member to drive you home and help you during the first few days of recovery.

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What is involved in the facelift procedure?


When you and your surgery buddy arrive on the day of your surgery, you will be prepped for surgery and marked. Dr. Horn will revisit your surgery plan with you during this time to make sure that everything is just right.

During the facelift procedure, small incisions are made on the temple at the hairline as well as in the area of the ear. After these incisions are made, the skin is lifted upwards, tightening the muscles and the tissues, and then repositioned with sutures at the desired location. During this process, fat and excess skin will also be removed from the face if necessary.

The entire facelift procedure typically takes two to four hours to complete, depending on the amount of work needed. To ensure you do not feel any pain or discomfort during the facelift procedure, you will be sedated using local or IV anesthesia. Once the facelift surgery is completed, sterile dressings will be placed over the incisions to protect them from infection.

What should you expect during facelift recovery?


After your cosmetic surgery has been completed, you may experience some discomfort, which will usually subside in one or two days. You will be prescribed medication to help with any pain. Temporary bruising and swelling are normal in this stage of recovery. A cold compress applied gently to the face will help with pain and reduce swelling. The dressing on your face may be removed in 24 to 48 hours.

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Recovery Tips:

  • Keep your head elevated, especially at night while you sleep
  • Avoid strenuous activity
  • Have family and friends help you with daily tasks and errands
  • Contact Dr. Horn if you are experiencing serious discomfort

Your sutures will be removed in our office five to ten days after your procedure. If you are fitted with a drainage tube, it will be removed on the first or second day following the procedure. You will be ready to go back to work in two to three weeks, but remember to rest and not over-work yourself in the recovery period following your facelift surgery.

The facelift procedure may cause temporary side effects like dry or tight skin, bruising, swelling, discomfort, and numbness. Most patients can return to work and other light activities in one to two weeks. If you have any concerns about your facelift procedure, our experienced staff and patient care coordinators will be more than happy to answer your questions and explain the recovery process in detail.

What are common facelift results?


A facelift eliminates wrinkles and lifts sagging skin on your face and upper neck. Most patients will enjoy a refreshed, younger-looking appearance for approximately a decade, and in some cases longer. At the Michael Horn Center for Cosmetic Surgery, you can rest assured that your results will look very natural and stand the test of time.

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Are there any facelift scars and side effects?


While there is always a chance of scarring after any surgery, your facelift scars are typically not going to be noticeable once they have matured. You can disguise them with makeup or by wearing your hair differently until they have faded. After a couple of weeks, as your skin heals and relaxes, the results of the surgery will take on a more natural effect. Numbness, a feeling of tightness, and loss of hair at the incision site are possible side effects that may occur after facelift surgery. Serious complications are rare.

Book your facelift consultation in Chicago at the Michael Horn Center


If you are interested in looking up to a decade younger or more, it may be time to consider a facelift. To learn if you are a good candidate for this life-changing procedure, contact the Michael Horn Center for Cosmetic Surgery in Chicago for a private consultation via the booking link on this page or by calling our office at (312) 202-9000.

Facelift FAQs

Most facelifts look “tight” for about a month or so following the procedure. This is because of the swelling and healing process that happens following surgery and is completely natural. As you heal and the swelling goes down, you will begin to see the final form that your facelift will take. You will notice that your skin will begin to feel less tight as well, and any discomfort you had talking or opening your mouth will fade with the swelling.

Facelifts are a great way to turn back the clock, but they don’t stop the aging process. Most patients look about five to 10 years younger after their facelift surgeries, so will normally age back into their pre-facelift appearance after about 10 years. In some cases, though, the improvements made through the facelift can last much longer than a decade. For example, if you had a facelift at 50, you might look like you did at 50 again at 60 or 65, which would still be a considerable improvement compared to no surgery at all.

Dr. Horn may recommend alternative treatment options if you are under the age of 40 and want a facelift. This is to attempt to avoid having to undergo a second facelift later in life. Once you hit 40, the best age for a facelift is the age that you want a facelift. While most of Dr. Horn’s patients are between the ages of 40 and 60, there is really no cutoff date on when you can get a facelift. Consult with Dr. Horn to determine how effective a facelift might be for you, and whether there may be alternative treatment options that can help put off a facelift for a few more years.

Since facelift surgery is an elective cosmetic procedure, insurance does not cover it. The average facelift cost in Chicago is $12,275, with a range that can vary from $2,800 to $21,600. This includes fees for anesthesia, facility use, and the surgeon's time in the operating room. Prescription medications and adjacent surgical procedures may not be covered by the initial expense. While a facelift may be costly, the vast majority of patients consider it a worthy investment. Choosing a highly skilled facelift surgeon in Chicago such as Michael Horn MD is one of the most important variables to consider, as it takes considerable anatomical knowledge and experience to deliver facelift results that look subtle and natural.