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Face Lift

A facelift, medically known as rhytidectomy, is a cosmetic surgical procedure designed to give the face a more youthful appearance by reducing sagging or folds of skin on the cheeks and jawline and other changes that occur in the face with age. This detailed guide will explore the facets of facelift treatment, including its applicability, the treatment process, and what individuals can expect from the procedure.

Who is a Candidate for a Facelift?

Facelift surgery is best suited for individuals who wish to improve signs of ageing in the face and neck. Typically, candidates are men and women in their 40s to 70s, although the procedure can be performed successfully on people in their 80s as well. Ideal candidates should be in good general health, do not smoke, and have realistic expectations about the outcome of the surgery. It’s particularly beneficial for those with:

  • Sagging skin in the midface and/or jawline
  • Deep creases below the lower eyelids
  • Deep creases along the nose extending to the corner of the mouth
  • Fallen or displaced fat
  • Loss of muscle tone in the lower face that may create jowls
  • Loose skin and excess fatty deposits under the chin and jaw

The Treatment Process


The first step in the facelift process is a consultation with a plastic surgeon. During this meeting, the surgeon evaluates the patient’s facial skin, structure, and discusses their goals for the surgery. The surgeon will also review the patient’s medical history, including any medications taken, to ensure they are a good candidate for the procedure.

Pre-operative Instructions

Patients may be advised to stop taking certain medications or adjust their current medications. Smoking cessation is strongly advised as smoking can increase the risk of complications and delay healing.

The Procedure

Facelift surgery can take anywhere from two to five hours and is typically performed under general anaesthesia or sedation. The specifics of the procedure vary depending on the desired outcome and the technique used by the surgeon. Common techniques include:

  • Traditional Facelift: Incisions are made in the hairline at the temples, continuing around the ear and ending in the lower scalp. Fat may be sculpted or redistributed, and the underlying tissue is repositioned. Excess skin is removed, and the remaining skin is redraped over the newly repositioned contours.
  • Limited Incision Facelift: Also known as a “mini-lift,” this technique involves shorter incisions at the temples, continuing around the ear. It’s suitable for patients with less skin relaxation.
  • Neck Lift: Addresses sagging jowls, loose neck skin, and fat accumulation under the chin. The incision is similar to the traditional facelift, with an additional incision under the chin.


Recovery varies by individual but generally includes swelling, bruising, and discomfort for the first few days. Pain can be managed with prescribed medications. Most patients can return to normal activities after two weeks, although complete healing may take several months. Following the surgeon’s post-operative care instructions is crucial for a smooth recovery and optimal results.

Risks and Considerations

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved with a facelift, including bleeding, infection, bruising, and nerve injury. There’s also the risk of dissatisfaction with the aesthetic outcome. Selecting a qualified, experienced plastic surgeon and having a thorough consultation can mitigate these risks.


A facelift can significantly rejuvenate the face and neck areas, restoring a more youthful and refreshed appearance. However, it’s important for individuals considering this procedure to have realistic expectations and understand both the potential benefits and limitations. By carefully selecting a qualified surgeon and following pre- and post-operative instructions, patients can enhance their chances of a successful outcome.


There’s no “best” age for a facelift as the timing depends on the individual’s unique facial aging process and their personal goals. Typically, people consider a facelift in their 40s to 60s when signs of aging become more pronounced. However, the condition of the skin, the degree of skin laxity, and overall health are more important factors than age. A consultation with a plastic surgeon can help determine the appropriate timing for a facelift based on individual needs and expectations.

The results of a facelift are long-lasting, with many patients enjoying the benefits for 10 to 15 years. However, it’s important to note that a facelift does not halt the aging process. Lifestyle choices, genetics, and environmental factors will continue to affect the skin and facial structure. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, using sun protection, and adopting a good skincare routine can help prolong the results.

Facelift surgery involves incisions, which means there will be scars. However, an experienced plastic surgeon will strategically place these incisions in areas where they are less visible, such as along the hairline or behind the ears. Over time, these scars typically fade and become barely noticeable. Proper post-operative care, including following the surgeon’s instructions for scar care, can further minimize their appearance.

Yes, it’s quite common to combine a facelift with other procedures for more comprehensive results. Some of the most popular complementary procedures include eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty), brow lift, neck lift, and skin resurfacing techniques. Combining procedures can address multiple concerns simultaneously, such as sagging skin, wrinkles, and loss of volume, leading to a more youthful and refreshed overall appearance.

Recovery time varies from person to person, but most patients can return to normal activities within two weeks. Swelling and bruising are common and can last several weeks. It’s crucial to follow all post-operative care instructions provided by your surgeon to ensure a smooth recovery. Patients are advised to avoid strenuous activities and direct sun exposure, and to use special care when washing their face and hair to avoid disturbing the healing tissues.

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