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Ponytail Facelift

Your facial skin loses elasticity and volume as you age, often causing sagging around the jawline and the formation of jowls. The Ponytail facelift is a minimally invasive type of facelift that aims to address these concerns to achieve a youthful facial appearance. Houston facial plastic surgeon Dr. Chaowen Wu and her team at Revel You Facial Plastic Surgery have extensive experience helping both male and female patients revamp their facial aesthetics with ponytail facelift.

Dr. Chaowen Wu is a recognized leader in ponytail facelift procedures in Houston, Texas. As a board-certified practitioner, she is committed to delivering the best possible outcome while ensuring the patient’s safety. Dr. Wu understands that every patient has unique aesthetic goals, and she takes the time to develop a personalized treatment plan to achieve your desired outcome.

Facelift Gallery (Before & After Photos)

Commanding Results for the Discerning Professional

Deep Plane Facelift, Deep Neck Lift, Upper Blepharoplasty

Age: 40-45

deep plane facelift deep neck lift before and after
deep plane facelift deep neck lift before and after

Deep Plane Facelift, Deep Neck Lift, Upper Blepharoplasty

Age: 50-55

Deep Plane Facelift, Deep Neck Lift

Age: 65-70

What is a Ponytail Facelift?

A Ponytail facelift is a facial cosmetic surgery that addresses early signs of aging in the mid-face and lower face. It aims to lift and tighten sagging skin, smooth out wrinkles and fine lines, and restore a more youthful facial contour. The technique is called a “Ponytail facelift” because the incisions are strategically placed within the hairline, allowing patients to wear their hair in a ponytail without visible scars. This is a significant advantage over traditional facelifts, which often involve longer incisions around the ears.

Who is the Ideal Candidate for a Ponytail Facelift?

A ponytail facelift is an excellent procedure choice to address early signs of aging and restore a youthful mid-face and lower-face appearance. You may be an ideal candidate for this facial plastic surgery technique if you:

  • Have mild to moderate signs of aging in the mid and lower face areas (e.g. sagging skin, jowls, and wrinkles).
  • Have good skin elasticity
  • Have good overall health without any underlying medical conditions that could increase the risk of complications
  • Have realistic expectations about the outcome of this facelift technique.

A ponytail facelift may not be the ideal procedure choice for individuals with significant skin laxity or severe facial aging. Dr. Wu may, in turn, recommend a better-suited facelift technique such as the deep plane facelift to achieve the desired treatment outcome.

Advantages of the Ponytail Facelift

As an increasingly popular type of facelift, the ponytail technique offers numerous benefits compared to standard facelift procedures:

  • Less Invasive – this type of facelift uses smaller incisions hidden within the hairline. This results in minimal scarring compared to standard facelifts. It also translates to reduced trauma to the surrounding tissues, and thus less bruising, swelling, and discomfort during recovery.
  • Shorter Recovery Time—the ponytail facelift typically involves a shorter recovery period than traditional facelifts. Most patients may resume their daily activities within a week, and complete healing takes just a few weeks.
  • Natural-Looking Results – this treatment focuses on lifting and repositioning underlying facial tissues to result in a more natural-looking outcome. It avoids the “pulled” or “windswept” appearance sometimes associated with more extensive facelifts.
  • Minimal Disruption to Hairline – incisions are strategically placed within the hairline. This allows patients to wear their hair in a ponytail without visible scars, and is a notable advantage for individuals who prefer to keep their hair pulled back.
  • Address Early Signs of Aging – helps get rid of early signs of aging in the mid-face and lower face (sagging skin, jowls, and wrinkles).
  • High Patient Satisfaction – many of Dr. Wu’s ponytail facelift patients report high levels of satisfaction with the results.


Dr. Wu’s calm nature and careful precision as a plastic surgeon have made her a favorite among patients. As part of your consultation, Dr. Wu takes the time to thoroughly assess your unique experiences and needs. The decision to have a facial procedure is one of the most personal decisions you will make, so you need a plan that includes just the right level of correction to meet your facial rejuvenation goals.

Dr. Wu is a champion of healthy beauty. In order to naturally enhance your appearance, Dr. Wu does not promote the use of synthetic injectable fillers or muscle paralyzing toxins. You can rest assured knowing that your plastic surgeon is committed to helping you maintain your long-term natural facial health and beauty.

Patient Testimonials

  • Amazing doctor! Dr. Wu actually was honest enough to suggest an alternative procedure which cost 1/3 the price of procedure i went to the consultation for. I had surgery yesterday... read more

    April Sanders Avatar April Sanders

    Beautiful results. Very friendly attentive staff.

    Katie Garcia Avatar Katie Garcia
  • Dr. Wu… the best of the best!

    Ida De La Garza Avatar Ida De La Garza

    Dr. Wu and her staff are excellent. My face and neck lift is perfect. If anyone is considering undergoing any of the procedures she offers, make an appointment!... read more

    Renee Harrington Avatar Renee Harrington
  • Happy new me 2024! I would like to thank and recommend Dr. Wu and the Revel You. In the fall of 2023, underwent a lower neck and face lift.... read more

    Susan Ponce Avatar Susan Ponce

    After an exhaustive search for a plastic surgeon with expertise in deep place facelift I decided to schedule an initial consultation with Dr Wu from Revel You Plastic Surgery in... read more

    Maria Camarena Avatar Maria Camarena
  • Posting this review on behalf of my wife: "After researching many plastic surgeons who specialize in deep plane facelifts, as well as learning more about the procedure itself, I... read more

    Lone Ranger Avatar Lone Ranger

    I had the best experience at Revel You! Joanna has been so helpful, and supportive through the entire process. I went to consultations at several local facilities before deciding to... read more

    Gabrielle Escamilla Avatar Gabrielle Escamilla
  • Dr Wu is absolutely an amazing meticulous facial surgeon. I came to her after a failed neck lift that i had done with a “triple board certified” plastic surgeon.... read more

    Kmm Avatar Kmm

    Dr Wu exceeded all of my expectations! I was a bit skeptical about having surgery on my neck and face-especially someone who I didn't know. But I was referred to... read more

    Marianne Cash Avatar Marianne Cash

How is a Ponytail Facelift Performed?

The specific techniques and approach that Dr. Wu uses during your ponytail facelift will vary based on your individual needs. In some cases, she may opt to use endoscopic techniques for a less invasive approach. In some other cases, the surgeon may combine the ponytail facelift with other procedures, such as a neck lift or fat grafting, for a more comprehensive effect. The surgery itself usually takes 2 hours to complete and follows the following steps:

  • Anesthesia – Dr. Wu typically performs this type of facelift using local anesthesia with sedation. General anesthesia may however be used in some cases.
  • Incisions – the surgeon will create small incisions within the hairline, usually starting near the temples and extending down towards the ears.
  • Tissue Lifting – underlying facial tissues, including the SMAS (superficial musculoaponeurotic system), are lifted and repositioned to create a more youthful appearance. This may involve tightening the muscles, removal of excess fat, and redraping of skin.
  • Closure – incisions are closed with sutures, which are usually hidden within the hairline.

Recovery After a Ponytail Facelift

Recovery from a ponytail facelift is usually faster and less uncomfortable compared to a standard/full facelift. Patients may expect some initial swelling, bruising, and mild discomfort. These are easily managed with pain medication and rest. Most of the swelling tends to subside within the first week, allowing for gentle washing and a return to light activities. Most bruising should resolve by the second week, and you may resume most normal activities while avoiding strenuous exercise. Full recovery usually takes 4-6 weeks, after which you may gradually return to your skincare routine and makeup. Dr. Wu’s office at Revel You Facial Plastic Surgery will provide detailed post-operative instructions to help ensure a smooth and successful recovery.

Ponytail Facelift vs Traditional Facelift

The Ponytail facelift is ideal for younger patients with mild to moderate sagging in the mid and lower face. It provides a subtle, natural-looking lift compared to the more dramatic results of a traditional facelift, which is better suited for older patients with extensive aging throughout the face and neck. While a Ponytail facelift is generally less expensive, the best choice for you ultimately depends on your individual needs and desired outcome. It’s important you work with a board-certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Wu to determine the most suitable procedure for your specific case.

Cost of a Ponytail Facelift

The cost of a Ponytail facelift can vary significantly depending on factors such as surgeon’s experience and reputation, geographic location, facility fees, and whether you need to combine it with additional procedures. Many of Dr. Wu’s patients can expect to pay between $10,000 to $30,000 or more for this treatment. Health insurers typically do not pay for elective plastic surgery treatments. Dr. Wu’s office at Revel You Facial Plastic Surgery will provide an individualized cost estimate during your initial consultation visit.

What are the Potential Side Effects?

A ponytail facelift is generally safe and effective. However, like any plastic surgery, it carries potential risks and side effects. These include swelling and bruising, temporary numbness, mild discomfort and pain, and scarring. Less common side effects may include hematoma (blood collection), infection, nerve injury, and unsatisfactory results.

What are the Typical Results Like? What Can Patients Expect After the Operation?

Following a Ponytail facelift, patients can typically expect to see noticeable improvements in skin sagging, facial volume, facial definition, and contours. The results of this treatment are usually long-lasting, but not permanent. The results will also gradually fade over time due to the natural aging process. Many of Dr. Wu’s ponytail facelift patients can expect to enjoy the results for 5-10 years or more before considering additional touch-ups or procedures.

Types of Facelifts in Houston

What are the typical results like? What can patients expect after the operation?

Deep Plane Facelift

The Deep Plane Facelift is the most advanced and comprehensive rhytidectomy (or full facelift) that targets the mid and lower face by repositioning deeper facial tissues, especially the superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS) and muscles. This technique offers a more natural result by focusing on deeper structures, effectively addressing mid-face sagging like in the cheeks and nasolabial folds. Generally, it is best to combine the Deep Plane Facelift with a Deep Plane Neck Lift.

Deep Neck Lift

The Deep Neck Lift Focuses on tightening loose skin, removing excess fat, and improving the overall appearance of the neck. Some surgeons use liposuction to remove excess fat before tightening underlying facial muscles and tissues for a more defined neck contour, but Dr. Wu generally avoids liposuction as it can provide an  uneven, hollowed and unnatural look.

Brow Lift

A brow lift or forehead lift targets aesthetic concerns in the forehead and brow area, like forehead wrinkles, sagging brows, and deep furrows between the eyebrows. The result is a more awake and youthful appearance.

Eyelid Lift (Blepharoplasty)

Eyelid Lift (Blepharoplasty) improves the appearance of the eyelids, including upper lids, lower lids, or both, by removing excess skin and reducing bagginess for a youthful eye appearance.

  • Upper Blepharoplasty – focuses on correcting sagging or hooded upper eyelids.
  • Lower Blepharoplasty – addresses the lower eyelid area, targeting under-eye bags and wrinkles

Lip Lift

Reshapes and often elevates the upper lip to enhance facial harmony and rejuvenate the mouth area.

Traditional Facelift

The traditional facelift is an older facelift technique that primarily targets the superficial layers of the face, often leading to a ‘pulled’ appearance. It’s effective for facial sagging but generally will not achieve the same depth of improvement in facial structure or longevity as the Deep Plane Facelift and Deep Neck Lift techniques.

Mini Facelift

The mini facelift is marketed as a less invasive option suitable for mild to moderate signs of aging and involves smaller incisions. The mini facelift is less effective for severe sagging and deeper tissue laxity. Dr Wu’s facelift approach uses precise incisions and very little heat so scarring is minimal and recovery is quicker.

Vertical Facelift

Emphasizes vertical lifting of facial tissues against gravity, particularly beneficial for rejuvenating the mid-face and cheek area. It is synonymous with the Deep Plane Facelift as any vertical lift technique uses a deep plane approach and lifts at the appropriate angle of the face. Thus, any “vertical” technique falls within a Deep Plane Facelift and “vertical” is used for marketing and is not a scientifically recognized name.

Short Scar Facelift

A mini or limited-incision technique with smaller scars, suitable for patients with less severe aging signs.

Mid Facelift

Concentrates on the mid-region of the face, including cheeks and lower eyelids, to restore volume and reduce sagging.

Facial Fat Transfer

Facial fat transfer involves harvesting fat from one part of the body and injecting it into the face to add volume and contour, often used alongside other facelift techniques.


If you don’t find the answer you are looking for, simply contact us!

Is a ponytail facelift the same as a mini facelift?

The terms “Ponytail facelift” and “mini facelift” are often used interchangeably. Both of these procedures do share some similarities in terms of being less invasive than a traditional facelift. They also have a shorter recovery duration, and primarily focus on addressing early signs of aging. Some subtle differences include incision placement and extent of lifting. According to Dr. Wu, a ponytail facelift may be viewed as a type of mini facelift with a specific incision placement and exclusive focus on the lower face.

How to prepare for your ponytail facelift?

Are you interested in a ponytail facelift and are wondering how to best prepare for this treatment? The first step involves consulting a board-certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Wu to discuss your goals and medical history. Once you have undergone a preparative evaluation, you need to inform your surgeon of all medications and supplements. You are also required to make necessary lifestyle changes like quitting smoking and avoiding alcohol. Prepare your home for recovery by stocking up on supplies and arranging for help with basic chores. Last but not least, carefully follow your surgeon’s preoperative instructions for a smooth and successful procedure.

People have a facelift for different reasons, including to get rid of sagging facial skin, jowls, deep wrinkles, folds, and other imperfections. Compared to minimally invasive techniques, facelift surgery is often the right choice for patients who are looking for long-lasting results.

The deep plane (SMAS) facelift is recognized for providing longer-lasting results compared to other methods. This is because this technique addresses both the skin and deeper facial tissues to achieve a sustained lifting effect. Keep in mind though that individual factors, including skin care practices and genetics, also play a role in the longevity of your facelift results.

A facelift is an outpatient procedure that is performed under local or general anesthesia. Incisions are created along the hairline or around the ears to allow the surgeon to reposition underlying facial tissues. Excess skin is then trimmed and the remaining skin is redraped over the reshaped facial contours. Incisions are finally closed with sutures and the treatment areas are covered for optimal healing. The procedure takes between 1 to 4 hours to complete.

Dr. Wu positions facelift scars along the natural creases and folds in areas where they are minimally visible. The specific area will vary based on the surgical technique used. Some suitable areas include around the ears, along the hairline, and possibly under the chin.

There’s always a risk of complications following a surgical procedure such as rhytidectomy. However, the possibility of nerve damage is low. In some cases, patients will experience temporary numbness that dissipates when the treated area heals. Cases of permanent nerve damage leading to numbness or weakness are quite rare. Working with a surgeon focused only on the face is the best way to minimize risk from complications.

Non-surgical alternatives to a facelift exist for patients who have minor aesthetic issues. These may include BOTOX, dermal fillers, thread lift, laser resurfacing, and radiofrequency skin care treatments. The downside of these procedures is they are not long-lasting or can result in an unnatural look.

The facelift recovery and healing process generally takes 4 to 6 weeks starting with swelling immediately after the surgery and ending with most of the swelling having subsided after several weeks when you begin to see the remarkable results of your facelift.

A board certified plastic surgeon with multiple board certifications is for plastic surgeons under an older surgical training model which means the plastic surgeon had 5 years of general surgery training (or training in another non plastic surgery speciality) plus 2/3 years of plastic surgery training, or for Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctors a single year of plastic surgery training. The current state-of-the-art training for cosmetic plastic surgery is 6-7 years of an integrated plastic surgery training model in plastic surgery and a 1 year aesthetic fellowship from The Aesthetic Society’s Endorsed Aesthetic Fellowship.


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