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.
- avg. recovery
About the Procedure
During this type of procedure, patients will undergo a facelift while still technically awake. The operation will still reduce signs of aging by flattening folds of skin between the cheek and upper lip and treating the sagging of the cheek and the jowl, however the patient will not receive general anesthesia. As opposed to a traditional SMAS facelift, a surgeon will only utilize tumescent anesthesia and an oral or IV sedative. Some patients will request this method as they are unwilling or unable to be administered general anesthesia. The doctor will take into consideration factors such as the extent of the procedure, the length of time required to complete the surgery, and the patient’s preferences when deciding if a patient is eligible for this facelift technique. A facelift can be executed with complete safety utilizing local anesthesia while the patient remains completely awake. To begin this process, first tumescent fluid is administered to anesthetize the target area. Tumescent fluid is a compound comprised of saline, numbing medications such as lidocaine, and epinephrine. Epinephrine, also known simply as adrenaline, is incorporated to constrict the blood vessels and in effect, reducing bleeding during the procedure. Lidocaine is used to numb the operating area completely. Once the patient is sufficiently numbed, the facelift operation is performed dependent on the particular surgery. This procedure costs significantly less than other facelift procedures, ranging in price from $3,500-$8,000.
The goal of an awake facelift is to offer patients an alternative to general anesthesia during a facelift 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.
- Stop taking blood thinning medications for 2 weeks
- Stop smoking 4 weeks before and after surgery
- No alcohol 2 days prior
- Do not eat or drink for at least 6 hours before
- Tumescent fluid is administered to anesthetize the target area
- Lidocaine is used to numb the operating area completely
- Once the patient is sufficiently numbed, the facelift operation is performed
Recovery immediately after an awake facelift will be quicker than if general anesthesia was used because the side effects from general anesthesia will not be present. However, the recovery process following a facelift is a direct result of the surgical technique used, not the anesthesia. The more and longer the incisions, the deeper into the tissues the surgeon reaches and the more areas of the face addressed, the longer the recovery.
The ideal candidate for an awake facelift has minor signs of aging, minimal excess skin, and does not require extensive facial correction.
Not Recommended For
An awake facelift is not recommended for candidates with severe signs of aging and excess skin that requires more surgical time. The longer the surgery the higher the likelihood the patient will become restless, compromising the patient's comfort.
Side effects from an awake facelift may include discomfort during the procedure, infection, bleeding, swelling, bruising, facial nerve damage, and facial asymmetry.