Steve T. Vu MD, FACS | Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
17742 Beach Blvd., Suite 335, Huntington Beach, CA 92647  |  (714) 848-1133


What is it?

No one can stop the aging process. However, procedures such as facelift surgery can help alleviate it. In general, the primary aim of a facelift or rhytidectomy is to reduce visible signs of aging on the face and neck. These include:

  • Deep creases that form below the lower eyelids

  • Sagging skin

  • Creases from the nose to the mouth

  • Double chin that is caused by fatty deposits that settle under it and the jaw

  • Absence of fat in certain areas of the face or neck

  • Jowls that are caused by loss of skin tone in the lower face area


9 out of 10 of people who get facelifts are women. It is estimated that women who opt for facelifts at the age of 50 are more successful in maintaining a more youthful looking appearance in their later years than women who don’t. Plastic surgeons usually determine candidates by examining the following factors in their patients –

  • Bone Structure – A patient who has a well defined bone structure is a prime candidate. This will allow surgeons to carry out meticulous facial alterations.

  • Skin Elasticity – A rhytidectomy stretches the skin of the face in order to make it possible for surgeons to lift sagging skin and remove deeper wrinkles. A facelift will be more successful on a person that has skin with a fair amount of elasticity.

  • Health – The healthier a candidate is the better. Patients must also not suffer from any medical conditions before their surgery is due. Healing and recovery should also be taken into account in this regard.

  • Amount of Loose Skin – Excess skin is trimmed and tightened during the procedure in order to remove wrinkles.

What a Facelift won’t do

A rhytidectomy cannot halt the aging process nor can it change your appearance. It in addition, it cannot be attained from non invasive rejuvenation treatments.

The Procedure

Rhytidectomies can either be performed in a hospital setting or in a surgeon’s office. While general anesthesia is also used, most patients are given a sedative along with local anesthesia. This allows them to stay awake while the procedure is being performed and feel no pain at the same time.

Each face has its own unique shape and contour. A facelift procedure will be carried out while keeping these factors in mind. Before the procedure begins, the surgeon will evaluate the elasticity of the patient’s skin. Since smoking prevents blood from flowing to the skin, doctors recommend smokers to stop the habit a week or two before the procedure is to take place. This is because smoking interferes with the body’s ability to heal. Patients are also asked to refrain from taking certain types of medication as well.

During the procedure, the incision is made along the patient’s hairline from the temple to the earlobe. A small incision might also be made under the chin if the procedure involves tightening the skin around the neck.

During the procedure, the doctor starts by separating the patient’s skin from the muscle and fat below it. Excess fat or skin may be trimmed to give the face a sleeker look. Next, the surgeon tightens a layer under the skin called superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS) and folds it before pulling it back over itself. This lifts the cheeks, firms the neck and gives a more defined look to the jaw.

Any excess skin is removed by a laser or a knife. The surgeon closes the incision with sutures, tissue glue or stitches. The hairline hides the stitches.

A facelift surgery can take about two to four hours. This depends on the muscle and tissue work that the patient requires as well as the type of facelift being performed. Here they are in more detail –

Types of Facelift Procedures

  • Mini Facelift - As the name implies, this procedure works on a smaller portion of the face as compared to a traditional rhytidectomy. This also makes a mini facelift a less invasive procedure. Also known as a weekend facelift, this procedure is basically meant to improve the appearance of loose skin in the neck and the jowls.

    The whole procedure takes at least two hours. During the procedure, the lower part of a patient’s face is numbed by anesthesia. An S-shaped incision is made from the sideburn, around the ear and towards the bottom of the hairline. After that, the excess skin is removed along with connective tissue before the incision is closed.

  • Mid Facelift - During a mid facelift, the surgeon starts by making tiny incisions inside the patient’s mouth and above the ear. This procedure is often performed by an endoscope which is a small camera that is used to help surgeons see the surgical area. The fat pads in the cheeks are pulled up in order to tighten sagging skin.

  • S-Lift - This procedure is carried out on the lower third area of the face and is meant to smooth the jowls as well as the neck. The procedure starts with local anesthesia that is injected near the patient’s ear. The surgeon then makes an S-shaped incision and separates the skin from the tissue. The tissue and muscles beneath are tightened after the skin is lifted. Since an S-Lift takes less time and involves a smaller incision patients tend to recover faster.

Associated Costs

The cost of a facelift depends on the type. According to a statistic from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of a facelift comes up to $6,550. Candidates are advised to note that this amount does not cover costs that are associated with anesthesia, operating room facilities as well as other expenses that are related to it. The experience of the plastic surgeon also affects the final price.


A rhytidectomy may come with the following benefits –

  • Repair of loose skin

  • Tighter facial muscles

  • Enhanced facial contours

Patients are advised to keep medical advice in mind while going through such a procedure as well as factors that may affect the final cost.

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Schedule Your Consultation Today

To discuss your interests, we encourage you to make an appointment for a consultation with Dr. Steve Vu. We can answer general questions about our our procedures and practice by phone and email during our regular business hours, Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For out-of-town visitors, please contact us so that we can suggest accomodations and make your experience as pleasant as possible.

Office Locations:

Huntington Beach Office:
17742 Beach Blvd., Suite 335
Huntington Beach, CA 92647
Tel: (714) 848-1133
Fax: (714) 848-4114

Corona Office:
800 Magnolia Avenue, Suite 109
Corona, CA 92879-3157
Tel: (951) 279-7888
Fax: (714) 848-4114

Temecula Office:
31720 Temecula Parkway, Suite 203
Temecula, CA 92592
Tel: (951) 279-7888
Fax: (714) 848-4114