Does a Facelift Use General or Local Anesthesia: What Are My Options?

A lower facelift or neck lift can greatly rejuvenate the face and help restore an attractive, youthful appearance. Facelift patients are typically active individuals who have sagging skin and jowls and excess neck fat—and most are hoping to avoid general anesthesia for their facelift procedure.

Facelift Options

A facelift is not one operation, but rather many potential cosmetic procedures, dependent on the surgeon and patient to improve neck lines, jowls, and signs of facial aging. Although there are many different facelift procedure terms, there are really only a few different types. These basic facelift surgery types are:

  • SMAS facelift
  • Deep-plane facelift
  • Composite facelift

You can learn more about the differences between deep-plane and SMAS facelifts in our related blog post.

A facelift may be combined with other cosmetic surgery, such as a eyelid surgery, fat transfer, or others.

How Much Does a Facelift Tighten Your Face?

The amount of tissue adjusted or tightened depends on the specific approach and the patient’s unique requirements.

  • Limited-Incision facelift: The minimal access or minimal incision lift that leaves a short scar is more appropriate for younger patients (less than 60) or patients with little to moderate skin aging. All of these types of facelifts are variations of SMAS lifts.
  • Traditional facelift: Older patients or those with severe and excess skin sagging require a more traditional facelift procedure.

By far, a majority of plastic surgeons who perform facelift surgery do a SMAS lift variation. This facelift type generally has the quickest recovery with great results. You can see some of our patients’ facelift before and after photos to get an idea of the type of results that are possible.

Can You Have a Facelift Without General Anesthesia?

Typically most facelift surgery is performed with either IV sedation (twilight anesthesia) or general anesthesia, along with local anesthesia. Either is a good, safe option, with its own advantages and disadvantages.

IV sedation or general anesthesia may be provided by a board-certified anesthesiologist and/or nurse anesthetist, depending on the surgical facility. It’s better to have someone else other than your facelift surgeon monitoring you and your vitals during anesthesia. Let your plastic surgeon concentrate on the cosmetic surgery.

Is a Facelift With Local Anesthesia Possible?

Some cosmetic surgeons perform facelift surgery under local anesthesia only, termed “awake surgery.” I advise my patients against any extensive plastic surgery via local anesthesia only.

While minor procedures can be performed in the office with local anesthesia, patients are more comfortable with IV sedation or general anesthesia for more extensive procedures.

The decision on the type of anesthesia depends on the extent of facelift surgery, combined cosmetic surgery procedures along with the facelift, patient factors/preference, and surgeon factors/preference. After an evaluation by a plastic surgeon, one chooses the appropriate anesthesia type for their plastic surgery.

You can learn more about your facelift options during a consultation at our practice. Request a consultation using our online form or call (202) 800-2085 to schedule an appointment.

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