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What is a Facelift?

Please note: Dr. Mary Gingrass only performs Facelift procedures on existing patients. 

Gravity, sun exposure, stress, and genetic factors contribute to creases formed between the nose and mouth, a slack jawline, and loose skin around the neck. At some point in your life, you may look in the mirror or see a photograph of yourself and decide that the face that you see does not reflect the way you feel about yourself.

Because no two patients age complaints are the same, nor are their expectations the same, we now offer procedures tailored to the individual patient’s needs and desires.

For those wishing a mild to moderate improvement in about an hour under local anesthesia, we offer our petite or the “La Petite Lift”.  For those who desire and need more correction a short scar facelift under general anesthesia such as the minimal access, cranial suspension lift may be best.  Finally, we offer a full facelift under general anesthesia with a full scar for those desiring the most change and improvement.

Facial plastic surgery will not stop the aging process, but it will slow it down, tightening underlying muscles, removing excess deposits of fat, and adjusting facial and neck skin. Treatment can be performed alone, or combined with procedures such as blepharoplasty, brow lift, or other facial rejuvenation procedures.

Most patients at our Nashville facelift patients are between the ages of 40 and 60, though a facial plastic surgeon can successfully operate on patients in their 70s and 80s as well. Good candidates are healthy individuals with loose skin, wrinkles, excess fatty tissue in the neck, deep wrinkles in the cheeks, or sagging skin in the jowl area.

La Petite Lift

You asked and we listened.  We now offer the minilift you have been waiting for; La Petite Lift.  We recognize there are patients who, for a variety of reasons, do not want comprehensive surgery.  Whether you are beyond what fillers and Botox® can do but are not ready for the “real deal” or you are concerned with the downtime associated with facelift surgeries, this less invasive lift may be for you. La Petite is completed under full monitoring in a licensed facility, but only local anesthesia is required. Costs and associates risks for this procedure are therefore lower than traditional facial procedures.

While Dr. Gingrass or Dr. Haws will need to see you to determine whether or not you are a candidate for this procedure, it is a great option to bridge the gap between fillers and the full lift.

Short Scar Lift

 One of the most often used short scar lifts is the Minimal Access Cranial Suspension or MACS lift.  The scar is shorter with a lift directed more “up” rather than “back.”  This surgery is perfect for those with moderate facial aging but not a great deal of excess skin.  A shorter scar is easier to hide with less distortion of the hairline.  While this surgery is done under general anesthesia, most patients are able to go home that night as there is less skin undermining and less concern about hematoma formation.

While recovery time for the short scar lift is greater than that of the La Petite, it is significantly shorter than that of a full facelift.

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Full Facelift Surgery

At our plastic surgery practice in Nashville, Tennessee, a facelift can be provided on an outpatient basis. The actual procedure takes several hours or sometimes longer if you are combining facial rejuvenation procedures. For more extensive surgeries, two separate sessions may be necessary. There are many variations to the facelift procedure. Your hairline and your individual anatomy will be examined to determine where incisions can be most discreetly placed.

Your surgeon (Dr. Gingrass or Dr. Haws) will begin incisions above the hairline around the temples, extending along the contour of the ear, and continuing behind the earlobe. If neck work is required, a small incision may be placed under the chin. In general, the skin is separated from the fat and muscle and excess fat may be removed from the chin and neck area. The underlying membrane and loose muscle tissue are then tightened, and the skin is pulled back into place. The facelift surgeon will remove any excess skin tissue.

After All Facelift Surgery

After the surgery is complete, a small tube may be placed behind your ear in order to remove excess fluids. Your head may also be loosely wrapped in bandages to minimize swelling and post-surgical bruising. Pain following a facelift is often minimal. Numbness is normal and will fade after a few weeks.

If our surgeon has placed a fluid drainage tube, the tube will be removed one day after the surgery. Any bandages are usually removed the morning after the facelift. Your face will initially look puffy, bruised, and pale but will return to normal in a few weeks. Stitches will be removed approximately five days after; sutures along your hairline may need additional time to heal.

Meet the Doctors

Learn about our Board-Certified plastic surgeons and why you should choose two RealSelf 500 award winners for your next procedure!

Meet the Doctors

Learn about our Board-Certified plastic surgeons and why you should choose two RealSelf 500 award winners for your next procedure!


After visiting our Nashville, Tennessee practice for a facelift, you should not engage in any strenuous activity for at least a week after surgery. You must be especially gentle with your hair, hairline, and face. Your skin will be numb and tender and may not respond to stimuli as it normally did. Make sure you get plenty of rest so that you heal quickly.

After a facelift, bruising may persist for two to three weeks and you may experience fatigue rather easily. By the third week, you should look and feel much better. Most patients return to work 10 days to two weeks after their surgery.

Potential Risks

Although usually minor and infrequent, complications that can occur following a facelift include hematoma (a collection of blood under the skin that must be removed), temporary or very rarely permanent injury to the nerves that control facial muscles, infection, and negative reactions to the anesthesia. Poor skin healing or abnormal scarring are also potential risks after surgery; it is seven times more likely in smokers compared to non-smokers.