Facelift in Santa Monica

While everyone develops facial aging at their own rate, eventually, fine lines, wrinkles, deep folds, hollows, and displaced fat will develop. Facial aging is the result of gravity, genetics, sun exposure, harsh environments, and lifestyle choices, and despite the ability to potentially minimize the severity of facial aging through proper skin maintenance, there is no way to prevent it.

Facelift surgery targets moderate to severe laxity by tightening facial muscles, repositioning fat, and trimming lax skin. Facelift surgery produces natural-looking, rejuvenated, and long-lasting results. Additionally, it remains the gold standard treatment for many patients.

What Are the Benefits of a Facelift?

Fewer Fine Lines and Wrinkles

Fine lines and wrinkles can develop anywhere on the face and contribute to an aged facial appearance. Facelift surgery trims excess skin and manipulates the muscles and deep tissues to eliminate or reduce the depth of fine lines and wrinkles. This surgery restores natural-looking youthfulness.

Defined Facial Contours

Tissue laxity often results in sagging of the skin, muscles, and facial fat. This sagging changes the shape of your face contributes to an aged and tired appearance. Facelift surgery tightens the skin, muscles, and deep tissues, and redistributes facial fat to restore youthful facial contours and fullness.

Reduced Jowls

Jowls are the pockets of sagging skin and jaw that develop at the jawline and obscure the angle of your jaw and chin. When the deep underlying tissues are lifted during a facelift, the skin and fat that creates the jowls are restored to a youthful elevation. This reduces the severity of jowls.

What Happens During a Facelift?


Your consultation with Dr. Butler is an essential part of your facelift procedure. During this meeting, Dr. Butler will:

  • Evaluate your skin condition
  • Take measurements and recommend the ideal technique to meet your needs
  • Discuss your goals and expectations
  • Provide you with a list of dos and don’ts to follow before your surgery

Facelift Procedure

Your facelift surgery is performed in a fully accredited Santa Monica surgery center under light general anesthesia. In some cases, local anesthesia with sedation is appropriate.This is an outpatient procedure, and you are transported comfortably to the recovery center shortly after  surgery.

Facelift Incisions:
Facelift incisions are placed behind the hairline and hidden in the natural folds of the face and ears.  Many patients are good candidates for minimum incision or endoscopic facelifting.

Facelift Techniques:
There have been many modern refinements in facelifting over the past twenty years. These allow the underlying fat, muscles, and deep tissues to be lifted, sculpted, and repositioned, and when necessary, loose skin to be trimmed and redraped.

Your facelift is tailored to meet your needs, and may be very different than the treatment recommended to another individual.

Restoration of Volume:
While the repositioning of the deep underlying tissues will restore some volume, many patients benefit from the restoration of additional facial volume. Injection grafting of one’s own fat can provide natural cheek enhancement as can a variety of dermal fillers. Beautiful results can also be achieved with artful use of facial implants.

Neck Lift

For patients who develop tissue laxity on both the face and neck, a neck lift may be performed in combination with your facelift to maintain aesthetic harmony.

Neck lift surgery tightens sagging neck skin, repositions neck muscles, and may include liposuction to sculpt excess fat deposits. This procedure minimizes the appearance of vertical neck banding, deep creases, and a double chin.


Many results of your facelift surgery will become apparent immediately following the procedure and will continue to improve over the following weeks and months. Some patients require a prolonged period for all of their swelling to subside, but most are able to resume social activities within three weeks.

No surgery can stop the natural aging process and gravity.  While you will eventually develop additional facial tissue laxity, you will continue to look younger and more rejuvenated than if you did not have your facelift.



Facelift surgery is an outpatient procedure, but requires anesthesia. For safety and proper attention, arrangements are made for your recovery in a dedicated cosmetic surgery facility close by the surgery center. Specially trained staff will assist you during the first one or more days. From there, a friend or family member may drive you home.

Patients should relax with their head in an upright position for several days to encourage blood circulation and reduce swelling. Hair washing can be resumed after two days. Dr Butler will discuss when it is appropriate for you to return to work and other pursuits.

While most activities can be resumed sooner, strenuous exercise should be avoided for four to six weeks.


Dr. Butler places your facelift incisions in discreet places so that the resulting scars are hidden within the hairline or in the folds and creases of the skin. This technique minimizes their visibility.

The only way for the body to heal is to produce scars. Ideally, this is a very fine, smooth line of natural color. Unfortunately, some patients are not capable of healing this way, so we use healing aids to optimize their recovery.

All people benefit from keeping healing incisions out of the sun and from applying silicone strips or gel. Marks all will fade with time.


Facelift surgery is customized for  the patient, and the final fee will reflect that.

Expense varies depending on the specific type of lift required, and naturally depends on other procedures that are performed for you at the same time.

Additional factors include preoperative medical clearance and testing, anesthesia services, and operative and postoperative facility fees.

Dr. Butler’s staff  will provide you with an accurate cost estimate during your consultation.


Facelift surgery is performed with the assistance of anesthesia to ensure that there is no pain during or immediately following the surgery. The first week can be uncomfortable. Supportive dressings, head elevation, and appropriate medications are used.

Typically over the counter medication and cool compresses are effective after the first two to three days.

Limitation of activity and careful avoidance of medications that promote bleeding, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, is extremely important.

Numbness in the operated area is normal and resolves over a few weeks to a few months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a facelift?

Dr. Butler believes that when it comes to invasive surgery, the lesser invasive procedures and techniques are preferable. This is why he will never suggest a surgical procedure that is more invasive than what is needed for your degree of facial aging.

Facelift surgery is designed for patients with moderate to significant facial aging with deep creases, jowls, and tissue laxity. Patients with a lesser degree of aging, regardless of age, may benefit from a Silhouette Lift® or an injectable treatment.

What are the side effects of a facelift?

Complications with facelift surgery are rare, but as with any surgical procedure, they are possible. Physical complications include:

  • Reactions to the anesthesia
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Prolonged wound healing

Aesthetic complications include:

  • Unfavorable scarring
  • Facial asymmetry

You can reduce your risk of these side effects by following all of Dr. Butler’s recommendations before and after the surgery.

What are the non-surgical alternatives to a facelift?

While moderate to significant facial aging is best addressed with facelift surgery, patients with a mild degree of facial aging or patients who are looking to postpone the need for an invasive procedure may benefit from non-surgical dermal fillers, BOTOX® Cosmetic, or laser resurfacing. While non-surgical treatments cannot match the results of surgery, they are beneficial in the reduction of fine lines and the restoration of volume.

What procedures can be combined with my facelift?

Since the facelift targets the lower two-thirds of the face, additional cosmetic procedures may be needed to achieve more complete rejuvenation. A facelift is often performed in combination with a neck lift, brow lift, eyelid surgery, or nasal reshaping (rhinoplasty). For patients with deficient, excess, or misplaced fat in the face or neck, liposculpture can be utilized.