Face & Neck Lift Recovery

Face and neck lift recovery is an essential aspect of the surgical process that patients need to be well-informed about. Understanding what to expect during the recovery period can help you plan accordingly and ensure a smooth healing process. Though facelifts and neck lifts are considered to be minimally invasive and don’t leave significant scarring, there is quite a lot of modification that is done to the SMAS (superficial musculoaponeurotic system), a layer of connective tissue beneath the skin. Other subcutaneous ligaments, muscles, and small deposits of fat may be adjusted as well. 

Dr. Michael J. Yoo and his team are committed to providing comprehensive care throughout your face and neck lift recovery journey. Following their expert guidance, along with adhering to your personalized post-operative instructions, will help you achieve the best possible outcome. Dr. Yoo will walk you through everything to expect and a basic timeline of what your healing will look like. 

To learn more or schedule a consultation, contact his practices in Newport Beach at (949) 861-3340 or Beverly Hills at (424) 209-9925. For your convenience, you may also request an appointment or ask us any questions by filling out the contact form online. We also offer a virtual consultation option for patients who are out of town. A staff member will respond to you promptly. 

Before and After Photos

About the Bilamellar SMAS Facelift 

Though there are many variations of the facelift, Dr. Yoo performs bilamellar SMAS facelifts, also called High SMAS facelifts. It was originally developed by Dr. Tord Skoog in the 1980s as a variation of his original technique. It involves the manipulation of the SMAS layer in specific ways to produce results around the upper cheeks, eyes, and areas of the mid-face. During this procedure, the SMAS layer is separated from the skin to allow for more comprehensive changes and customization of the procedure; they are tightened in slightly different directions, or “vectors”. (1) 

Research has shown that this type of facelift is even safe enough to be performed under local anesthesia without sedation, but aesthetic results more closely match patients’ expectations when it is performed under general anesthesia. (2) For this reason, Dr. Yoo performs his bilamellar facelifts utilizing general anesthesia. Like other facelifts, it requires incisions along the outer creases of the ear that travel behind the hairline, but Dr. Yoo makes these incisions slightly higher than usual to modify the mid-face more effectively. With the help of Dr. Yoo’s expertise and knowledge of recovery, patients can experience: 

  • Firmer, more youthful-looking skin 
  • Reduction of “crow’s feet” around the eyes 
  • Elimination of excess lax skin 
  • A more contoured jawline that doesn’t exhibit jowling
  • A subtly lifted appearance around the eyes and cheeks 

Can Facelifts Smooth Out Finer Wrinkles? 

Facelifts provide significant results in terms of reducing the appearance of lax skin, but the tightening and lifting surgical interventions cannot erase finer wrinkles. However, you can pair your facelift with a cosmetic treatment that heals and provides more volume, like dermal fillers. These biodegradable, biocompatible, FDA-approved fillers can complete your desired look after your facelift recovery. 

About the Necklift 

Dr. Yoo may perform a neck lift on its own or in conjunction with a facelift. If you would like a smoother-looking neck or want to correct “turkey neck” that can result from significant weight loss or aging, consider adding a neck lift to complement your facelift. Many neck lifts are performed by utilizing one submental incision, a small incision right below the chin. With this technique, Dr. Yoo can remove excess fat with liposuction, tighten the platysma (neck muscle), and correct hanging skin to promote a tauter appearance. He can also remove unwanted vertical banding that protrudes from the neck. (3) With a full neck lift, a submental incision is paired with postauricular incisions near the top base of each ear, allowing for a more comprehensive treatment that fixes more severe signs of aging. 

Personal Consultation

During your consultation, Dr. Yoo will evaluate your individual case, taking into account factors such as your medical history, specific concerns, and desired outcomes. By examining the condition of your skin, muscles, and underlying structures, he will be able to determine if a facelift and/or neck lift are appropriate procedures for you. Most importantly, he will outline a recovery plan and what to expect on a day-to-day basis as you heal. Dr. Yoo and his team of medical professionals understand that recovery is just as important as the procedure itself and will be by your side every step of the way. To learn more about the recovery process or to schedule a consultation, please contact the office closest to you: (949) 861-3340 (Newport Beach, CA) or (424) 209-9925 (Beverly Hills, CA). You can also reach out to us via our contact form, where you can voice your concerns or request an appointment. 

Recovery After a Facelift 

After a facelift, you should expect to experience some bruising, tightness, and swelling for the first 7 days of recovery. After 2 weeks, you will look presentable, and any signs that you had a procedure done will not be noticeable. From your time in the recovery room to your first social outing with your rejuvenated appearance, there are quite a few steps that encourage quality results and healing. After your procedure is finished, Dr. Yoo will closely monitor your blood pressure and your level of discomfort. Once he deems it safe enough for you to return home, you will need to contact a friend or family member to drive you. The effects of general anesthesia can remain for around 24 hours, making it dangerous for you to drive yourself. Once at home, you should follow these recovery instructions:

  • Remember to take your medications as prescribed by Dr. Yoo. If you feel that you could benefit more from over-the-counter medications, please ask him which medications are safe to take. 
  • Rest as much as possible during the first week. 
  • Attend all follow-up appointments with Dr. Yoo. He will remove surgical dressings and any drains, if any, on the day after the procedure. 
  • After your initial surgical bandages are removed, wear your post-surgical chin strap as directed. 
  • Wait to shower until it is safe to do so. Typically, patients are able to resume gently washing their hair on day 3 of recovery. 
  • Use mild shampoo on your hair that won’t irritate your incisions. 
  • Utilize ice during the first few days. Placing an ice pack for 10 minutes at a time, with breaks in between, will help mitigate discomfort and swelling. 
  • Keep your head elevated while you rest; this will encourage the fluid buildup to leave your facial tissues at a faster rate. 
  • You will be able to resume sedentary office work 1-week post-surgery but do not overexert yourself or lift anything heavy. 
  • Dr. Yoo will remove your sutures about 7 to 10 days after your procedure. 
  • You should maintain a low-sodium diet for 4 weeks to further reduce swelling.  
  • Only resume exercise 4 or more weeks post-operatively. 
  • For the next 3 to 4 months, take extra precautions to avoid the sun or use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more. This will also help you maintain better results for many years to come. 
  • Consult Dr. Yoo on applying topical treatments to your incisions that will minimize scarring. 

Recovery After a Neck Lift 

After a neck lift, patients experience many of the same post-surgery signs and symptoms- swelling and bruising are the most common. Depending on how extensive your neck lift is and your own rate of healing, it may take 1 to 2 weeks to recover. Some patients are able to take 1 week off of work and use makeup and/or clothing to mask residual swelling. You should follow all of the same recovery steps that are outlined for facelifts. However, if you only opt for a neck lift, you will only need to take 2 weeks off before you can resume your workout routine.

Cost of a Facelift and Neck Lift in Newport Beach, CA 

The cost of a facelift or neck lift procedure at our practice, led by renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Yoo, will be determined based on your unique treatment plan. Factors such as the specific techniques employed, the type of anesthesia used, and the extent of surgery required will all play a role in determining the cost. 

During your personal consultation, Dr. Yoo will provide you with an accurate estimate for the price of your procedure. Please get in touch with a member of Dr. Yoo’s team by calling our location in Newport Beach, CA at (949) 861-3340 or Beverly Hills, CA at (424) 209-9925. You may also want to consider a virtual consultation if that is the most convenient for you. 

If you’re still undecided on which procedure will benefit you the most, please take a look through our blog to get more information on our various options. 


How long do the results of a facelift last? 

SMAS facelifts, on average, last about 12 years. After this amount of time, patients will begin to notice more signs of aging, but they will see a slower decline as a result of the procedure. 

Do facelifts and neck lifts cause scarring? 

Though these procedures cause scarring, the incisions are very short and well-hidden. Facelift incisions are discreetly placed around the ear and behind the hairline, and submental neck lift incisions are hidden beneath the chin. Over the course of a year, these small scars will fade significantly. You can speed up their healing by applying scar cream or silicone gel at the appropriate point in recovery. 

How large are the incisions for facelifts and neck lifts? 

Both high SMAS facelift incisions and submental neck lift incisions are about 3 to 4 cm long. 


  1. Mani M. Total Composite Flap Facelift and the Deep-Plane Transition Zone: A Critical Consideration in SMAS-Release Midface Lifting. Aesthetic Surgery Journal. 2016;36(5):533-545. doi:https://doi.org/10.1093/asj/sjv250 
  2. Ors S. High Superficial Musculoaponeurotic System Lamellar Facelift Under Local Anesthesia. Journal of Craniofacial Surgery. 2021;Publish Ahead of Print. doi:https://doi.org/10.1097/scs.0000000000007466 
  3. Kaplan JL. The Single Incision Minimally Invasive (SIMI) Neck Lift. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery – Global Open. 2019;7(5):e2208. doi:https://doi.org/10.1097/gox.0000000000002208