Awake Facelift

An awake facelift is not in itself a particular type of facelift surgical technique but rather a description of the type of anesthesia used during the procedure. During this specific type of facelift, the doctor will elect to forgo administering general anesthesia and instead will incorporate tumescent anesthesia in combination with an oral or IV sedative, meaning the patient will be awake throughout the procedure.

Awake Facelift

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The Skinny


Average Recovery

18 weeks

Permanence

Temporary

Application

Surgical Procedure

Surgical

Yes

Cost

$3500 - $8000

The Specifics


What is an awake facelift?

An awake facelift refers to the lack of general anesthesia used during the facelift surgery. Depending on the candidate, anesthesiologist, and plastic surgeon, one of numerous facelift surgery techniques can be utilized during an awake facelift.

There are various types of anesthesia, however, they can generally be broken down into general anesthetics versus local anesthetics. General anesthesia is typically an intravenous sedation (IV sedation) in which an anesthesiologist carefully monitors vital signs (like blood pressure, breathing, and heart rate) to ensure a patient is properly sedated. In the awake facelift, a patient undergoes "conscious sedation" or twilight anesthesia with regional anesthesia or local anesthetics.

As in traditional facelift plastic surgeries, skin, fat, and muscle will be altered to create natural appearing results. The “awake” component means only local anesthesia will be used. Specifically, tumescent fluid which is a combination of epinephrine, local anesthetics like lidocaine, and saline, will be used to anesthetize the area to be treated.

What cosmetic concerns does an awake facelift procedure treat?

  1. Facial Skin Laxity: Alterations to skin, fat, and muscle may be performed during an awake facelift to achieve facial rejuvenation, and a more youthful appearance all under local anesthesia only.

Who is the ideal candidate for an awake facelift procedure?

The ideal candidate for an awake facelift has minor signs of aging, minimal excess skin or loose skin, and does not require a more traditional facelift technique for extensive facial corrections. An awake facelift is not recommended for candidates with severe signs of aging, excess skin, and loose skin that requires longer facelift surgery time.

What is the average recovery associated with an awake facelift procedure?

The recovery time associated with an awake facelift only differs in the immediate post operative experience. As there is no general anesthesia, and only local anesthesia is used, patients can expect to feel better more quickly while still at the plastic surgery facility. Long term recovery time will remain unchanged with sutures/bandages being removed after one week, and limitations on activities persisting for up to six weeks.

What are the potential side effects of an awake facelift procedure?

Potential side effects from an awake facelift include discomfort during the procedure, bruising, swelling, bleeding, tightness, numbness, infection, nerve damage, and facial asymmetry.

What can someone expect from the results of an awake facelift procedure?

The results of an awake facelift will be dependent on the facelift surgery technique utilized. In most facelift plastic surgery procedures results last from five to 15 years. All facelift results are subject to the continued effects of aging, and other natural exposures.

What is the average cost of an awake facelift procedure?

An awake facelift procedure can cost anywhere from $3,500 to $8,000. The actual cost of an Awake Facelift is dependent upon location, board certified facial plastic surgeon, and length and involvement of the plastic surgery. Learn more in our complete guide to facelift cost.

Pros

Quicker recovery immediately after surgery

Cons

Not available for all faceliftsPatient can become restless during procedure Does not affect long term recovery times

Invasiveness Score

mildmoderatesevere
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Invasiveness is graded based on factors such as anesthesia practices, incisions, and recovery notes common to this procedure.

What to Expect


An awake facelift describes the type of anesthesia used during a facelift procedure and not the surgical technique. Here is a quick guide for what to expect before, during, and after an awake facelift.

The Takeaway


An awake facelift refers only to the anesthesia component of the facelift. In the awake facelift, local anesthesia rather than generalized anesthesia will allow the patient to remain conscious throughout the procedure thereby shortening the immediate recovery after leaving the operating room.
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Source List

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AEDIT uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Samad Rezaee Khiabanlo Innovative techniques for thread lifting of face and neck PubMed.gov; 2019-12-02
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