Skip to main content
Department of Otolaryngology

Department of Otolaryngology

Facelift (Rhytidectomy)

The facelift procedure can dramatically improve sagging skin of the cheek, jowls, and neck. It especially tightens the neckline and decreases the deep folds around the mouth. Dr. Sykes is one of a few surgeons in the area performing the deep-plane facelift; a technique designed to provide significant tightening of the facial skin, while maintaining a natural appearance. The facelift procedure can be performed alone, or in conjunction with other aesthetic procedures, such as eyelid surgery or nasal reshaping.

The Surgery

An incision in the area of the temple hair, just above the front the ear, and then continues around the lobe, circling the ear before returning to the point of origin in the scalp (actual placement of incisions will vary from patient to patient). The skin is raised outward, the underlying muscle and connecting tissue is repositioned and tightened. Some fat may be removed, as well as excess skin. For men, the incision is aligned to accommodate the natural beard lines. In all cases, the incision is placed where it will fall in a natural crease of the skin for camouflage. After trimming the excess skin, the incision is closed with fine sutures and/or metal clips, which permit surgery without shaving hair from the incision line. Depending on the extent of the surgery, the process can take from two to four hours.  When the procedure is performed with a combination of mild sedatives, local anesthesia, and a mild intravenous anesthesia, the patient will experience little discomfort. Sometimes a general anesthesia is used for facelifts. Following the surgery, a dressing will be applied to protect the entire area where the incisions have been made.

Post Surgery

Even though most patients experience very little pain after surgery, medication will still be prescribed. Some degree of swelling and bruising is unavoidable, and you will be instructed on the use of cold compresses to keep the swelling to a minimum. Any dressing will be removed within one to three days. You will be instructed to keep your head elevated when lying down, to avoid as much activity as possible, and to report any undue discomfort. Though there are few risks in facelift surgery and thousands are preformed every year, some risk exists in any surgery.

All sutures and staples are usually removed 5 to 10 days following surgery.

Recovery usually takes two to three weeks, though many patients go back to work in two weeks. Scars are usually not noticeable after enough time has passed for them to mature. In any case, they are easily disguised in natural skin creases, by the hair, or in persistent cases, by makeup until total healing has occurred. Bear in mind that the aging process continues after surgery and that some relaxation of tissues will occur over the first few weeks.

Insurance does not generally cover surgery that is done purely for cosmetic reasons.


Jonathan Sykes, M.D., F.A.C.S. is the Director of Facial Plastic Surgery at UC Davis Health System and is a nationally recognized educator and leader in minimally invasive esthetic and laser surgery. He has performed over 10,000 surgical procedures, is board-certified in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and has published over 100 articles. He believes that the goal of esthetic surgery is to create balanced proportion of all facial features. Surgery should provide improvement without an operated look.

Travis Tollefson, M.D., F.A.C.S.  is a board certified surgeon, who along with Jonathan Sykes enjoys traveling with surgical teams that perform reconstructive surgery for underprivileged children in foreign countries. Both surgeons specialize in facial rejuvenation including nasal reshaping (rhinoplasty), browlifts, facelifts, eyelid rejuvenation, laser surgery, and hair restoration. They are proud to offer the latest non-surgical procedures including Botox and Restylane and a superb team of skin-care specialists trained to help patients heal quickly from surgery


Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery

Mailing address:

2521 Stockton Blvd., Suite 5200
Sacramento, CA 95817

Cleft Lip/Palate:

(916) 734-2452

Audiology & Speech Appointments:

(916) 734-5400

Facial Plastic Surgery Appointments:

(916) 734-2347

Dental Appointments:

(916) 734-5429

Reflux Clinic Appointments:

(916) 734-4076

Clinic Appointments:

(916) 734-5400