Facelift Under Local Anesthesia

Looking your best improves your self-confidence at any age. Facelifts offer the advantage of helping men and women retain a more youthful appearance in the latter half of life. Two drawbacks of most facelifts are the need for general anesthesia and an extensive recovery time. Dr. Kenrick Spence and Dr. Fernando Ovalle of Hillcrest Plastic Surgery in Orlando have perfected an innovative facelift under local anesthesia that offers many benefits for their patients seeking a more youthful appearance.

Facelifts can rejuvenate the lower face, midface and neck, reducing sagging and excess skin. Traditional facelifts are completed under general anesthesia, requiring a longer recovery time. In the past, only mini-facelifts could be completed under local anesthesia. Dr. Spence and Dr. Ovalle have devised new techniques to allow a complete, natural-appearing facelift under local anesthesia with a quicker recovery time and less discomfort for their patients.

Faster Recovery and Minimal Bruising

By using advanced techniques and only local anesthesia, Dr. Spence and Dr. Ovalle can help those desiring a facelift have a faster recovery after their procedure. Facelifts performed under local anesthesia at Hillcrest Plastic Surgery result in less nausea, bruising, swelling and other side effects. This is partly due to only using local anesthesia and avoiding opiate use after the procedure. The methods used do not require drains, reducing the discomfort during recovery.

While most facelift procedures require two or more weeks of recovery, our facelift under local anesthesia has a much faster recovery time. Patients experience less swelling and bruising, allowing them to return to work or their regular activities in as little as seven days. The quicker healing and recovery are highly advantageous benefits of our unique facelift option. Plus, there are fewer health or surgery risks with local anesthesia versus general anesthesia, making it a safe option for our patients.

To minimize bruising, Dr. Spence and Dr. Ovalle use intense pulsed light, or IPL, treatments after their local anesthesia facelifts. This technique of using laser therapy helps minimize the noticeable bruising and helps the skin repair after the facelift procedure. Dr. Spence and Dr. Ovalle also recommend a diet protocol during recovery that can help minimize post-operative swelling and bruising, which helps to speed the recovery and healing process.

Long Lasting Natural Results

Of course, no one wants a facelift that does not deliver the results they desire. With our local anesthesia facelifts, our patients get both the natural and long-lasting results paired with fewer side effects and a quicker recovery time. Dr. Spence and Dr. Ovalle use advanced plastic surgery techniques to create stunning results that never look fake or unnatural. Patients look 10 to 20 years younger without a pulled or stretched appearance.

The beautiful results from our local anesthesia facelifts are created using advanced techniques during the surgical process. Dr. Spence and Dr. Ovalle use progressive tension and cheek suspension sutures to create natural contouring of the cheeks and face. They also are a master at hiding incisions and scars with their scar management protocol. Their methods create stunning results that help his patients look like a younger version of themselves while hiding evidence of any surgical intervention. Not only are the results beautiful and natural, but the methods used are also designed to last and maintain a younger appearance for many years.


Although there are many branded facelifts for the purpose of marketing, "awake facelift" and "art facelift" are the descriptive terms used for this procedure without general anesthesia.

No, your facelift is performed just as if you had general anesthesia. As Dr. Spence often says, many facelifts give many results. The difference is that you avoid the risk of general anesthesia, which makes the procedure safer for patients at risk for general anesthesia and contributes to a shorter recovery time.

No, you will not feel cutting during the procedure. A special local anesthetic mixture, which also lessens the risk of bruising and swelling, is used. This local anesthesia stays around for a while, making you more comfortable throughout the night.

Dr. Spence is a firm believer in avoiding narcotic medications. Non-narcotic medications are started prior to surgery so that adequate levels are achieved after surgery, thereby limiting the amount of narcotics you need. Some narcotics lead to more swelling, nausea, vomiting, and fluid retention.

Yes, common procedures performed at the time of your facelift under local anesthesia include neck lift, brow lift, eyelid surgery, laser resurfacing, chemical peels, and fat grafting.

Dr. Spence has developed a reputation for being a very safe surgeon. There is a limit to how much local anesthesia a patient can tolerate in one sitting. The procedure has become so convenient for patients that they will often come back for a second stage. For example, a facelift with laser resurfacing stage one with a second stage of brow lift and eyelids. Please note that for patients who wish to complete the entire process at once, the convenience of general anesthesia is also offered.

Yes, the surgery is performed in a fully accredited in-office surgical suite. There are no shortcuts taken for awake facelifts.

Most patients are ready to go within 30 minutes as they are wide awake and pain-free. They may walk to the restroom and then to the car.

All patients are seen the next day after surgery. At 10 days, all sutures are removed. Out-of-town patients are allowed to leave the next day and conduct their follow-up virtually.

If you were planning a facelift under local anesthesia, it's important to let Dr. Spence and his team know this so they can be specially prepared. There are other forms of local anesthesia that can be used, or the procedure may be done under general anesthesia.

The majority of Dr. Spence’s facelift patients do not require drains, and for those that do, they are removed the day after surgery.

Yes, in general, facelifts under local anesthesia are more affordable as the cost of general anesthesia is avoided.

Yes, virtual consultations are available for facelifts under local anesthesia. One of our patient care consultants from our facelift care team is readily available to walk you through the process.

Besides your general health history, it's essential to provide information on any previous facial surgeries, Botox or filler injections within the past year, laser or chemical peel treatments, and any dermatologic conditions such as rosacea. This information will help evaluate your candidacy for an awake facelift at Hillcrest plastic surgery.

The following information is extremely important for your surgeon prior to an awake facelift at the time of consultation:

  1. Do you have a history of severe anxiety or panic attacks?
  2. Are you claustrophobic?
  3. Does Epinephrine make your heart race?
  4. Do you have a needle phobia?
  5. Does it take you longer to numb at the dentist, are you resistant to local anesthetics?

Your wake Facelift Surgeon requires the following special skills:

  1. A thorough understanding of local anesthetics and their administration
  2. Patience, the procedure cannot be rushed
  3. A calming demeanor, and the ability to effectively reassure and communicate with the patient
  4. A thorough understanding of the interaction between local anesthetics and oral medication
  5. A calming reassuring staff that is able to help the patient through their journey
  6. A thorough understanding of facial anatomy, experience, and skill to perform a good facelift under either Local or general anesthesia
  1. Patients who do not want to undergo general anesthesia and are an acceptable risk for surgery under Local anesthesia
  2. Patients who suffer from extreme nausea and vomiting after general anesthesia
  3. Patients who do not wish to relinquish control by being completely asleep
  4. For patients who wish to be awake, an alert immediately after surgery

Schedule Your Consultation

If you have been considering a facelift to enjoy a more youthful look, consider the benefits of visiting our team at Hillcrest Plastic Surgery. Dr. Spence and Dr. Ovalle are highly experienced, with an excellent reputation for incredible, natural results. Dr. Spence and Dr. Ovalle are some of the only facial plastic surgeons to offer a complete facelift under local anesthesia, with quick recovery, less discomfort, fewer side effects and gorgeous results.

If you are interested in learning more about our facelift under local anesthesia procedure, contact our office in Orlando to schedule a consultation. You could look years younger with only one week of recovery. Let us help begin the journey to a more youthful, confident you.

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