A facelift is a surgical procedure which addresses only the lower face and neck, elevating and tightening those tissues to improve the neck and jowls. This is usually done through incisions which begin in the hairline in front of the ear, around the ear and into the hairline behind the ear. Frequently there is also a small incision under the chin.
All facelifts are not equal. Historically, a facelift involved incisions around the ears, with removal of the excess skin, pulling the remaining skin tight and closing the incisions. In fact, this is still the operation most surgeons do when performing a facelift. The problem is the skin is the weakest, most stretchy layer of the face. Putting the tension (all of the pull) on this skin layer results in a facelift that initially appears overly pulled and tight; as the skin relaxes, much of the effect of the lift is lost, frequently within a year.