New Year, New Facelift? How to Know If It’s Time for a Secondary Facelift

Posted on February 8, 2017 | by


An expertly performed facelift can help you look years younger and better refreshed by “resetting” the clock on facial aging. However, resetting the clock doesn’t mean stopping the clock, and eventually you may notice that some jowling has returned or that your neck is once again sagging more than you would like.

If it’s been a number of years since your facelift surgery, it’s perfectly reasonable to consider a secondary facelift to address the inevitable effects of time and restore a more refreshed look. At Boston Plastic Surgery, we have a lot of patients come to see Dr. Samaha who are interested in a second (or third!) facelift and have questions about the procedure. Below, we’ve addressed the basics to help those of you who might also be thinking about taking the next step.

How long do facelifts last?

Everyone is different. Your age, natural skin elasticity, lifestyle factors such as smoking or stress, and how well you take care of your skin all factor into how long facelift results will last. If you are relatively young when you have a facelift and follow a quality skin care routine, you can expect your look to last longer than an older patient who smokes and never wears sunscreen.

Of course, your plastic surgeon also has an impact on how well your facelift results will endure. A skilled plastic surgeon will use techniques that help tissues stay “lifted” for longer, helping you to continue to look good as you age, whether or not you choose to have another procedure.

Facelift patients are typically happy with their look for 7 to 10 years (sometimes longer) after a standard facelift. At that point, sagging may again start to be noticeable and patients who want to maintain their youthful appearance will seek a secondary facelift. Mini-facelift patients wanting to maintain a lifted look will generally want a touch-up sooner, some time after the 5 year mark.

So, do I need another facelift?

Whether or not a secondary facelift is appropriate for you depends on a number of factors, not the least of which is how you feel when you look in the mirror! If you’re happy with your appearance, there’s no need to take action, no matter how long it’s been since your last surgery. However, if any of the following describe you, then it may be time to consult with an experienced facelift surgeon:

  • Jowls have returned, and you’re not happy to see them. A facelift is the only procedure that can correct moderate to severe jowls.
  • You have started wearing scarves to conceal a sagging neck. If an aging face and neck are dictating your wardrobe choices, then another facelift can help you feel more confident in your appearance.
  • Non-surgical treatments are not getting the results you want. BOTOX, fillers, and skin resurfacing are excellent ways to maintain facelift results, but these treatments can only go so far in addressing signs of aging. A secondary facelift can offer long-lasting improvements for sagging skin and deep facial folds, and may even be more cost-effective in the long run.
  • You aren’t happy with your first facelift. If you are dissatisfied with the results of your initial surgery, there’s no need to wait until the effects of aging kick in to do something about it. A qualified plastic surgeon can help improve issues such as poorly placed incisions or a too-tight or “pulled” look.

Your next step: find a plastic surgeon experienced in secondary facelifts

In many respects, a secondary facelift follows the same steps as a primary facelift—incision locations are typically the same, and recovery is similar, if not shorter. However, operating on a patient who has previously had facelift surgery requires a special set of surgical skills.

For instance, your plastic surgeon will need to vary his or her approach depending on how your previous surgery was performed. If your first facelift surgeon was very skilled, surgery can be quite straightforward. However, if issues from prior surgery, such as poorly placed incisions, excessive thinning in the SMAS (tissue layers beneath the skin), or over-tensioning in the cheeks, need to be corrected, the procedure may be more complex.

Additionally, your plastic surgeon will be working with less skin and thinner tissues the second time around, leaving little room for error. Replacing lost volume is a higher priority, so your plastic surgeon will need to have the skills to complement facelift surgery with fat injections or facial fillers if necessary. With all of this in mind, it’s imperative to choose a surgeon who is very experienced in secondary facelifts.

Ready for a “refresh” on your facelift? Give us a call.

If you are near Boston and think it may be time for another facelift, we can help you decide. Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Fouad Samaha has more than 20 years of experience performing primary and secondary facelifts. At a personal consultation, he will evaluate your needs and help you choose a treatment plan that will most closely address your concerns and achieve your goals.

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