Is a Facelift Procedure Right for Your Patient?


When it comes to making the decision to move forward with a facelift procedure, how can patients know whether it is the right option for them?

More patients are living longer and staying active into their later years. As a result, many members of the aging population are embracing cosmetic surgery to help their outside appearance reflect how good they feel on the inside.

One popular procedure that allows people to appear years younger is the facelift, which is a surgical operation to remove unwanted wrinkles by tightening facial skin. But when it comes to making the decision to move forward with a facelift procedure, how can patients know whether it is the right option for them?

To answer that question, I have developed the following tips that not only educate patients about what a facelift entails, but also determine if they are prime candidates for the procedure.

The most ideal patients for facelift procedures are men and women who are in the best possible shape for their stage in life. Nevertheless, I also tell potential facelift candidates to think about the following characteristics and ask themselves the following questions:


Has the patient avoided excessive sun exposure? Or if the patient was a sun worshiper earlier in life, is he or she now limiting sun exposure and using preventative measures like sunblock to protect the skin? If the answer is yes, then the patient is a potential facelift candidate.


Is the patient at or close to the ideal weight for his or her body type? If so, then you have a prime candidate for a facelift. Being overweight or obese can impede the healing process, which can cause complications with the anesthetic, as well as other health issues like cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.

Smoking Status

If the patient is a non-smoker, then he or she may also be a perfect candidate for a facelift procedure. In addition to complicating the healing process, smoking adversely affects the skin and leads to the appearance of early aging in the form of wrinkles or tougher, less supple-looking skin.

Prospective patients who fit 1 or more of those criteria may be ideal candidates for a facelift procedure. That said, this is not the end-all, be-all list, because every patient is different. The best way for us to ensure a procedure is appropriate for our patients is to speak with them during a consultation appointment to better understand their specific cosmetic goals and educate them about their options, as well as the risks and recovery times associated with each of their desired procedures.

Robert T. Grant, MD, MSc, FACS, is Chief of the combined Divisions of Plastic Surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia University Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center. He is also Associate Clinical Professor of Surgery in the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University and Adjunct Associate Professor of Clinical Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College. For more information about Dr. Grant or to contact him, visit his website at

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