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Thinking about getting a face-lift? They've come a long way. Early on, face-lifts just tightened skin; today's face-lifts do more by repositioning muscle, skin, and fat.

The best candidates for face-lift surgery are people who show some signs of facial aging but still have some skin elasticity. Generally, this includes people who are in their 40s to 70s, although older people occasionally are candidates.

Before you get a face-lift, you should be in good health and have realistic expectations. A face-lift won't completely erase your years; the goal is to have a refreshed, less tired look.

Your Face-Lift Consultation

If you've decided to explore a face-lift, set up a consultation with a surgeon.

At the consultation, you should talk about your goals for your face-lift. Tell your surgeon what you want to change and why. You'll also talk about your current health, your medical history, any prescriptions or supplements you take, and whether you smoke.

The surgeon will consider all of that, examine your face, and talk with you about your options.

It may be that you don't need a face-lift but a more minor procedure that will achieve your goals.

Your surgeon may also suggest additional minor changes, such as a chin implant or eyebrow lift. He or she may use computer imaging to show you how you'll look with these changes and may also take photos of you to assess your situation.

At your consultation, your surgeon should also talk to you about risks and costs.

Does Insurance Cover a Face-Lift?

No. Health insurance companies typically don't cover cosmetic surgery that you choose to get without a medical reason. So you should expect to pay the full costs yourself.

Ask your surgeon for a complete list of all the costs, including anesthesia, operating room and recovery, follow-up care, and any required prescriptions.

Make sure you ask your health insurance company about its policies and how having the face-lift will affect your coverage. Some insurance companies may raise your premiums after you get cosmetic surgery. And getting a face-lift may affect future coverage. You may want to consider getting a supplemental insurance policy that will cover treatment for any complications of cosmetic surgery if your plan won't cover that.

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