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Facelift

A facelift lifts sagging tissues to restore a youthful contour to the face.

Should You Consider a Facelift?

Restore A More Youthful Contour to the Face

Aging isn’t kind to any of us. It causes our tissues to lose their elasticity and to sag. 

If you’re looking to “take years off” your appearance, a facelift is one of the most, if not THE most, effective and lasting treatments.

A facelift improves the tone of the face by lifting sagging tissues. The end result is a younger, refreshed, and more natural you.

Are You A Candidate?

Our Facial Rejuvenation Self Evaluation can help you decide if a facelift is the right procedure for you.

TAKE OUR SELF EVALUATION

Facelift Overview

Take Years Off Your Appearance By Restoring Lost Facial Tone

A facelift restores lost facial tone by lifting sagging skin and support tissues. It is the most effective and lasting treatment for the aging face and can “take years off” your appearance. Despite marketing claims to the contrary, there is currently no substitute for an expert facelift.

The end result of a facelift is a younger, refreshed, and natural you.

Read More: The Facelift Procedure: a Step-by-Step Walkthrough

 
 

Two More Quick Questions

Candidates

Are You Bothered By Visible Signs of Aging? 

You may be a good candidate for a facelift if you are bothered by visible signs of facial aging:

  • Do you have prominent jowls or a sagging jawline?
  • Do you have sunken cheeks?
  • Do you have deep wrinkles and folds around your nose and mouth?
  • Do you have a sagging neck or double chin?

It’s important to be in good overall health, to be a non-smoker, and to have realistic expectations.

Are You a Facelift Candidate?

Procedure

5 Key Steps To A More Refreshed Appearance

Step 1

Anesthesia is given for safety and comfort

Step 2

Skin is lifted through an incision that starts in the temple and circles in front of the ear

Step 3

Underlying support tissues are lifted

Step 4

Fat is contoured using excision, liposuction, and fat grafting 

Step 5

Skin is lifted into a more youthful position without being stretched.

Read More: A Step-by-Step Overview of the Facelift

A More Youthful and Refreshed Appearance

A facelift is a highly individualized procedure. No single technique is appropriate or “best” for all patients. The exact placement and length of incisions depend on your goals, condition, and technique used. Some patients may be candidates for short scar procedures or an isolated neck lift. Scars are hidden in the natural contours of the face so they are generally imperceptible. 

A facelift is typically performed an outpatient basis or overnight stay under general anesthesia or intravenous sedation.

A facelift is often combined with eyelid surgery, brow lift, fat grafting, skin resurfacing, skin care, and nonsurgical cosmetic treatments such as Botox and fillers to achieve total facial rejuvenation. 

Patients are often worried about looking unnatural or weird. This is avoided by lifting and repositioning tissues to a more youthful position while not overstretching them.

The Results are Worth the Recovery

The main tradeoff for a facelift is that there is a significant recovery. You probably won’t like Dr. Fan very much for about two or three weeks after surgery. After that, you’ll probably like him a lot.

Actual recovery time will vary depending on your age, genetics, skin quality, and technique used.

Generally, you should expect to rest and receive assistance for 3-5 days after surgery. You should be able to return to work within 2-3 weeks. You will feel “back to normal” after a few months.

It is difficult to prepare for your appearance after surgery. Swelling and bruising are a normal part of the healing process, but they can create a disturbing impression. There is even more swelling when eyelid surgery or skin resurfacing is performed. The eyelids may be swollen almost completely shut. Bruising of the eyelids, cheeks, and neck are common, sometimes spreading down to the chest. You may look worse before you start to look better. For the first few days, you may wonder why you ever decided to do this. 

Most patients will report surprisingly minimal discomfort, even a few days after surgery, although you may feel uncomfortable due to the tightening of the support layers and the superimposed swelling. You may notice numbness around the ears, chin, and face, as well as stiffness of the lips, mouth, neck, and eyes.

Sometimes, you may also experience bumps on the side of the neck, often due to swelling beneath the skin. 

Be wary of anyone promising an easy, quick, lunchtime facelift procedure because there is no such thing.

Read More: Facelift Recovery: What to Expect After Surgery

Choosing A Facelift Surgeon

Facelift surgery is a technically demanding procedure that requires the highest level of surgical skill. For this reason, it is very important that you choose a surgeon that is highly skilled and experienced. You should also remember that no single facelift technique is appropriate or “best” for all patients and that facelift surgery should be individualized just for you depending on your goals and facial characteristics.

Dr. Fan is an expert facelift surgeon and is highly experienced with a variety of facelift techniques and procedures including short scar, deep plane, MACS, SMAS, high SMAS, endoscopic, lift and fill, and “mini facelift” techniques. He will select the best facelift procedure for your specific goals and facial characteristics. Dr. Fan believes that less is more and will use the simplest, safest, and most reliable procedure to help you look younger.

Dr. Fan is also highly experienced with non-invasive and minimally-invasive facial rejuvenation treatments, so he will be able to help you understand the benefits, expected results, risks, and limitations of each type of treatment so that you can decide whether a non-surgical or surgical treatment is best for you. 

Dr. Fan is known for his elegant sense of artistry and refined surgical skills. You will look rested, refreshed, younger, and natural.

Free eBook: 14 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Plastic Surgeon

How Much Does a Facelift Cost?

Facelifts are completely individualized treatments, so it is impossible to provide a single total cost that applies across the board. Facelift costs vary according to several factors and can range from from $7,500 to $50,000.

The cost of a facelift will depend on many different factors, including:

  1. A patient’s particular needs
  2. The specific type of facelift procedure chosen
  3. The experience and reputation of the plastic surgeon
  4. Any advanced technology or surgical techniques that may be used
  5. The geographic location where the procedure takes place
  6. The surgical facility used
  7. The type of anesthesia a patient selects

Costs of surgery may include fees for the surgeon, anesthesia, operating room, facility, equipment, implants, garments, aftercare, lab tests, and medications.

Read More: How Much Does a Facelift Cost in San Francisco?

We offer a range of patient financing plans including low monthly payment plans and plans for those with suboptimal credit histories.

You can find more information about our Financing plans here

See Your Results

A Fresher and Younger You

A facelift will rejuvenate the mid to lower face and will accomplish the following:

  • Tighten the jowls
  • Define the jawline
  • Lift and fill the cheeks
  • Smoothen the neckline
  • Achieve natural looking results
  • Provide long lasting improvement

The end result is that you will look more rested, refreshed, and younger, often like you have lost weight. You will still look like yourself, and you will look natural.

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Actual Patient Before and After Facelift*

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Facelift FAQ

How Do You Know If You’re Ready for A Facelift?

It takes courage to see a plastic surgeon. Many of our patients have seen facelift stories in the media, and they are worried about looking artificial or unnatural like a Hollywood celebrity. They are also concerned about the reactions of family and friends and feel guilty about spending on such an indulgence. And yet, they still work up the nerve. The fact that patients visit us despite all of these influences is evidence of the profound unhappiness that motivates them; that faces them every time they look in the mirror.

A facelift is used to improve the tone of the face. Aging and heredity cause gradual relaxation of the facial tissues. The skin loses elasticity, and gravity accentuates the sagging.

There is no ideal age for a facelift. Some patients are candidates in their 30s and others in their 60s and beyond. Most plastic surgeons agree that having a facelift earlier, rather than later, while the skin has greater elasticity avoids the deeper creases that can be more difficult to treat. Many patients can maintain their appearance much younger than their chronological age well into their later years with future touchup procedures as needed (a 50,000-mile overhaul followed by regular tune-ups, so to speak).

Read More: How to Know If I Need a Facelift?

What Causes Facial Aging?

Aging, genetics, sun exposure, and the stresses of daily life take their toll on our appearance.

As we age, a few consistent changes occur:

  • Facial skin loses its elasticity, thins, and ultimately sags.
  • Facial soft tissues atrophy, resulting in volume loss, hollowing, and deep folds.
  • The surface of the skin accumulates wrinkles, age spots, prominent blood vessels, enlarged pores, and growths, resulting in wrinkles, blemishes, and discoloration.
  • The repeated and chronic contraction of the facial muscles produces smile, worry, and frown lines that become deeper and more permanent.
What is a Comprehensive Facial Rejuvenation Plan?

A successful facial rejuvenation treatment plan will incorporate elements to repair all of these changes (also known as the 4 R’s):

Redrape: Redrape, lift and tighten sagging skin and support tissues: Facelift, Neck Lift, Eyelid Surgery, Brow Lift, Ultherapy

Refill: Fill lost volume: Fat Transfer, Injectable Fillers

Repair: Repair skin damage: Skin Rejuvenation, Laser Skin Resurfacing, IPL Photofacial

Relax: Relax facial muscles that cause lines: Botox, Brow Lift

Learn More: The 4 Elements of a Successful Facial Rejuvination Treatment

How Is a Facelift Performed?

A facelift is performed by gently lifting and repositioning the skin and support tissues in a more youthful position.

Facelift procedures include quicker “short scar” procedures to more extensive, sophisticated full facelift procedures. Facelift variations include the following:

  • Full Facelift
  • Short Scar Facelift
  • Mini Facelift
  • Neck Lift

Facelift surgery is a technically demanding procedure that requires the highest level of surgical skill. It is imperative that the surgeon be highly skilled and experienced. It is also important to note that no single technique is appropriate or “best” for all patients and that facelift surgery should be individualized for each patient depending on their goals and facial characterstics. Dr. Fan is highly experienced with a variety of facelift techniques including short scar, deep plane, MACS, SMAS, and high SMAS techniques and will choose the technique that is best suited for your condition and goals.

Step 1: Anesthesia

Facelifts may be performed under general anesthesia (“fully asleep”), intravenous sedation (“twilight sleep”), or local anesthesia with oral sedation (“partially awake”). Dr. Fan will recommend the best choice for you.

Step 2: The Incision

A facelift begins with an incision along the sideburn, extending along the natural contours of the front of the ear, around the bottom of the earlobe, and up to the hairline behind the ear. A small second incision under the chin may also be used. The exact placement and length of the incisions depends on your anatomy, condition, and technique used.

Step 3: The Lift

Next, the deep support layers of the face and neck, including strong connective tissue and muscle layers called the SMAS and platysma, are gently lifted and tightened into a more youthful position.

Step 4: Closing The Incisions

Finally, the skin is redraped. Excess skin is removed so that the skin is lifted to a more youthful position but not stretched. The incisions are carefully closed so the scars remain hidden within the natural contours of the hairline and ear once healed.

Step 5: See The Results

The visible improvements of a facelift appear as the swelling and bruising subside. Your final result is a more youthful and rested appearance and help you feel more confident.

Facelift surgery usually takes 3 to 6 hours. You may be able to go home that day, but some people spend overnight in the hospital.

Learn More: The Facelift Procedure: A Step-By-Step Guide

What is the Best Facelift Technique?

There are many facelift techniques with many names such as the SMAS facelift, high SMAS facelift, SMASectomy facelift, composite facelift, deep plane facelift, endoscopic facelift, subperiosteal facelift, skin only facelift, etc.

Plastic surgeons debate all the time which is the best technique. There is no single best technique, but it is generally accepted that a good facelift must involve lifting and repositioning of the deep support tissues (SMAS) along with redraping of the skin to achieve a lasting and natural result.

The choice of facelift technique depends on a number of factors including your skin quality, facial shape, age, and goals.

Facelift surgery is a technically demanding procedure that requires the highest level of surgical skill. It is imperative that the surgeon be highly skilled and experienced. It is also important to note that no single technique is appropriate or “best” for all patients and that facelift surgery should be individualized for each patient depending on their goals and facial characteristics.

Dr. Fan is highly experienced with a variety of facelift techniques including short scar, deep plane, MACS, SMAS, and high SMAS techniques and will choose the technique that is best suited for your condition and goals.

Read More:

Can Non-Surgical Treatments Deliver the Same Results?

In a nutshell, no.

There is currently no substitute for a well-executed facelift, despite marketing claims to the contrary. The short and long term results from nonsurgical facial rejuvenation procedures cannot compare to a facelift.

We offer several proven non-invasive and minimally-invasive facial rejuvenation procedures such as Botox, injectable fillers, laser, and Ultherapy. These treatments are good options for younger and middle-aged patients who have minimal to mild sagging of the skin, or for patients with more extensive signs of aging who do not wish to undergo surgery and would be satisfied with milder degrees of improvement.

Most patients seeking facial rejuvenation have lost skin elasticity, with relaxation and descent of the skin and soft tissues. A facelift is the only way to restore tone to the face.

Notably, we frequently observe the improper use of non-invasive and minimally-invasive facial rejuvenation procedures, particularly from patients coming from medical spas and other cosmetic providers who do not perform surgery. These patients often present with stories and signs of disappointing, short-lived, and in some cases very strange, and artificial-looking results.

Choosing a qualified surgeon who performs a full range of treatments including non-invasive, minimally-invasive, and surgical facial rejuvenation procedures can help you understand the benefits, expected results, recovery, risks, and limitations of each type of treatment and help you avoid this outcome.

What About Branded Lifts Such as Lifestyle Lift and Quicklift?

You may have heard about or seen advertising for a branded facelift such as the Lifestyle Lift, Quicklift, Smartlift, S-Lift, and countless others. It is easy to assume that a designed procedure such as this would give you more predictable results, but, unfortunately, that is not the case.

The reason that branded facelifts often produce suboptimal results is that they use a standardized approach for all patients. Some patients may be good candidates, but many are not. The end result can be disappointing. Additionally, patients are often promised a one hour, lunchtime procedure with a few days of downtime only to find that the recovery takes much, much longer.

In general, be wary of marketing hype and aggressive marketing claims. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Read More: Lifestyle Lift vs. Traditional Facelift: Which is Best?

What Are The Expected Results from a Facelift?

A facelift smoothens skin and tightens and sculpts the underlying muscles and soft tissues of the face, neck, and jowls.

A facelift can make your face appear younger and healthier. A facelift will literally “take years off” your face, although your face will continue to age.

A facelift improves the lower half of the face, from the eyes downwards, including the midface, cheeks, jawline, and neck. Often combined with other procedures to improve the eyes, forehead, and skin for Total Facial Rejuvenation, a facelift will:

  • Tighten the jowls
  • Define the jawline
  • Lift and fill the cheeks
  • Smoothen the neckline
  • Achieve natural looking results
  • Provide long lasting improvement

The result is that you will look more rested, refreshed, and younger, often like you have lost weight. You will still look like yourself, and you will look natural.

A facelift will help improve visible signs of aging of your cheeks, jawline, and neck, but it will not restore lost facial volume and cannot reverse sun damage to your skin including wrinkles and blemishes. For best results, you may wish to consider treatments to restore lost facial volume such as fat grafting and for sun damage such as skin care, laser resurfacing, intense pulsed light photofacial treatments, fat grafting, and chemical peels.

In a survey of facelift patients, 87% of patients reported positive reactions from others and a boost in self-esteem. Only 6% of patients reported a negative reaction from others, and 97% of patients thought they looked younger after surgery by an average of 12 years. 95% of patients were pleased with their results and felt that the surgery met their expectations.

Read More: How Much Younger Will I look After a Facelift?

How Long Will My Facelift Results Last?

The longevity of your facelift depends on a number of factors including your genetics, skin quality, maintenance routine, and facelift technique.

Facelift results often last 10 or even 15 years. Limited incision facelifts typically last about 5 years.

Will I Look Natural After a Facelift?

With Dr. Fan’s technique, your skin will be lifted into its original position but not stretched. Thus, you will look natural.

What is Recovery Like After a Facelift?

Your face will be bandaged after surgery. A drainage tube may be in place beneath the skin. Dressings are usually removed after a few days, and sutures are removed in 5 to 14 days.

You may be prescribed medicines to alleviate discomfort after surgery. Expect to have mild to moderate to significant swelling and bruising of the face and neck. Cold compresses may help reduce these side effects. Numbness, tingling, stiffness, bumps under the skin, and skin irregularities are also common but will subside over several weeks to months.

Recovery time varies from patient to patient depending on your age, overall health, skin quality, genetics, and procedure needed. The more extensive the procedure, the longer the recovery.

Most of our patients can resume social activities and work 2-3 weeks after surgery. By that time, most bruising and much of the swelling will have subsided.

Patients undergoing short scar techniques recover more quickly.

We offer concierge recovery services such as the use of an aftercare facility, a personal caregiver, and transportation services.

For more information regarding your recovery, see our Postoperative Guide to Recovery: Facelift.

What are the Risks of Facelift Surgery?

Choosing to have a facelift is a very personal decision. Only you can decide whether a facelift can achieve your goals and whether the recovery and risk profile are acceptable to you.

All surgical procedures carry a small degree of risk. Fortunately, significant complications from facelift surgery are infrequent.

Potential risks of facelift surgery include:

  1. Hematoma or seroma (an accumulation of blood or fluid under the skin that may require removal)
  2. Infection
  3. Scarring
  4. Adverse reaction to anesthesia
  5. Delayed healing
  6. Tissue loss
  7. Altered sensation
  8. Damage to underlying structures
  9. Allergic reactions
  10. Unsatisfactory results that may require additional procedures



What are the Limitations of a Facelift?

A facelift is an effective procedure for helping you look younger, but it will not stop the aging process.

It may be intuitive to assume that a facelift addresses the entire face, but by convention among plastic surgeons, the facelift is focused on the mid to lower face. Separate procedures are used to address the forehead (forehead lift, or brow lift), eyes (upper and lower blepharoplasty), nose (rhinoplasty), and chin (chin enhancement).

It’s also important to know that a facelift does not restore lost facial volume nor repair aging or sun damaged skin. Lost facial volume is restored using fat transfer or injectable fillers. Aging skin is repaired using skin rejuvenation treatments such as skin care, laser resurfacing, intense pulsed light (IPL), chemical peels, and dermabrasion.

These procedures are often combined with a facelift procedure to achieve total facial rejuvenation.

How Much Does A Facelift Cost?

Facelift costs vary depending on a number of factors including the complexity of the procedure needed, type of anesthesia, facility, geography, and the surgeon’s expertise.

Costs of surgery may include fees for the surgeon, anesthesia, operating room, facility, equipment, implants, garments, aftercare, lab tests, and medications.

A general cost range for facelift surgery in San Francisco is $6,000 - $50,000.

We offer a range of patient financing plans including low monthly payment plans and plans for those with suboptimal credit histories.

You can find more information about our Financing plans here

BROWSE OUR FACELIFT LEARNING CENTER

Related Procedures

Eyelid Surgery

Eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, is a surgical procedure to improve the appearance of eyelids. Blepharoplasty may be performed on the upper and lower eyelids. It is often done in conjunction with a facelift, or in some cases in place of a facelift when the main area of concern is the eyes.

Learn More About Eyelid Surgery

Brow Lift

A brow lift is a surgical procedure to improve the appearance of the forehead and eyebrows. It is different from a facelift because the facelift focuses on the mid and lower parts of the face below the eyes. A brow lift is often done in conjunction with a facelift.

Learn More About Brow Lifts

Fat Transfer

Fat transfer is a procedure that involves harvesting fat cells from other parts of your body and injecting them into a treatment site to increase volume. Fat transfer to the face is often performed in conjunction with a facelift to restore lost volume in the cheeks, folds around the nose and mouth, lips, and temples.

Learn More About Fat Transfer Coming Soon

Injectable Fillers

Injectable fillers such as Juvederm Ultra, Voluma, Restylane, Perlane, Radiesse, Belotero, Sculptra, and Bellafill are very popular treatments used to restore lost facial volume and plump up deep folds and hollows associated with aging of the cheeks, eyes, mouth, nose, forehead, temples, and lips.

Injectable fillers are administered during a quick, in-office procedure with little-to-no downtime. Injectable fillers are commonly used before and after facelift surgery.

Learn More About Injectable Fillers

Laser Resurfacing

Laser resurfacing is a treatment to reduce facial wrinkles, blemishes, irregularities, and scars using concentrated beams of light. Laser resurfacing of the face is often performing in conjunction with or after a facelift to repair sun damaged skin.

Learn More About Laser Resurfacing

 

IPL Photofacial

IPL, or intensed pulsed light, is a photofacial treatment to reduce brown spots, redness, age spots, broken blood vessels, and rosacea. IPL is often performed after a facelift to repair aging skin.

Learn More About IPL Photofacial - Coming Soon

Skin Care

Our skin care programs involve the use of medical grade skin care products that can brighten, smoothen, and even out aging skin. Our skin care programs are frequently used to enhance the results of facelift surgery.

Learn More About Skin Care

Botox

Botox, or botulinum, is a very popular treatment that reduces and prevents the development of facial wrinkles caused by facial muscles. Botox is most commonly used to treat unwanted lines across the forehead, the “11s” between the eyebrows, and the crow’s feet next to the eyes.

Botox is administered as a quick, in-office injection with no downtime. Botox is commonly used as a maintenance treatment before and after facelift surgery.

Learn More About Botox

Ultherapy

Ultherapy is a non-invasive, non-surgical treatment that uses ultrasound energy to firm, tighten, and lift the skin. The improvement seen after Ultherapy treatment is much more subtle and modest compared to the results of a facelift.

Ultherapy is often used for maintenance treatment after facelift surgery. Ultherapy is not a suitable replacement for a facelift; patients who desire a facelift but choose Ultherapy are seldom happy patients.

Learn More About Ultherapy

Total Facial Rejuvenation

Total facial rejuvenation encompasses a comprehensive treatment plan that includes tightening loose skin, restoring lost volume, repairing sun damaged skin, and relaxing the facial muscles.

A facelift is one of the main components of total facial rejuvenation, as are eyelid surgery, brow lift surgery, fat transfer, injectable fillers, laser resurfacing, IPL photofacial, medical grade skin care, and Botox treatment.

Learn More About Total Facial Rejuvenation - Coming Soon

VIEW ALL PROCEDURES FOR THE FACE
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I did a lot of research before choosing to have a costly elective procedure, and I’m glad I did. Dr. Fan is an exceptional surgeon. He has a remarkable sense of aesthetics. He made suggestions and recommendations I would not have come up with on my own but afterwards saw he’d been absolutely right about. In addition to all of this, he is a genuinely kind person. I have no regrets and if I were going to have anything done in the future I would go back to Dr. Fan."*

— -Ms. A

Why Dr. Larry Fan & 77 Plastic Surgery

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Larry Fan, MD

 
Dr. Larry Fan is an award winning, Harvard educated, and nationally recognized plastic surgeon. Dr. Fan has performed hundreds of successful facelift procedures from his office in San Francisco. He is a progressive, compassionate thinker who is committed to achieving the highest levels of excellence and the very best aesthetic results. Dr. Fan is an expert facelift surgeon who is known for achieving natural beauty, never “overdone.”
Meet Dr. Fan
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Harvard Trained & One of America's Top Plastic Surgeons

Dr. Fan is known for his elegant sense of artistry and refined surgical skills. He will perform your surgery with expert, world-class execution and has the results to prov

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Exceptional Results & Award Winning Care

Dr. Fan and his team are committed to providing you with exceptional care, counseling, and support before, during, and after surgery. We take pride and joy in caring for you and have received numerous awards for our compassionate care.

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State-of-the-Art Office & Private Surgery Center in San Francisco

Come relax in our beautiful office and enjoy the comfort, safety, and privacy of our fully accredited on-site private surgery center in amazing San Francisco.

Download Our Popular Book:

"Beauty for Life"

In this feature length book, you will learn:

  • How to look great at any age
  • How to find a beauty team that you can trust
  • How to choose the right skin care products for your skin type
  • How to choose between The Needle and The Knife

This book was written by top plastic surgeon, Dr. Larry Fan.

 

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Ready For A Younger, Fresher You?

Schedule your complimentary consultation with Dr. Fan here.

During your consultation, Dr. Fan will take the time to address your specific goals and to discuss your treatment options. He will determine if you are a good candidate for facelift surgery and review the results that can be realistically achieved. He will also help you determine which complementary procedures may benefit you the most.  

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