Facelift Techniques & Incisions

Surgical technique makes all the difference between a facelift that helps you look amazing and a facelift that looks like a facelift.

How we ensure a beautiful facelift result

Our surgeons separate the skin from the underlying fat, muscle and connective tissue called the submusculoaponeurotic system, or SMAS. She lifts and repositions the SMAS to get rid of jowls and restore naturally more youthful contours to your facial features. She then places the skin back over this “scaffolding” so it lies smoothly, with natural tension, removing excess skin to eliminate jowling and restore a smooth, youthful neck shape.

Think of it this way: if you go camping and your tent caves in on one side, you don’t just stretch the fabric to fix it, you make sure the tent poles are strong and secured in the right places to reinforce the tent, so it won’t cave in again. By using the stronger underlying tissues for support—rather than the skin, which isn’t really up for the job—Dr. Clark ensures that you look natural after surgery and that your results will last longer.

Where will my facelift scars be located?

All surgery leaves scars, but with an experienced hand and expert techniques, facelift scars will be nearly impossible for anyone but you to detect once they heal.

Precise incision locations and lengths vary depending on your anatomy and the amount of skin that needs to be removed, but most facelifts involve incisions in one or more of the following locations:

  • Around the front and back of the ear
  • On the scalp behind the hairline, from the temple area to the lower scalp
  • Underneath the chin
  • Along the lash line (if combined with eyelid surgery) or inside the mouth (less common)

Mini, Mid or Full? Facelift techniques

Our surgeons are experienced in multiple facelift techniques and will choose the approach based on your goals and concerns.

Standard Facelift (a.k.a. Full facelift)

  • Rejuvenates from the upper cheeks to the lower neck
  • Reduces jowling, smooth deep folds, tighten and smooth the neck, and restore definition to facial features
  • Involves the longest incisions, but scars are hidden behind the hairline and in the natural folds of the ear
  • Results typically last about 10 years before a patient chooses to touch up results
  • There’s no substitute for an expertly performed surgical facelift to address moderate to severe sagging in the face and neck

Mini Facelift

  • Incisions are located in front of and behind the ear; scars are hidden behind the hairline and in the natural crease of the ear
  • Concentrates on the lower face, reduces mild jowling and smoothes creases between the nose and corners of the mouth
  • Best for younger patients who are just beginning to notice these signs of aging

Mid-Face Lift

  • Lifts cheeks vertically to achieve a naturally refreshed appearance to the face
  • Best for patients who are primarily bothered by sagging in the lower eyelids and cheeks
  • Incisions are located inside the mouth, on the upper cheeks
  • Similar effects may be achieved with facial fillers for some patients, or filler may be used to enhance results