Face Lifts

Does your face show signs of aging, such as an increase of lines, creases, and folds?  Do you feel as though they make you look tired or detract from the overall beauty of your face?

If so, you may wish to consult with Dr. Usha Rajagopal of the San Francisco Plastic Surgery & Laser Center about rhytidectomy surgery.

By performing a rhytidectomy (also known as face lifts), Dr. Rajagopal can enhance your face’s overall appearance, resulting in a more youthful look

The Best Candidates For A Face Lift

The best candidate for face lifts is a man or woman whose face and neck have begun to sag, but whose skin still has some elasticity and whose bone structure is strong and well-defined. Most patients are in their forties to sixties, but face lifts can be successfully performed on people in their seventies or eighties.

The Face Lift Procedure

Face lifts usually takes several hours—or somewhat longer if you’re having more than one procedure. For extensive procedures two separate sessions may be scheduled. Dr. Rajagopal moves back and forth between the sides of the face. The exact placement of incisions and the sequence of events depends on your facial structure. Dr. Rajagopal will discuss this with you. Incisions for a face lift procedure usually begin above the hairline at the temples, extend in a natural line in front of the ear (or just inside the cartilage at the front of the ear), and continue behind the earlobe to the lower scalp. If the neck needs work, a small incision may also be made under the chin.


In general, Dr. Rajagopal separates the skin from the fat and muscle below. Fat may be trimmed or suctioned from around the neck and chin to improve the contour. Dr. Rajagopal then tightens the underlying muscle and tissue, pulls the skin back, and removes the excess. Stitches secure the layers of tissue and close the incisions; metal clips may be used on the scalp.


Following surgery, a small, thin tube is temporarily placed under the skin behind your ear to drain fluids that might collect there. Dr. Rajagopal will also wrap your head loosely in bandages to minimize bruising and swelling.

After The Face Lift Procedure

There isn’t usually significant discomfort after face lift surgery; if there is, it can be lessened with the pain medication prescribed. (Severe or persistent pain or a sudden swelling of your face should be reported to Dr. Rajagopal immediately.) Some numbness of the skin is quite normal; it will disappear in a few weeks or months. Keep your head elevated and as still as possible for a couple of days after surgery, to keep the swelling down. If you’ve had a drainage tube inserted, it will be removed one or two days after your face lift surgery. Bandages, when used, are usually removed after one to five days. Don’t be surprised at the pale, bruised, and puffy face you see. Just keep in mind that in a few weeks you’ll be looking normal.


There isn’t usually significant discomfort after face lift surgery; if there is, it can be lessened with the pain medication prescribed. (Severe or persistent pain or a sudden swelling of your face should be reported to Dr. Rajagopal immediately.) Some numbness of the skin is quite normal; it will disappear in a few weeks or months.


Keep your head elevated and as still as possible for a couple of days after surgery, to keep the swelling down.


If you’ve had a drainage tube inserted, it will be removed one or two days after your face lift surgery. Bandages, when used, are usually removed after one to five days. Don’t be surprised at the pale, bruised, and puffy face you see. Just keep in mind that in a few weeks you’ll be looking normal.

Facelift - Before & After Photos



Getting Back To Normal After Your Face Lift

You should be up and about in a day or two, but plan on taking it easy for the first week after your face lift surgery. Be especially gentle with your face and hair, since your skin will be both tender and numb, and may not respond normally at first. Dr. Rajagopal will give you more specific guidelines for gradually resuming your normal activities. They will likely to include these suggestions: Avoid strenuous activity, including sex and heavy housework, for at least two weeks (walking and mild stretching are fine); avoid alcohol, steam baths, and saunas for several months. Above all, get plenty of rest and allow your body to spend its energy on healing. At the beginning, your face may look and feel rather strange. Your features may be distorted from the swelling, your facial movements may be slightly stiff and you’ll probably be self-conscious about your scars. Some bruising may persist for two or three weeks, and you may tire easily. It’s not surprising that some patients are disappointed and depressed at first. By the third week, you’ll look and feel much better. Most patients are back at work two weeks after face lift surgery. If you need it, special camouflage makeup can mask most bruising that remains.

Face Lift Journal - A Patient Reviews

I have been seeing Dr. Rajagopal for at least 8 years. I chose her for her compassion and honesty. She has told me when I don’t need something done even though I thought I did. I am a 48 year old female who has had botox and restalyne to try to keep looking fresh.


I did not want to look like I’d had anything done. This year my sagging jowls and neck were really bothering me and I discussed it with Dr. Rajagopal—she suggested a half-face lift and lower eye surgery. I made the appointment when I knew I could take 3-4 days off. I have 3 children and my mother was there to help. I went in feeling a little nervous, but had such faith in Dr. Rajagopal that I knew I was in good hands. I did not have general anesthesia, but didn’t’ feel a thing. I was groggy when I woke up, but didn’t feel any pain or anxiety. I left the office with a friend and rested for 3 days as per doctor’s orders.


I could have done much more, but didn’t want to ruin the procedure. I had no pain at all, infact I never used the pain medication. I was swollen and bruised, but within 6 days I was out and about- with glasses and a hat. It has been 2 ½ weeks now, most of the swelling and bruising has gone. I just use make-up.


Nobody has asked me whether I’ve had anything done, but everyone has told me I look great and I must have had a great summer! I don’t regret a thing and am so glad that I did this. My self-esteem has improved –not that I was depressed, I just wanted to look younger without looking plastic. The whole experience was good and I’m very happy with the results. I feel so lucky to have such a great doctor and would recommend her to anybody considering any procedure.

More Freqently Asked Questions about Facelifts

See also: Face lifts cost on our cost & pricing page

If you have any additional questions regarding Face Lifts, or wish to schedule a consultation with Usha Rajagopal, MD in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, please call the San Francisco Plastic Surgery Laser Center at 415-392-3333.