Facelift Surgery

‘Rhytidectomy Facelift’ is the name given to any procedure helping to address age-related changes in skin and the appearance of sagging skin, lines and wrinkles of the lower portion of the face. A facelift involves elevating, removing excess tissue and repositioning the skin to leave a rejuvenated look with fewer signs of ageing.

Types of Facelift

  • Superficial muscular-aponeurotic system SMAS facelift involves an incision around hairlines anterior to your ears and involves the deeper layers of soft tissue to help lift and tighten
  • Minimal access cranial suspension MACS facelift involves an incision posterior to the ear, thus minimising visible scars. The soft tissues are lifted, the excess is removed and then re-sutured
  • Mid-facelift involves small incisions around the hairline and mouth, up to the lower eyelid to help remove excess skin and soft tissue around your cheekbones

Potential Advantages of Getting a Facelift

A facelift can improve the appearance of the lower half of the face, particularly the jawline. If you have sagging eyebrows and wrinkles on your forehead, your surgeon may suggest a browlift too. Loose skin with fine wrinkles, freckles and rough areas will benefit more from a chemical peel or laser resurfacing, which can be performed along with a facelift, browlift or neck lift.

Those wanting to undergo facelift surgery might choose to do so for several reasons.

These include:

  • Eliminate droopy skin and jowls
  • Reduce saggy second chin
  • Reduce deep creases below the eyelids along the nose
  • Brighten a perpetually tired appearance
  • Look as young as you feel

The benefits of a facelift may include:

  • Addresses multiple signs of ageing
  • Re-contours your jawline and neck
  • Beneficial for men and women
  • No required age to get a facelift
  • ’Invisible’ surgical scars (depending on the approach used)
  • Natural-looking results

What Happens During a Facelift?

The procedure itself involves incisions, often made around the front of the ear and into the hairline and sometimes behind the ear (less common), removing excess tissue and re-stitching the skin and tissue into position. It is important that although the results are often very positive, they cannot reverse all signs of ageing.

A facelift is usually carried out under general anaesthetic, although it may also be performed using local anaesthetic and sedation. The surgeon will make cuts (incisions) above the hairline at the temples that extend down in front of your ear, underneath your earlobe and behind the ear. Cuts will also be made under the chin if the jawline is lifted.

Next, the surgeon will remove the surplus facial skin and pull the remaining skin backwards and upwards before stitching it into its new position. Sometimes the surgeon will also redistribute facial fat and tissue or add this to the face as required.

Finally, the surgeon will bandage the face to minimise bruising and swelling. It typically takes 2 to 3 hours, and most people need to stay in hospital overnight. It takes about 2 to 4 weeks to recover from a facelift fully, and you will likely need to take this time off work. Bruising is visible for at least 2 weeks but could take up to 6 to 9 months to see the full effect of the facelift.

What Are The Risks of Facelift Surgery?

The risks always should be discussed in length with the surgeon performing the procedure, but the risks may include:

  • Bleeding, bruising, swelling
  • Infection
  • Pain
  • Excess of skin and soft tissue removed, resulting in an unnatural or tight face
  • Risk of damage to the nerves in the face that provide sensation and muscle power to the facial muscles

How Much Does a Facelift Cost?

  1. UK private cost: although it varies from clinic to clinic, the average price for a facelift from a reputable clinic can be up to £10000 – £15000.
  2. NHS: this treatment is not usually available on the NHS. However, it may occasionally be provided on the NHS for psychological or other health reasons.
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