• Procedure Time: 3-5 hours
  • Recovery Time: 2-3 weeks
  • Surgery Type: Outpatient

What is a Facelift?

A facelift is a surgical procedure which aims to rejuvenate the lower third of the face and neck. As we age, gravity, sun-damage, and changes to the molecular nature of skin results in tissue laxity and decent. These changes begin to show for some people earlier than others, but generally are present in some degree by around age 50. Although there are several non-invasive or minimally-invasive technologies that help improve some of these issues, a surgical facelift is the only procedure that truly restores the anatomy to a position found in youth.

How is it Performed?

There are several different types of facelifts, and each one can be customized based on a patient’s goals and anatomy. Dr. Gadaleta’s procedure of choice is the vertical vector, extended release, deep-plane facelift. This style of lift represents the most innovative, natural and longest-lasting facelift currently available. An additional benefit associated with this lift is its ability to rejuvenate the midface structures, including elevation of the cheeks and improvement to the nasolabial folds. Incisions are placed in natural creases that follow the anatomical borders of the ears and the skin is elevated to reveal the muscle layer of the face and neck. This layer is what is referred to as the Superficial Musculoaponeurotic System (SMAS) and platysmal layer. This sheet of muscle is then undermined, and the facial ligaments are freed. This allows for the face and neck to be completely repositioned back to their youthful state. Once this is completed, excess skin is removed, and the incisions are closed in a meticulous fashion without tension. This tension-free closure is what allows Dr. Gadaleta to achieve pencil-thin scarring that ultimately becomes virtually invisible within the first year of healing.


The bulk of the recovery occurs within the first 3 weeks following surgery. Typically, patients will experience bruising and swelling, mostly around the jawline. This rapidly resolves over the first 10-14 days. Many patients feel uncomfortable the first few days following surgery, however, severe pain is uncommon. Typically, 1 or 2 drains will be placed at the time of surgery, along with a facelift dressing. The drains and dressings are removed in clinic the day after surgery and a more comfortable headwrap is provided to be worn as much as possible for the next week. This dressing helps support the neck as it heals and provides gentle compression that reduces swelling. Sutures are removed between days 5-7 after surgery. By week 3, the majority of swelling has resolved, and most patients will feel comfortable participating in lighter social activities. At this time, makeup can be used to conceal any residual bruising and the healing incisions. Additional improvements are appreciated over the next several weeks, as the swelling continues to improve, and the jaw contour begins to become more defined.


Common goals for facelift include improvement to neck laxity, creating a more well-defined jawline, eliminating the jowls along the jawline, reducing nasolabial folds, and restoring the midface cheek volume to a more youthful position. Facelifts do not treat superficial signs of aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles; however, laser resurfacing can be performed at the same time to address these issues. In addition, facelifts are commonly combined with other procedures aimed to address signs of aging, such as a brow lift, upper and lower eyelid rejuvenation, rhinoplasty, or a chin implant.

Facelift Before & After Photos

Schedule a Facelift Consultation

Reach out today to schedule a facelift consultation in Palo Alto, San Mateo or Menlo Park with Dr. Dominick Gadaleta. As a board-certified San Mateo facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Gadaleta’s practice focuses exclusively on surgery of the face and neck. Please contact us using the form below, or call the office most convenient to you.

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