Face Lift and Plastic Surgery: Everything You Need to Know About

HK Vitals

Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

If sagging skin and wrinkles are causing distress and you are considering a face lift or plastic surgery, it’s essential to approach the decision with careful consideration. While the two terms are often used interchangeably and aim to enhance appearance, they are distinct in their objectives, techniques, and target areas. Read below to understand what aligns best with your requirements and expectations

Facelift vs Plastic Surgery

Both procedures fall under the domain of cosmetic surgery. They share similarities and also differ on certain grounds. 

  • Definition and Purpose

A face lift is a surgical procedure that targets visible signs of aging in the face and neck region. Its primary goal is to tighten and reposition sagging facial tissues and skin. This leads to a smoother and more youthful appearance. 

Plastic surgery, on the other hand, is a broader term that encompasses a wide range of surgical procedures. The procedure aims to enhance various aspects of the body’s appearance and function. However, studies reveal that there is a wide range of factors that prompt people to consider facial treatments.

  • Types

Depending upon the extent of damage and target area, a face lift can be a mini facelift that targets loose skin around the neck and jawline, or a mid-facelift that corrects sagging skin around the cheeks and nose. The third one is a nonsurgical face lift that targets signs of aging.

Plastic surgery can be reconstructive or cosmetic surgery. Reconstructive plastic surgery is performed to repair physical deformities and aims to restore functionality and appearance. Cosmetic plastic surgery is elective and focuses on enhancing aesthetics by improving symmetry and appearance.

  • Target Areas

Common concerns addressed by a face lift include sagging skin, deep wrinkles, and loss of facial volume. It focuses on the lower two-thirds of the face, typically including the cheeks, jawline, and neck.

Plastic surgery includes rhytidectomy which is called face lift surgery. Other surgical procedures include rhinoplasty for a nose job, blepharoplasty for drooping eyelids, brow lift for droopy eyebrows, liposuction to reduce fat, and implants to add volume and improve contours, etc. 

  • Procedure and Techniques

Both face lift and facial plastic surgery involve making incisions along the hairline and behind the ears to access the underlying tissues. Through these incisions, a board-certified facial plastic surgeon lifts and repositions the facial muscles and tissues, removing excess skin if necessary. Advanced facelift techniques may require fat grafting or injectables to restore volume and provide a more natural, rejuvenated appearance.

  • Risks Involved

The risks overlap for both procedures. These include risk of infection, hematoma or accumulation of blood under the skin, scarring, nerve damage, hair loss at incision sites, asymmetry, dissatisfaction with results, and skin necrosis or death of skin tissue. Studies reveal that facelifts have a 1.8% complication rate as against 2% with cosmetic plastic surgeries.

  • Recovery and Results

Recovery from a facelift and facial plastic surgery generally takes several weeks. Initial swelling, bruising, and discomfort may settle but stitches are typically removed after two weeks. Following post-operative care instructions ensure fast and optimal healing. The real results begin to show only after swelling and bruising are settled. Results in both cases are long-term. 


What is a facelift? It is a specific type of plastic surgery that focuses on rejuvenating the lower two-thirds of the face and neck and helps correct signs of aging such as sagging skin and wrinkles. Plastic surgery, on the other hand, is a broad term encompassing a wide range of surgical procedures aimed at both reconstructive and cosmetic goals. Remember, while a face lift does not have a medical need, plastic surgery may be medically required such as rhinoplasty is done in case of deviated nasal septum. 

When considering a facelift or face lift surgery procedure, it is crucial to consult with a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon to discuss individual goals. Understand the potential risks and have real expectations. No doubt, a well-performed procedure can make a person look younger, refreshed, and more vibrant.

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