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What is a Facelift?

The facelift, or rhytidectomy, is the third most common facial plastic surgery performed in the United States. As we age, crow’s feet become visible near our eyes. The near-invisible lines on the forehead become prominent, and the jawline sags. Some people experience the emergence of a “second chin.” Unfortunately, we must all deal with these negative aspects of gravity that come with age.

Choosing to get a facelift offers a boost in both appearance and self-esteem. We have the technology, it’s up to you to learn more and take the next step toward a more youthful you. A facelift can do wonders for your face, taking years off and tightening loose folds, and can also be combined with a number of other procedures for an overall rejuvenated, younger look.

When choosing a surgeon for your facelift remember that experience counts. A facelift is a challenging procedure that requires an understanding of facial aesthetics, extensive knowledge regarding facial aging, vast experience in facial anatomy, and an artistic sense to achieve a natural appearing transformation. Dr. Rachel is a uniquely qualified surgeon who is quadruple board certified in facial plastic surgery, facial cosmetic surgery, cosmetic surgery, and otolaryngology head and neck surgery. A facelift from Dr. Rachel in Chicago achieves natural-looking results that look like you – natural. Dr. Rachel is recognized for his exceptional surgical talents and for consistently achieving sophisticated and elegant outcomes.

Facelift Related Procedures

Other procedures that are often combined with a facelift:

Types of Facelifts


Some patients with early drooping of the face and jowls have only minimal descent of the neck and are excellent candidates for a minilift. The minilift is a less invasive way to tighten this sagging skin.

The minilift can be done under local anesthetic with moderate sedation rather than general anesthesia. Some people want to be fully awake during this operation, while others want only a little bit of sedation.

A short incision hidden within the recesses of the ear allows Dr. Rachel to lift the muscles of the cheeks and restore a sleeker jawline and improved angles of the neck. Because of the well-hidden short incisions, scars heal quickly and patients may return to work in five to seven days. Despite the fact that it is a less invasive surgical treatment, the results can last for several years.

This man is not only a MASTER surgeon, he’s one of the kindest and most humble people I have ever met. […] Last week (for my 60th birthday present to myself), I had a mini-face lift. I’m only 5 days post-op and cannot believe the transformation! Dr. Rachel is thorough, professional, caring, and patient, as is his entire staff. Most importantly, his work is nothing short of perfection. Would recommend him in a heartbeat!

The S-Lift

The S-lift is the modern answer for minimally invasive surgery for patients who previously requested full facelifts with prolonged swelling and healing. The S-lift, done under gentle twilight sedation, involves making small incisions hidden within the recesses of the ears and beneath the chin. Through these incisions, Dr. Rachel can elevate sagging facial muscles to restore the normal contours of the neck, jawline, and cheeks. To close the incisions, fine sutures are employed. Normally, the treatment takes about two hours.

Revision Facelift

Dr. Rachel is a specialist in what is known as revision or secondary facelifting. This includes performing a facelift or rhytidectomy procedure on a patient who has had one or more prior facelifts. These procedures are typically performed to correct the changes associated with aging over time, although sometimes they are performed to correct specific irregularities resulting from the first surgery or for problems not addressed. It is important to trust your face to a specialist who can customize the revision surgery to your needs and not be limited by a certain skill set. He also has a great deal of experience in caring for patients who have previously undergone cancer surgeries of the face, radiation, and parotid gland excisions. His procedures can breathe new life into your face, restoring that fresh, vibrant look you want.

blonde smiling laughing woman

Your Facelift Consultation

The first step in the facelift process is coming in for a consultation with Dr. Rachel in Chicago. This will allow him to examine your facial features and learn about your cosmetic goals for the procedure. Photographs may also be taken.

Dr. Rachel will also look over your complete medical history. This includes allergies, current medications, past procedures, and any pre-existing conditions. With this information, Dr. Rachel can ensure that the facelift procedure is safe for you.

The doctor will discuss the facelift process with you in great detail, including preparation, procedure steps, and aftercare. Any questions will be answered. Finally, after Dr. Rachel creates a surgical plan, a date will be set for your facelift.


  • What is the difference between a minilift and an S-lift?

    “Facelift” is a generalized term indicating a procedure designed to improve the appearance and tighten the tissues of the face and neck. There are many procedures and procedure names that fit into this category. Some are trademarked names, and some may be common terms such as minilift and S-lift.

    At MetropolitanMD, a minilift is a minimally invasive procedure to improve the appearance of the lower face and neck. It is generally performed under local anesthesia and takes about one and a half to two hours to complete.

    An S-lift is a similar procedure, but it is geared towards patients who are interested in and who would benefit from additional tightening of the face and neck (i.e. larger “turkey neck”). This surgery is commonly done under twilight anesthesia and takes between two and three hours to complete.

  • How long will the facelift results last?

    Results will commonly last for five to ten years depending on a number of factors, such as patient anatomy and environmental and social influences. Sun exposure, smoking history, and skin quality can have an impact on the duration of the effects.

  • Will I have visible scars?

    The healed scars are often difficult to see since they are camouflaged in the creases and folds of the ear and under the chin.

  • Am I too old for a facelift?

    Minimally invasive procedures can be safely performed under local or twilight anesthesia on patients in their 30s through their 80s.

  • What are the risks of facelift surgery?

    These procedures are generally very safe. As with any procedure, there are risks involved. Risks may include, among other things, bleeding, infection, wound-healing issues, scarring, injury to muscles and nerves, and anesthetic reactions. The recovery is usually three to ten days depending on the extent of the procedure, but periodically, it can be prolonged.

  • How painful is facelift surgery?

    Most patients only require a mild prescription pain reliever the first 24-48 hours after surgery. After this time, most patients require no pain medications at all.

    For those that do require relief after the first 24-48 hours after surgery, Tylenol typically is more than sufficient.

  • Where will my facelift be performed?

    The procedures are performed in our state-of-the-art AAAHC-accredited surgery center in North Shore, IL.

  • Will I have bruising after my facelift?

    The extent of bruising varies among patients. Some patients have very minimal bruising and some have more extensive bruising. Avoiding certain medications before surgery and following the instructions after surgery can help minimize bruising.

  • How long does it take for the swelling to resolve after a facelift?

    The extent of swelling also varies widely among patients. Again, some patients have minimal swelling that lasts only a few days and others may have prolonged swelling that slowly diminishes over a period of several weeks.

  • When can I resume exercise after a facelift?

    Light exercise such as walking is usually recommended several days after the procedure. Activity can be progressively increased after one week depending on the patient and the extent of the procedure.

  • When can I go back to work after my facelift?

    Depending on the extent of surgery and post-operative bruising, some patients will return to work as soon as three to four days after the procedure and others will be out for two weeks.

  • When can I fly after my facelift?

    It is advisable to avoid flying for at least 72 hours after the procedure.

  • If I want to lose weight, should I wait to get my facelift?

    It is generally unnecessary to lose weight first unless significant weight loss is planned. Commonly, patients who have the procedure prior to weight loss use the improved appearance for motivation for healthier living and weight loss.


The Cost of a Facelift

When considering undergoing a facelift procedure, it is important to understand the procedure’s price. Because the details of every facelift vary from patient to patient, there is no one-size-fits-all cost. Rhytidectomy cost is based on a number of factors, including the type of facelift being performed, anesthesia fees, and the total time needed to perform the surgery.

Arrange Your Consultation in Chicago

Contact us to get your facelift surgery consultation with Dr. John D. Rachel, a Quadruple Board-certified cosmetic surgeon.

Your Facelift will be performed in Dr. John D. Rachel's surgery center located in North Shore.

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