Facelift vs. BOTOX Injections and Fillers: Which Option Is Better? By Robert Singer on September 16, 2023

A woman's face viewed in profile as she touches her chin

Choosing between a facelift, BOTOX® Cosmetic injections, and dermal fillers for facial rejuvenation can feel overwhelming. There are so many options available to patients—each of which can achieve beautiful results.

Ultimately, none of these options is objectively "the best." However, there may be one option that is better suited to your needs and goals.

Let's break down the pros and cons of each facial rejuvenation option, helping you decide which treatment plan suits you best. When you’re ready to discuss your options further, set up a consultation with me and my team at Prime Plastic Surgery in La Jolla, CA.

What Are Cosmetic Injectables?

BOTOX® and dermal fillers are two types of cosmetic injectables.

About BOTOX Injections

Botulinum toxin is most recognizable by the term “BOTOX,” in reference to the first FDA-approved botulinum toxin brand. This treatment temporarily paralyzes muscles to reduce wrinkles caused by facial movements.

Botulinum toxin injectables are marketed under the names BOTOX and Dysport®.

About Dermal Filler Injections

Dermal fillers are a bit different. These injectables add volume, smooth wrinkles, and enhance contours using substances like hyaluronic acid.

Examples of dermal fillers include Restylane® and JUVÉDERM®.

 

BOTOX Smoothed Out This Patient's Deep Frown Lines

Before and after botox

 

What Is a Facelift?

A facelift, also known as a rhytidectomy, is a cosmetic surgical procedure that addresses signs of aging in the face.

The procedure involves tightening the skin and underlying muscles, and is often combined with liposuction to remove excess fat.

This procedure can help reduce sagging, wrinkles, and jowls, creating a smoother and more youthful appearance.

 

A Facelift Dramatically Enhanced This Patient's Appearance

Before and after facelift

 

The Benefits of Injectables

Injectables have risen in popularity for various reasons, including:

Preventative Care for Anti-Aging

BOTOX and other botulinum toxins that relax facial muscles have been used as a preventative cosmetic treatment to slow down the progression of wrinkles once they start appearing. Unlike a facelift that’s used to correct a cosmetic concern, injectables can be used to prevent it.

Non-Surgical Treatment without Incisions or Scars

Injectables are a non-surgical procedure. For patients who are nervous about taking the leap into surgical procedures, injectables are a great way to treat cosmetic concerns while avoiding “going under the knife.”

A Cost-Effective Alternative to Facial Plastic Surgery

Surgical procedures will naturally be more expensive than non-surgical treatments. The additional costs of anesthesia, overall surgical costs, and things like consultations and medication will add up to several thousand dollars.

Injectables are available at a fraction of the cost of facelifts because they’re a single-appointment treatment that doesn’t involve anesthesia or a lengthy procedure.

The Benefits of Facelifts

On the flip side, facelifts can have many benefits that patients choose over injectable treatments.

Long-Lasting Anti-Aging Results

While not permanent, the results of a facelift can last for several years. On average, you can expect the results of a facelift to last about 10 years. The results you achieve are relatively long-lasting compared to non-surgical treatments, like BOTOX and dermal fillers.

Addresses More Advanced Signs of Aging

Facelifts can effectively address deeper wrinkles and creases that injectables may not fully resolve. It’s also more effective for individuals with significant skin laxity and sagging, particularly in the lower face and neck areas.

Tackles Multiple Concerns Affecting Facial Appearance

A facelift can simultaneously address multiple areas, including the lower face, jawline, and parts of the midface, providing a more complete overall transformation. Do keep in mind that the neck, brow, and forehead will need to be treated separately.

Woman on her couch looking up information on her laptop

Potential Downsides of Injectables

Injectables can be versatile and offer numerous benefits, but like anything else, they come with some disadvantages.

  • Costs Can Add Up - According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, BOTOX injections and other similar brands of botulinum toxins last approximately 3-4 months before you’re due for another appointment. Similarly, dermal fillers last an average of 6-12 months. If you’re consistent with your cosmetic injections, the price can add up to the same cost as a facelift in the long term.
  • Less Dramatic Transformation - This can be an advantage and a disadvantage depending on what you want to achieve from your cosmetic procedure. Injectables can smooth out wrinkles, plump up features, and offer other improvements, but they may not achieve the same level of transformation as a surgical facelift, especially for individuals with more advanced signs of aging.
  • Multiple Treatments Are Required - For patients who want a one-time procedure, opt for a facelift over injectables. With injectables, you’ll have to attend multiple appointments each year to keep up with your results. These appointments are generally very short and easy to fit into a schedule, but important to note.

Potential Downsides of Facelifts

Before seriously considering a facelift procedure, take note of these disadvantages of the surgical procedure compared to injectable treatments:

  • Surgical Procedure - A facelift is a more invasive cosmetic treatment as it’s surgical. You will need to be in good health, which includes managing your blood sugar if you suffer from diabetes. Some patients might also be worried about a “botched” appearance or poor results from excessively tightened facial skin. I ensure natural-looking results by employing the SMAS (superficial muscular aponeurotic system) technique.
  • More Expensive - Facelifts involve surgical fees, anesthesia, and potential hospital or facility costs, making them more expensive upfront than injectables. However, since the procedure is long-lasting, facelifts consist of a one-time payment, rather than a payment every few months, like BOTOX and fillers.
  • Account for Recovery Time - While injectables are often referred to as a “lunchtime procedure” because the treatment is so fast and simple, the same cannot be said for facelifts. Facelifts typically require you to take at least a week off work and a month off of strenuous activities. In fact, it can take about a year for minor swelling, bruising, tightness, and numbness to go away completely. Note that this timeline can vary from patient to patient.

Dr. Singer in operating room

So Which Facial Rejuvenation Option Is Right for Me?

The best way to learn which treatment option is right for your needs and goals is to visit my office for a consultation. I can listen to your concerns, examine your skin, and evaluate your options accordingly.

No matter which cosmetic procedure you choose, our highly trained staff at Prime Plastic Surgery in La Jolla, CA, can help you achieve transformative results.

If you are unable to come to my practice in person, we'd be more than happy to set up a consultation through video conferencing. You can still get a high-quality evaluation and trusted advice from a skilled plastic surgeon like myself.

Want to Discuss Your Options?
Request a Consultation With Us

Want to enhance your appearance and treat signs of aging? We can guide you in the right direction based on your unique concerns, goals, budget, and more. Reach out to us today to take the first step towards looking your absolute best. We offer both in-person and online consultations for your convenience.

 


 

Robert Singer, MD

About Robert Singer, MD
Dr. Robert Singer is a board-certified plastic surgeon who has helped patients since 1976. A former president of the California Society of Plastic Surgeons, the San Diego Plastic Surgery Society, and the Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation, Dr. Singer remains an internationally recognized authority in the field.

Read Dr. Singer's Full Bio | All Posts by Robert Singer

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Dr. Robert Singer

Robert Singer, M.D.

Dr. Robert Singer is a board-certified plastic surgeon and former President and Chair of the Board of Trustees of The Aesthetic Society who gives his patients life-changing results. His technical mastery and artistic sensibilities have helped thousands of patients achieve natural-looking rejuvenation through facelifts and other complex procedures. Dr. Singer is a member of several prestigious organizations, including:

  • Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation, Founder and Prior President
  • QUAD A, Prior President
  • San Diego Plastic Surgery Society, Prior President
  • California Society of Plastic Surgeons, Prior President
  • Chosen by his peers as the inaugural visiting professor of California Society of Plastic Surgeons (CSPS) for all academic plastic surgery programs in California: UC Davis, UC San Diego, UC San Francisco, Loma Linda University, Stanford University, UC Irvine and USC
  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Prior Chairman of the Board of Trustees
  • International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, Member of numerous task forces including Patient Safety
  • American College of Surgeons 

To discover what Dr. Singer can do for you, request your consultation online or call his plastic surgery practice at (858) 455-0290.

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