10 Questions To Ask Before A Facelift (And Why To Ask Them)
A facelift (rhytidectomy) is a surgical procedure that makes the face tighter and smoother by lifting up the facial skin and sagging tissues. In 2016, facelift procedures were among the top 5 most popular surgical treatments in the United States, with over 131,000 facelifts performed.
There are many great resources online to help patients with self-research (we have a series of blog posts dedicated to facelifts here), but the best way to get all your questions answered is by asking the plastic surgeon directly during an in-person consultation.
Here are 10 suggested questions to ask before scheduling a facelift surgery:
1. Are you a Board Certified surgeon?
Why Ask: Surgeons who are Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery have advanced training and experience in performing plastic surgery procedures. Their training will include sixteen years of post-high school education, years of performing cosmetic and reconstructive procedures under direct supervision, and the passing of their board exam (an intense 2-day oral and written exam testing their skills and knowledge).
Believe it or not, in Texas a doctor (who may or may not be a surgeon) is permitted to advertise that he/she performs plastic surgery, yet may not be Board Certified by a recognized board. In Texas, its “buyer beware” according to state law. Unfortunately it is often only after a major disaster that the doctor’s lack of credentials is divulged. Board Certified surgeons have a far lower rate of complications and a higher rate of patient satisfaction compared to non-certified surgeons.
2. How many years of experience do you have performing facelift procedures?
Why Ask: When it comes to performing facelifts, more experience equates to better results. Patients should seek a surgeon with many years of experience performing different types of facelift techniques on patients of various demographics (gender, age, sex, ethnicity, etc.). Do not be misled by deceiving answers that include the years in training. Training years should not “count” towards the number of years in practice.
3. Do you have hospital privileges to perform facelifts (and if so, which hospitals)?
Why Ask: The existence of current hospital privileges is another way to check on the current standing of the surgeon. In order to obtain privileges, the surgeon would have to meet a threshold of experience and positive past work history. Be sure that privileges include facelifting (or whatever surgery you’re there to discuss).
4. Where will the procedure be performed?
Why Ask: Patients should make sure the procedure will be done at a nationally or state accredited facility that is in good standing with all local authorities. In such facilities, all individuals who are present during the procedure are also properly licensed and independently accredited by the facility. At Westlake Dermatology, our facilities are accredited by either The Joint Commission (that accredits all the hospitals in the U.S.) or The American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAA) (that accredits most private plastic surgery facilities).
5. Can I see before & after photos of other facelift cases?
Why Ask: Before and after photos offer the best first-hand proof of a surgeon’s skills and experience. Make sure to view a variety of cases, not just ones that are similar to yours. Note: while many surgeons provide some before and after photos on their websites (view ours here), most have additional cases that are available for in-office viewing only.
6. Am I a good candidate for a facelift?
Why Ask: It’s important to get the surgeon’s honest opinion on your candidacy, given their experience performing the surgery. Make sure to ask if they have previously performed a facelift on patients with similar traits (and view their before/after photos if possible). If you are not an ideal candidate for a facelift, there may be a more suitable procedure to consider instead.
7. What facelift technique do you recommend (and why)?
Why Ask: Since there are many , it’s important for a patient to understand the specific technique that will be performed. It’s also worthwhile to ask your surgeon why they prefer that technique over alternatives.
8. What will my recovery be like?
Why Ask: It’s important for patients to understand what they can expect after undergoing their procedure. Ask your surgeon what feedback was received from previous similar patients along with what specific aftercare instructions will have to be followed.
9. What are the complications and risks associated with the procedure?
Why Ask: In order to do your full due diligence, it is critical to discuss any potential side effects or complications that may be experienced after the procedure. Make sure to ask how each type of complication would be handled.
10. How can I get the best results?
Why Ask: A facelift is a significant investment in money and time. Patients should ask their surgeon how they can both achieve and maintain their results over the long haul. Specifically, patients can ask surgeons what their best cases had in common.