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The aging process does not spare anyone when it comes to their youthful appearance. As time gradually passes, the natural effects of aging will, unfortunately, begin to take a toll on your youthful and smooth complexion— often much sooner than you would like them to. Many contributors can speed up the aging process, including sun exposure, gravity, smoking cigarettes and environmental pollutants. Time paired with these contributors quickly sap the structure of collagen and elastin within your skin. Without these crucial structural proteins, the delicate tissues on your face and neck will begin to sag and wrinkle over time, altering your appearance. Fortunately, modern plastic surgery today offers both safe and highly effective options for reversing these telltale signs of aging and restoring your youthful radiance by smoothing and tightening facial aging with stunning and natural results.

San Antonio facelift surgeon Dr. Yu specializes in both face and neck procedures and offers his patients advanced surgical techniques that can eliminate visible signs of aging in these areas. Gone are the days of facelifts that make a face appear “windswept” or “pinched”. The traditional facelift procedure or less invasive mini facelift alternative can target the underlying structure of your face by tightening weakened muscles and repositioning connective tissues to create a younger and naturally uplifted appearance. Facelifts also trim away any loose, excess skin to enhance your facial contours and smooth away any pesky lines and wrinkles. While aging may be unavoidable, this procedure at Kenneth Yu Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery can give you the ability to age beautifully and gracefully, restoring your youth along with your self-esteem for years to come.


Benefits of Facelift Surgery

Facelift surgery, also known as rhytidectomy, is often considered to be the most comprehensive approach available in plastic surgery for treating signs of aging present on the face and neck. The benefits of this surgery are both numerous and long-lasting. Patients who choose to undergo a rhytidectomy procedure can expect benefits such as:

  • Firmer and smoother skin in the mid to lower face
  • Repositioned fat and tissues for a lifted appearance to the midface and cheekbones
  • Visible reduction to fine lines and deep facial wrinkles or creases
  • Improved definition along the jawline
  • Elimination of jowls on the lower face
  • Reduction of submental fat or a “double chin”

A traditional facelift procedure in San Antonio, TX by double-board certified Dr. Yu can address many concerns with aging so you can look and feel like yourself after your treatment—only younger and more refreshed. A mini facelift will offer similar results, though will not address significant aging present on the neck or jawline due to shorter incisions. You may also wish to combine your facelift or mini facelift with additional restorative treatments to further enhance your results.

For example, Dr. Yu will frequently combine rhytidectomy surgery with a neck lift or neck liposuction to further improve the jawline definition and reduce the appearance of a double chin. You may also decide to opt for eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) or a brow lift depending on the severity of aging in these regions of the face. During your initial consultation, Dr. Yu will discuss your expectations and desired results at length with you to determine which technique or additional cosmetic procedures will help you best achieve your goals.


Candidates for Facelift Surgery

Dr. Yu recommends the traditional facelift surgery for both women and men who are in good overall health and have moderate to severe symptoms of aging present on their mid to lower face. Ideal candidates for mini facelift surgery are those who have mild to moderate signs of aging present on their mid to lower face that are not yet severe enough for a full facelift procedure. A mini facelift may also be ideal for those who wish for less invasive surgery, as well as a shorter amount of downtime following the operation. The best candidates for a full or mini facelift procedure are patients who wish to achieve a more youthful and rejuvenated complexion and have realistic expectations for what this means. A facelift will not drastically alter your appearance but instead will enhance your natural beauty and restore your skin to its younger glory.

To ensure the success and safety of your procedure patients will also need to be in good enough health to tolerate general anesthesia or sedation. Smokers may be advised against these procedures, as nicotine will affect the body’s ability to undergo anesthesia and heal properly. However, if you currently smoke you may be able to withstand a surgical procedure if you plan to quit several weeks before as well as after your operation.

Facelift Preparation

Once you have decided to pursue a facelift in San Antonio, the first step you will need to take is scheduling a consultation with our office. During your consultation, Dr. Yu will take several steps to ensure that he has a clear understanding of your situation. This includes thoroughly reviewing your medical history, conducting a physical examination and listening intently to your aesthetic goals. You will then work together to develop the ideal treatment plan to best achieve those goals.

You may be asked to take some additional steps as well. Dr. Yu will provide you with a complete list of preoperative instructions to follow after you leave your consultation and move closer to the day of your surgery. Many patients are asked to have additional lab testing performed, begin or adjust medications that could interfere with the safety of the surgery, begin skincare regimens, refrain from excessive alcohol use, quit smoking altogether, and avoid anti-inflammatory drugs and supplements.

These are just a few of the adjustments you may need to make to your routines in preparation for the surgery. We also require that you have a trusted friend or family member with you on the day of the surgery who will be available to drive you to and from your surgery. There will be lingering effects from anesthesia, so it is not safe for you to drive yourself home. That person may also be needed in the first 24 hours of your recovery to assist you with small tasks that would otherwise put unnecessary strain on your fresh wounds.

Recovery Station Preparation

When you are going through your recovery, you will likely have some minor discomfort or pain. You will also be exhausted as your body works overtime to get you back to good health. One of the best things you can do to help it along is to set up a recovery station before your surgery day. If you are resting on your bed, grab a few things ahead of time and have them within an arm’s reach.

Phone chargers, laptops, tablets, remotes, batteries, snacks, medications, pillows, headphones, video games — anything you will need to be comfortable during your recovery should be easily accessible. This will prevent you from having to twist yourself away from your rest, which your body will need an excess of as your wounds are healing.

Combining Your Facelift

Many people are interested in addressing more than one area of their face at a time. Luckily, our office is happy to provide you with an exhaustive list of possible combination procedures. Let us know during your consultation that you are interested in having more than one surgery so Dr. Yu can begin to develop that into your treatment plan right away.

Here are some of the most popular procedures that are combined with a facelift:


Facial aesthetics are all about creating harmony and balance throughout your facial structure. A facelift helps correct some of the issues that have developed over time, like facial sagging and wrinkles, but they can’t do much to correct the appearance of your nose.

Rhinoplasty aims to create better contours for every angle of your face by adding or removing material as needed. There are many options if you want to get a nose job in San Antonio, but Dr. Yu’s ability to correct nasal structure imperfections caused by genetics or trauma is bolstered by his years of experience and expertise in facial reconstruction surgery.

Brow Lift

A brow lift extends the natural results that you achieve with a facelift into the forehead area. By addressing the lower half of your face through a facelift and the upper half through a brow lift, you are ensuring that a more significant portion of your face receives attention and that harmony is maintained throughout your entire appearance.

Chin Implants

Even if you are removing excess skin to correct facial sagging and wrinkles, it is possible that you were never thrilled with the structure of your chin and jaw to begin with. If you are looking to add some definition that wasn’t there before, a chin implant can drastically improve the contours that a facelift will reveal.


Otoplasty, more commonly known as ear pinning, addresses an unharmonious ear appearance. Many people lose a lot of confidence solely from the shape of their ears, so addressing it when you are looking to improve skin ptosis will only net you more substantial overall improvement to your facial structure.


Our eyes are a focal point on our faces. It is considered common courtesy to keep your attention drawn to them when interacting with someone, which means many people are privy to your exact eye appearance. Removing excess skin and fat deposits can do wonders in improving your age, especially when you couple it with the overall smoother appearance that a facelift provides.

Why Dr. Yu?

Dr. Kenneth Yu is an expert in facial rejuvenation surgery and one of the limited number of surgeons in San Antonio who is double board-certified in Head and Neck Surgery and Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. He served in the U.S. Air Force for more than 20 years, where he provided medical care to pilots and airmen and served as a flight surgeon, performing surgery and care in the air to other military members. He received numerous medals for his service, including:

  • Meritorious Service Medal
  • Air Force Commendation Medal
  • Army Commendation Medal

Because of his capabilities and reliability, Dr. Yu was given command of a squadron of nearly 300 people, where he continued to develop his leadership and surgical skills. Dr. Yu has conducted national presentations on his research topics, ranging from alar reconstruction to CO2 laser treatments. His experience and education are vast, and he pulls only from the most cutting-edge technologies and procedures for his San Antonio cosmetic surgery practice.

What to Expect From Your Facelift Surgery

The total length of your facelift surgery can range from two to five hours depending on the technique selected, the extent of your concerns and whether any additional treatments will be performed during your appointment. Facelift procedures can utilize general anesthesia, oral sedation, or intravenous sedation depending on how invasive your surgery will be as well as your personal preference. Dr. Yu performs facelift surgery out of his San Antonio, Texas facility using one of two different techniques depending on the severity of your concerns and personal preference:

Traditional Facelift

This procedure is often referred to as the full facelift, offers the ability to address moderate to severe signs of aging present on the face and neck. As the gold standard for facial rejuvenation, this procedure can restore sagging cheeks, lines and folds around the mouth, under-eye hollows, jowls, double chins and more for a complete solution to multiple signs of aging. During a traditional rhytidectomy procedure, the skin is gently separated from the underlying muscles and connective tissues, allowing Dr. Yu to reposition these tissues and restore the facial structure. Once the foundation of the face has been repaired, Dr. Yu will trim away any excess skin and lay the remaining skin back over your facial tissues for a smoother and firmer complexion.

The incisions for this option are placed along the hairline starting near the temples and will extend down the front of the ear to the jawline. Although the incisions used for the traditional rhytidectomy tend to be longer, Dr. Yu can discreetly place incisions within the hairline or natural creases of your skin to keep any visible scarring to a minimum. The recovery timeline for a full facelift procedure will take longer than a mini facelift; however, you can expect your results to be more dramatic, and in most cases will endure significantly longer.

Mini Facelift

The mini facelift procedure is an excellent choice for patients who are exhibiting mild to moderate signs of aging on their lower face that may not yet merit a full facelift procedure, but are also too advanced for non-surgical rejuvenation options. With a mini facelift, patients no longer have to wait until their concerns with aging progress enough to make them an ideal candidate for the full facelift. The primary difference between these two procedures is that a mini facelift will focus exclusively on aging present on the lower region of the face, and will yield less dramatic results.

While the mini facelift procedure does not provide a more robust restoration than the full facelift, patients have the advantage of shorter incisions, less postoperative scarring and a quicker overall recovery process. Through shorter, subtle incisions placed along the hairline and extending just past the ears, Dr. Yu will tighten and lift structural tissues around the cheeks to eliminate jowls, restore the facial foundation and refine the jawline. A mini facelift can not only reverse early signs of aging and improve your appearance but may also delay the need for more extensive surgical intervention for years.

facelift patient

Facelift Surgery Recovery and Results

The traditional and mini facelift are each performed on an outpatient basis, so you will be free to recuperate in the comfort of your own home after your operation. Immediately following any facelift procedure, you should expect to experience some mild discomfort, swelling and bruising in your treated areas. Dr. Yu will provide you with detailed after-care instructions, and you will be encouraged to use ice packs, over-the-counter pain medication and sleep with your head elevated to help alleviate these symptoms. After a traditional facelift, Dr. Yu’s patients are usually back to their daily routines within one to two weeks after their procedure; however, strenuous exercise should be restricted for at least one month to ensure your face can fully and adequately heal. These recovery timeframes are even shorter if a mini facelift was performed, with many of Dr. Yu’s patients resuming their day-to-day activities in as little as three to five days.

The final results of a traditional facelift procedure are usually observed within three to four months of your surgery as any residual swelling completely subsides. The effects of the procedure are designed to be long-lasting, with many patients seeing beautifully restored results that can last up to 10 years, though it will not permanently prevent aging. As the mini facelift is a less invasive and drastic restoration, many patients will experience results that endure between two to six years before signs of aging set in once again.

The longevity of your facelift results will be determined by the specific surgery performed as well as how well you care for your skin after your treatment. Fortunately, Dr. Yu offers a wide array of both surgical and non-surgical procedures to help you maintain your youthful new appearance if those signs of aging appear sooner than you’d like them to.

Facelift Cost

Because every patient will have different goals and needs for their treatment, the total cost of your facelift procedure can vary significantly. According to 2017 statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), the average price of a traditional facelift in the U.S. is $7,448. However, this average fee is only one portion of the total cost and does not include factors such as the anesthesia, the surgeon’s fee or other related expenses that may be added to your bill. Patients can typically expect the overall cost of their procedure to fall between $3,000 and $15,000 depending on factors that may include:

  • The extent of your treatment
  • The geographic location of the practice
  • Surgeon fees
  • Anesthesia fees
  • Additional surgical procedures or skin treatments
  • Post-surgical garments
  • Prescription medications

While the overall cost of facelift surgery can be a substantial investment, it is essential that you do not base your decision on the most cost-effective option. The surgeon you select for your procedure should have the credentials and proven experience to help you effectively achieve your aesthetic goals. Dr. Kenneth Yu is one of few San Antonio plastic surgeons who is double board-certified in both facial plastic and reconstructive surgery as well as otolaryngology, or head and neck surgery.

By focusing exclusively on the head and neck, Dr. Yu and his team at Kenneth Yu Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery are experts in facial rejuvenation and will ensure every patient is given superior care and exceptional cosmetic results. Facelifts are not typically covered by insurance; however, our office offers a variety of financing options to help patients manage the cost of their procedure.

Facelift FAQs

How Long Does a Facelift Last?

Your facelift results are permanent, but no surgery can prevent further skin sagging from developing. However, your appearance will always be better than it would have been if you had never had a facelift procedure performed. Your skincare habits and routines also determine the longevity of your results.

How Do Facelift Scars Look?

Your scarring will be virtually invisible to anyone looking at you. They are made within the folds of the skin or hairline, making them easily hidden from the general view. As time goes on, scars continue to fade.

How Much Is a Facelift?

As a general estimate, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons puts the average price of a traditional facelift in the U.S. at $7,448. It’s important to know this is a national estimate and will significantly vary depending on your market and unique conditions.  Here in San Antonio, the average price for facelift is higher than the national average.

What Is a Mini Facelift?

A mini facelift is a procedure performed for people who do not need a full traditional facelift. There is less scarring and recovery due to this procedure, but the amount of correction that can be achieved is also limited.

What Is a Liquid Facelift?

A liquid facelift (or nonsurgical facelift) is the nickname for a series of nonsurgical or minimally invasive treatments that help improve some signs of aging, like skin sagging and wrinkles. They do not provide anywhere near the amount of correction that a surgical facelift can provide, but it is a good option for people looking to avoid surgery or improve on minor facial flaws. Dermal fillers, Botox and laser skin resurfacing are just a few of the most popular liquid facelift components.

Don’t let your concerns with aging stand in the way of your appearance or your self-confidence. A facelift procedure can lift, tighten and rejuvenate your facial structure for a more aesthetically-pleasing appearance that ages naturally and elegantly with you. Contact Dr. Kenneth Yu today at 210-876-6868 to schedule your consultation and discover how a traditional or mini facelift can help you turn back the clock on your skin.

*This content was reviewed by Dr. Kenneth Yu, a double board-certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon specializing in head and neck surgery (otolaryngology). His practice — Dr. Kenneth Yu Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery — proudly serves the San Antonio and Austin communities.