Facelift & Necklift


Facelift (& Necklift) Procedure in Norwalk, Connecticut

Dr. Laurence Kirwan. is one of the most experienced Board Certified Plastic Surgeons in Norwalk, Connecticut, and in the entire country. He is a recognized international leader in Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. He offers a superior level of knowledge, care and understanding to help you achieve the youthful, bright and contoured look you desire.

Conveniently Located: Every patient is a VIP. For your facelift and necklift appointment, you will see Dr. Kirwan himself at every single appointment. Our Norwalk, CT location is conveniently located in between Manhattan, New York and New Haven, Connecticut. Patients regularly visit from across Connecticut (Stamford, Greenwich, Stratford, Fairfield, Westport, Bridgeport, Darien, New Canaan, Trumbull), New York ( Manhattan, NYC, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, New Rochelle, Port Chester, White Plains, Harrison), New Jersey and other neighboring cities/towns for their facelift and necklift surgery and other plastic surgery procedures. Our office is close to all of the New York Airports for patients who are coming from out-of-state or other countries.

What is a Facelift?

The gold-standard for facial rejuvenation. A facelift is a surgery that results in a rejuvenation of the lower face from the temples to the lower neck. It includes a neck lift (submental platysma-plasty) if required (see below) It does not routinely include a browlift, eyelift or any of the other adjunctive and additional procedures mentioned below, although all of these can and often are performed at the same time as a facelift. The terms ‘mini-facelift’, ‘lunchtime facelift’ or similar terms are often used by dermatologists and non-plastic-surgeons. They imply a lesser procedure with a quicker recovery and shorter scars. The first is certainly true and the results are usually ‘mini-mal’ and of ‘mini-mal’ duration. Dr. Kirwan does not perform a ‘mini-facelift’ except as a secondary procedure to correct skin relaxation after a standard face-lift which can occur in someone with extreme facial skin laxity and early relaxation. This may occur in someone who is having their first facelift in their late sixties or older. A facelift can correct midface sagging, marionette lines, jowls and a double chin.

What’s the best age to get a facelift?

There is no set age. The average patient has their first facelift between the age of 45 and 55 years of age. These are guidelines and the indications for a face-lift vary, depending on age and facial anatomy. A face-lift will create a more oval shaped face with wider and fuller cheek bones. Some patients age prematurely and vice versa. Aging can be more pronounced in the face or the neck. Reasons for premature aging include a multiple of causes. The most common ones are of course sun exposure and significant changes in weight (yo-yo weight change). Exercise anorexia is seen in compulsive runners who tend to lose fat and muscle mass in the face and upper body. Other causes for premature aging are Ehlers Danlos syndrome, cutis-laxa, smoking, alcohol and drug abuse and of course hereditary influences (good or bad genes). Individuals with a good bone structure such as a strong chin and jawline and prominent cheek bones as well as those with a higher BMI (heavier) tend to age better. Face-lifts address skin excess and muscle laxity rather than volume loss. However, a facelift will improve the cheek contour by lifting and restoring fat that has descended over time. Restoration of volume loss with fat will help to correct the effects of facial fat depletion. Fat injection is often combined with a face-lift. Other procedures that will also help to rejuvenate the aging face are:

Upper lip shortening, often with fat injection to the lips

Chin augmentation with a chin implant 

Endoscopic brow-lift
Upper and lower eyelid blepharoplasty

Chemical peels

Nasal rejuvenation

Facelift technique

Extra skin is removed. You can judge how much extra skin you have by pinching the skin in front your ear and in your neck under the chin in the midline.  As. Part of a facelift procedure fat may be suctioned from the jowls and under the chin. The underlying muscles known as the Superficial Musculo-Aponeurotic System (SMAS) in the face and the Platysma in the neck, are tightened. The cheek fat is elevated to a youthful level recreating the cheek highlights. The incisions are usually placed inside (retro-tragal) and behind the ear so that you can wear your hair back.  In men the incision is placed in the crease in front of the tragus (the cartilage that pokes out in front of the ear canal) of the ear to avoid bringing beard skin into the ear. The sideburn is left in its youthful position. If the muscles under the chin produce bands sometimes known as a turkey waddle, then these should also be corrected as part of the face-lift. The platysma bands should be visible ‘at rest’ if they are to be corrected. These bands are formed as a result of the splitting and descent of the inner edge of the flat platysma muscle in the neck.

Platysma bands under the chin corrected with a submental platysmaplasty.

They are visible even in a youthful neck if you lift your chin up a little and pull the angles of your mouth down. These muscle bands as well as fat under the chin affect the angle between the horizontal chin/jawline and the neck known as the cervico-mental angle (CMA). A CMA between 90° and 100° is considered well defined and is a hallmark of a youthful neck. The CMA is formed by the angle between the horizontal plane of the submental region and the vertical plane of the neck.

A CMA greater than 100° or even complete loss of the angle with a continuous straight, or a continuous concave or convex curve, can occur at any age but is one of the signs of aging in the neck. 

To recreate a pleasing youthful CMA often requires a combination of procedures. The most common one, performed as part of a facelift, is a “submental platysma-plasty’. This is performed through an incision under the chin (submental incision) and the platysma muscles on each side of the neck are sewn back together in the center. Fat under the chin may also be suctioned. Individuals with an obtuse CMA may also have a weak or a ‘retruded’ chin. The most prominent point of the chin on the side view is at the same level or behind the sublabial crease, the indentation below the lower. The lower teeth and jaw may also be set backwards. A chin implant, placed through a submental incision, will pull the muscles under the jaw forward and further sharpen the CMA.

59-year-old one year after endoscopic brow-lift, upper and lower blepharoplasty, facelift, submental platysma-plasty and chin augmentation with implant. Retro-tragal incision inside the ear.

As part of the removal of extra skin in the face, it is important not to raise the hairline in the sideburn area and behind the ear and also to avoid any distortion of the earlobe. All of the tension on the skin after skin removal should be at the top of the ear in the front and in scalp behind the ear. This is important to prevent visible and widened scars. All incisions around the ear are closed with buried dissolving stitches to avoid the need to remove stitches and stitch marks known as ‘rail-road’ tracks. After a successful surgery, you should be able to have short hair, style your hair according to your preference and be able to tie your backwards into a pony-tail without being self-conscious that any scars will be visible.

Aesthetic cosmetic surgery is often about maintenance, staying fresh and young looking with regular procedures. However, a face-lift is more about turning the clock back. Generally, sudden age changes, illness or weight loss can make us aware that we no longer look our best. Expressions such as “I am beginning to look like my mother” are common. You may feel you always look angry or tired or that your partner and you have a visual age disparity when other people see you together at social events. Or you may have the ‘Mommy-at-the-school-gates Syndrome’ when you are an older mother and have to wait there with all the other mothers who are 10-15 years younger. Alternatively, you may have lost a loved one or divorced and be wanting to start a new life. Special events such as a child’s wedding, a graduation and changing jobs in mid-life, can also precipitate a decision to have a facelift. Sometimes grandchildren will play with the waddle in your neck! These days, Selfies, Videoconferencing and Facetiming make us even more self-aware. Even after the Pandemic, it is likely that these forms of communication will continue to be more the norm than the exception.


Waiting for face-lifting surgery until you are 65 and then going in for the “works”, expecting to come out looking natural, is unrealistic. More natural results are achievable at a younger age such as between 45-55. But if you already had a facelift at 45 or 50, then you should look natural after a second facelift at 65. Those who ignore this advice and have their first facelift in their sixties may need a secondary facelift within a few years of the first surgery because of the poor elasticity of their skin. Since I have had a facelift, I can understand the decision-making process. It is hard to accept that you have finally reached the age when a bit of non-invasive skin-tightening and a syringe of Botox or filler will no longer take care of the problem. In fact, one way to decide if you are ready for a facelift is when these relatively simple non-invasive procedures fail to give you a result that you are happy with. Another decision pint is when the cost of your regular injectable and other treatments exceeds the cost of a facelift.


A facelift, fat injections and the other procedures mentioned above can reduce the need for non-invasive treatments which have to be repeated every three to six months.

Surgery takes four to six hours depending on the number of procedures performed at the same time. A facelift by itself usually takes three to four hours to perform.  Tissue glue (Vistaseal VISTASEAL™ Fibrin Sealant (Human) is used to prevent bleeding.

Drains are not routinely used unless a submental platysma-plasty is performed. Small soft drains are used that are removed after forty-eight hours. Dr. Kirwan sees all of his facelift patients the day after surgery, without exception.

Stitches are dissolvable and do not need to be removed. Staples are used in the scalp. These are removed between seven and ten days. The patient can go back to work at 10-14 days. Light exercise is permitted at two weeks (walking). Return to the gym at four weeks (light exercise: heart rate up to 100 pulses per minute). Full exercise is allowed at six weeks (heart rate up to 140). Inverted positions including ‘downward-dogs’ are prohibited for 8 weeks. It is important not to lift heavy bags or do household work such as making beds. For the first three weeks after surgery avoid putting your head down below your heart (squat instead). Showers should be tepid. For the first two weeks, wash your hair with baby shampoo and use your fingers only to wash and rinse. No combs or brushes! Be extra gentle around the ears. Avoid wearing clothes such as T-shirts and a hoodie that you have to put over your head. This can pull the stitches apart around your ear lobes, where you may not have normal feeling in the skin. The skin in your cheeks and neck will feel numb. This is normal and will improve over several months. Wear shirts or button-down blouses and front zippered or buttoned jackets. Hoods, (on jackets) scarfs and sunglasses are good camouflage. That’s what the celebs do! Don’t drive for at least one week. Make sure that you can turn your head safely to see when you drive. Turn your head together with your shoulders, rather like C-3PO of Star Wars fame. Make sure you can wear a seat belt comfortably! It may chafe on your neck.

The most frequent related procedures are blepharoplasty (eyelift) and an endoscopic browlift. Other procedures are a chin implant and upper lip shortening as well as injections with filler or fat. A nasal tip-plasty can reduce a bulbous tip and elevate the tip of the nose creating a more youthful appearance.

Adjuncts to Facial Rejuvenation

Facial aging results in loss of cheek and chin projection due to descent of the fat pads as well as loss of volume in the fat compartments of the face. Loss of facial fat is more pronounced after significant weight loss, illness and in habitual joggers (exercise anorexics). 


A retruded chin can one part of the cause of an obtuse CMA angle, contributing to a loss of neck definition. Using a chin implant in these cases can help to redefine the CMA.


Chin implants are also corrective when the chin fat loses volume and/or slides downwards over the edge of the jaw line resulting in a flat contour to the front of the chin and a crease underneath known as the ‘witch’s chin deformity’. Fat injection is an alternative to a chin implant. Fat injections can also be used in other parts of the face such as the lips, cheeks and temporal areas.


Another sign of aging is enlargement of the cartilages in the tip of the nose and often a dropping of the nasal tip, creating a hooked appearance. As the tip descends, the bridge of the nose appears more prominent. Small refinements of can make a big difference. The tip cartilages can be reduced, and the tip can be elevated. At the same time, the bridge of the nose can be shaved without needing to break the nasal bones. The effect is subtle but overall a definite boost to the facial appearance.

The pointy nose, long upper lip and sagging chin of the mature face. This was corrected with a subtle rhinoplasty, elevation of the tip of the nose and a chin implant, combined with a facelift.

What questions should I ask my plastic surgeon about facelift surgery?

Use this checklist during your facelift consultation:
  • Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
  • Were you specifically trained in the field of plastic surgery?
  • How many years of plastic surgery training have you had?
  • Do you have hospital privileges to perform this procedure? If so, at which hospitals?
  • Is the office-based surgical facility accredited by a nationally-or state-recognized accrediting agency?
  • Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
  • What will be expected of me to get the best results?
  • Where and how will you perform my procedure
  • What surgical technique is recommended for me
  • How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
  • What are the risks and complications associated with a facelift?
  • How are complications handled?
  • How can I expect my face to look over time?
  • What are my options if I am dissatisfied with the cosmetic outcome of my facelift?
  • Do you have before-and-after photos I can look at for this procedure and what results are reasonable for me?

10 Mott Avenue, Suite 1A
Norwalk, CT 06850

Phone: (203) 838-8844
eFax: (203) 774-1177
Email: info@drkirwan.com

Plastic Surgery Practice in Norwalk CT with clients from CT, NY, NJ – Manhattan, Northern New Jersey towns, surrounding areas of Greenwich, New Canaan, Stamford, Westport, Darien, Wilton, Weston, Easton, Fairfield, Bridgeport, Trumbull, Ridgefield, Danbury, Monroe, Milford, Bedford, Armonk, Mt Kisco, Bedford Hills, Rye, Harrison, New Haven, Mamaroneck, Larchmont, White Plains, Scarsdale, Westchester County, Fairfield County. New York and from around the world.

*Disclaimer: results are not guaranteed, may not be permanent, and can vary per individual. Before and after photographs of surgical results are of procedures performed solely by Dr. Kirwan.  Some images on this web site are of models, not actual patients. Please see our full disclaimer.

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