Why Should Dr. Zenn Perform My Facelift?

Dr. Michael Zenn is one of the most experienced board-certified plastic surgeons in the country. As the former Vice Chief of Duke University’s Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Division and Director of Duke’s Plastic Surgery Residency Training Program, he has trained hundreds of aspiring plastic surgeons, many of whom currently practice in the Raleigh area. While at Duke he was Co-Director of the Facial Reanimation Program which involved highly specialized advanced surgeries of the face. His background is somewhat unique for a plastic surgeon, as it includes a fellowship in head and neck surgery at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in NYC, following his Plastic Surgery Residency at Harvard. Patients benefit from his extensive knowledge of and experience with intricate facial anatomy and advanced surgical techniques. He has performed thousands of complex facial surgeries over his distinguished career.

Not all plastic surgeons in the Triangle perform facelift surgery. And of those who offer the procedure, most are not board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.


The effects of time, gravity, and sun exposure can significantly age your appearance. If you are frustrated that the way you look no longer reflects the way you feel, you may be a good candidate for a facelift.


What Is a Facelift?

Facelift surgery is a procedure that targets aesthetic concerns in the mid-to-lower face. This popular surgery eliminates excess skin and restores youthful fullness to facial features.  This procedure can reverse signs of aging, such as wrinkles, sagging checks (jowls), and skin inelasticity. Overall, this procedure will restore your youthful appearance. Patients often have facelift surgery in combination with brow lift, eyelid surgery, and/or fat grafting to get a more complete rejuvenation.


Benefits of a Zenn Facelift

A facelift represents the most involved and delicate procedure in plastic surgery. The face has critical structures like muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. Hence, an intimate knowledge of facial anatomy and experience operating on the face, are paramount.

Patients choose Dr. Zenn for their care because of his expertise, surgical skill, and artistic eye. His goal for facelift surgery is to provide a subtle, natural-looking result, while maintaining the highest level of patient safety.

To achieve this result Dr. Zenn will:
  • Lift and reposition the underlying facial support structures that have sagged over time
  • Avoid an unnatural-looking “windblown” effect by creating a proper foundation over which the skin can be gently re-draped—not tightly overstretched
  • Remove fat from unwanted areas of the patient’s body and use it to restore youthful fullness to facial features
  • Eliminate excess skin in the mid to lower facial regions

This powerful combination creates a smoother more youthful appearance and restores soft contours to the face as they existed at an earlier age. Elevating the supporting structures of the lower face also aids in giving patients a more defined neck and jawline. Keep in mind the procedure “facelift” is not uniform and is performed significantly differently by different surgeons.

Facelift Before and After Photos Patient 1

Before Facelift/After Facelift


Is a Facelift Right for You?

When you meet with Dr. Zenn for your initial consultation, he will learn about your aesthetic concerns and discuss different treatment options.

As part of your visit Dr. Zenn will:

  • Conduct a thorough examination of your face
  • Assess your skin and supporting tissue
  • If you are a good candidate for the procedure, Dr. Zenn will show you before and after photos of similar patients
  • Develop a personalized treatment plan to address your concerns

Contrary to popular belief, a facelift is not a full-face procedure. Instead, it specifically addresses sagging, lack of fullness, and excess skin in the mid-to-lower face. Depending on your desired improvements and specific areas of concern, Dr. Zenn may suggest a brow lift, eyelid lift, or other procedures along with or instead of a facelift.

Dr. Zenn will create your personal treatment plan based on his aesthetic evaluation, your desires, and the amount of downtime you have available for recovery. When you are ready to move forward, you will schedule your pre-operative appointment and surgery.


What to Expect During the Procedure…

For your safety and comfort, your facelift will take place in an accredited medical facility. Dr. Zenn will review your treatment plan with you on the day of your surgery and answer any questions you might have.

In a typical procedure Dr. Zenn will:

  • Lift and reposition the underlying support structure of the mid-to-lower face and remove any excess skin that remains
  • Carefully place incisions in the natural folds of the ears and at the hairline. This will help conceal and minimize scars
  • Use liposuction to remove body fat, which will serve as natural filler for facial features that have lost volume
  • Perform facelifts with general anesthesia at accredited facilities, not in an office OR. This is for maximum safety and to prevent/minimize complications

What Is the Recovery From a Facelift Like?

Facelift is an outpatient procedure and most patients will be able to leave the surgical facility an hour after surgery. For the first week after your procedure, you can expect to have some soreness, swelling, and bruising. Discomfort is minimal. You will want to rest at home, sleep on your back, and avoid wearing makeup while you heal. After a week, you should receive clearance to ease gently back into your normal routine. Patients can return to work two weeks after surgery. However, Dr. Zenn recommends his facelift patients do not return to full activity, including use of the gym, until four weeks after their facelift.

Although patients all heal at different rates, most can be back to work or public facing in two weeks. If you don’t mind people seeing you with bruising, that can be closer to one week. While final healing can take anywhere from two to six months, residual swelling during this time can look good, minimizing fine wrinkles. The entire process has remarkably little pain and most patients do not require pain medication for more than a day.


What Is the Cost?

At Zenn Plastic Surgery, we take the time to understand your desires for seeking a facelift. Then with his decades of experience, Dr. Zenn works with you to determine what procedures will get you there. Quoting one price is deceiving because that “facelift” can involve many possible components of skin removal, deep support, fat grafting to replace volume, eye rejuvenation, among other possibilities. The cost of a facelift really depends on how much will be done, how much time in the OR, and the associated surgical facility fees and anesthesia fees.

At Zenn Plastic Surgery, the quoted package price is all-inclusive. It covers the consultation, Pre-Op appointment, photos, scar gel, garments, all follow-up appointments, and facility and anesthesia fees.

In order to make this procedure more accessible, Dr. Zenn offers several convenient payment options and financing through Care Credit and Alphaeon Credit.


Facelift Q&A

  • What’s the BEST age for a Facelift?

    There is no best age for a facelift. The aging process is different for everyone. Some women benefit from facelift surgery in their 40’s, while others may not need to consider it until their 60’s or 70’s. Many factors such as sun damage, smoking, and most importantly genes play a role in determining when you will benefit most from cosmetic surgery.

    Those with bigger cheek bones, a more prominent chin and long slim necks stay “preserved” and youthful longer as they hide many of the aging changes that occur overtime. Thanks mom and dad! If you have flat cheeks, a small chin or a short neck, you may see jowls and extra neck skin as early as your 40’s.

    It is always best to address the signs of aging early before they are deeply established. In the case of facelifts, earlier is often better.

  • Do Facelifts Last Forever?

    Facelifts can help turn back the clock, but they don’t stop it ticking entirely.

    Older facelift techniques, which many surgeons still use, rely on pulling and tightening the skin. Unfortunately gravity will prevail and the skin will loosen and sag again.

    That said, Dr. Zenn’s cutting edge technique addresses the supporting structures of the face and not just the skin. Which delivers a longer lasting result.

  • What Will My Experience Be After the Surgery?

    Facelifts are an outpatient procedure, and patients are seen the next morning in the office. After that, patients are encouraged to stay home and rest for one week. You will be seen in the office post-op at week one and week two for suture removal.

    You will be able to reach Dr. Zenn or his nurse 24 hours a day for any questions that may arise post-surgery.

  • How Visible are Scars After a Facelift?

    Dr. Zenn is extremely skilled at the placement of his facelift incisions. He knows the exact locations to target to reduce both the appearance and size of scars. Dr. Zenn minimizes the appearance of scars by choosing discrete and inconspicuous places for the incisions such as the natural folds of the ears, the hairline, or under the chin. That way, scars end up in your natural creases or obscured by your hair. After the initial healing is complete, most patients can’t even tell where the incisions were. Best of all, the scars will continue to fade over time.


A facelift can give you back a smooth, youthful appearance by subtly revising signs of aging. Patients can contact Zenn Plastic Surgery online or by phone at (919) 480-3885 to schedule an initial consultation.