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Now that you have tried to make a realistic estimation of what kind of results you want, and have talked to your cosmetic dermatologist or plastic surgeon about what it is going to take to get there, what are the costs, number of procedures needed, and recovery times?

The number of treatments, and recovery times are fairly standard, although they do vary. They are based on the assumption that you require the average amount of treatment, and that you do not have a complication after the procedure. If you have a complication, the recovery times can be significantly longer. And especially with the surgical procedures like a face lift, the extensiveness of the procedure varies, depending on what your surgeon feels you need for best results. More extensive procedures, in general, require more recovery time.

The other thing about recovery time is that your definition of “recovery time” and your surgeon’s may be different. Do you mean until you don’t scare people or do you mean you can go to work or an event and no one will know you have had surgery? Will you need to wear your hair down to cover the scars? Until the scars fade (they never go 100% away)? Until all swelling is gone? I have found that it is not uncommon for the “recovery time” by the patient’s definition to be longer than they expected from their discussion with the surgeon. A good rule of thumb, although my surgical colleagues may not agree with me, is to take the estimation of “recovery time” that your surgeon gives you and double it. It is much better to be pleasantly surprised than to plan to be looking good when you see your ex at your son’s wedding and be disappointed. Final resolution of swelling and restoration of normal contours may take months. The important thing is to have a frank discussion with your surgeon and let him or her know what you think is recovery time, and go from there.

Costs vary quite a bit, based on the amount of treatment you need, your location and the physician performing the procedure. Sometimes other procedures are bundled into the price. All costs given are an average and based on data around the country.

My lawyer wants me to remind you that this is what I tell my patients. If you are not my patient, don’t rely on what I tell you, rely on what your doctor tells you.

So here goes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Procedure: Full Face-lift
  • Average cost: $11,000-20,000
  • Number of treatments: One
  • Recovery time: Bruising for up to 3 weeks. Most swelling resolved by one month, but may have some residual swelling for several months. Scars fade in 6-12 months.
  • Probable need for complimentary treatments: May require fat transfer or other filler to re-volumize. Fat transfer has pluses and minuses and is very technique and patient dependent. Results vary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Procedure: Lower Face Lift (a real one by a real Board Certified Plastic Surgeon)
  • Average cost: $6000-11,000
  • Number of treatments: One
  • Recovery time: Bruising for 1-3 weeks. Most of the swelling is resolved by 3 weeks, but may have some residual swelling for several months.
  • Probable need for complimentary treatments: May require filler to re-volumize.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Procedure: Eyelid Lift
  • Average cost: $2800-$4100 upper eyelids, $2800-$4100 lower eyelids
  • Number of treatments: One
  • Recovery time: Swelling and bruising for 1-3 weeks.
  • Probable need for complimentary treatments: Usually none

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Procedure: Brow Lift
  • Average cost: $3200-7200
  • Number of treatments: One
  • Recovery time: Varies depending on the patient and whether it was an open or endoscopic procedure. Swelling for 1-3 weeks and bruising for up to 3 weeks. Six months to a year for scars to fade.
  • Probable need for complimentary treatments: Usually none

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Procedure: Liposuction Neck
  • Average cost: $2500-5000
  • Number of treatments: One
  • Recovery time: Bruising and swelling for 1-3 weeks. Often advised to wear chin strap 24 hours a day for a week or more, then at night.
  • Probable need for complimentary treatments: May need to be performed with a surgical neck lift.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Procedure: Neck Lift with Liposuction
  • Average cost: $5800-8000
  • Number of treatments: One
  • Recovery time: Swelling and bruising usually lasting for 1-3 weeks but up to 6 weeks for complete resolution.
  • Probable need for complimentary treatments: Usually none

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Procedure: Non-invasive Tissue Tightening (Thermage)
  • Average cost: $2000-2800
  • Number of treatments: Usually one, may need a second treatment
  • Recovery time: None
  • Probable need for complimentary treatments: May need re-volumizing with Sculptra or Juvederm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Procedure: Liquid Lift with Sculptra
  • Average cost: $5000-6000
  • Number of treatments: 3 sessions, 2 vials each session for a total of 6 vials
  • Recovery time: Swelling for 1-3 days, bruising for 1- 3 weeks. Bruising has been dramatically reduced with newer techniques, with more recent patients having minimal bruising lasting less than a week.
  • Probable need for complimentary treatments: May need non-surgical tissue tightening with Thermage

As you can see costs and recovery time vary. You want to do everything that you can to be prepared for your actual recovery time in your situation and to reduce the risks of extending your recovery time or having a complication. I hope I don’t have to say “follow your surgeon’s instructions to the letter”. Good. Do it.

Next: the fine print about skin tightening—risks, side effects, and other unpleasant things

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