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Face Lift (Rhytidectomy)
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A surgical procedure designed to make the face appear more youthful by lifting up the facial skin and tissues and/or the underlying muscle, to make the face tauter and smoother.

Length of Surgery

2 – 3 hours




Local, or intravenous sedation

Back to work in…

3 weeks

Back to the gym in…

6 weeks

Treatment Frequency



Although they are infrequent, risks and complications of facelift surgery include bleeding; hematoma; bruising; infection; neurological dysfunction (loss of muscle function or sensation), which is usually temporary; widened or thickened scars; loss of hair around the incision site; asymmetry (unevenness between two sides); and skin necrosis (loss of skin due to tissue death).

Duration of results

8 - 10 years, though a face lift will not stop the aging process

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Click links below for detail.

Face lift Surgery Costs*

Face lift surgery prices vary widely, depending on the procedure. Surgeons with the most expertise cost more, but for this kind of complex, highly visible cosmetic surgery it is advisable to use a very experienced surgeon. Face lift cost comprises three fees: the anesthesia fee, the facility fee, and the surgeon's fee. The surgeon's fee is the majority of the cost, and the most difficult to predict without first knowing the extent of the procedure and the qualifications of the face lift surgeon.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons quoted the national average for Face Lift surgery at approximately $6,012. The cost for anesthesia ranges from $1,000 to $1,300. The facility fee (or hospital fee) ranges from $500 to $2,000. The remaining cost is the surgeon's fee.

Some patients elect to have other procedures performed at the same time as a facelift, and if all the procedures are performed at the same time, the fees will be lower than if they were performed individually.

Most cosmetic surgeons and surgical clinics offer flexible face lift financing and payment options, some of which allow staggered payments or loans from VARIOUS FINANCING COMPANIES.

If you are considering having face lift surgery but want to explore more about the financing options available before you make your decision, PLEASE "CLICK HERE. You can discuss your financial options with your surgeon, and find out if there are any loans of flexi-payment plans that will allow you to achieve the facial appearance you have always desired.


Am I a candidate for a face lift surgery?

The majority of patients that undergo face lift surgery do so in their early fifties and over, though patients in their 70’s and 80’s have had successful surgeries. A face lift procedure will normally not be necessary for people under 40 years of age, though occasionally patients with premature facial aging or who have had significant weight loss may undergo an earlier surgical face lift.

The goal of a face lift operation is to rejuvenate the neck, lower face, and mid-facial regions. A face lift will reposition the sagging facial tissue, resulting in a more youthful appearance. Opting to undergo a face lift operation is a highly individual decision and you should do it for yourself, not for someone else.

You may be a suitable candidate for a face lift procedure if you are unhappy with how the aging process is affecting your facial appearance. If you are concerned by any of the following, you could benefit from face lift surgery:

  1. Sagging in the midface
  2. Deep creases below the lower eyelids
  3. Deep creases running from the nose to the corners of the mouth
  4. “Jowls” caused by loss of muscle tone in the lower part of the face
  5. Displaced fat
  6. Loose skin and excess fatty deposits under the chin and jaw
Certain factors affect whether you are a suitable candidate for a face lift procedure:
  1. Do you smoke?
  2. Are you physically and emotionally healthy?
  3. Do you have realistic expectations of what face lift surgery could do for you?


What is a face lift Procedure?

A face lift (or rhytidectomy) is a surgical procedure designed to make the face appear more youthful by lifting up the facial skin and tissues and/or the underlying muscle, to make the face tauter and smoother. With age or excessive sun exposure, wrinkled creased skin can develop on the face, neck or forehead along with fat deposits and folds around the jaws and jowls. Face lift surgery cannot stop the aging process, but can improve the appearance, making patients look younger.

Face lift surgery can make you look younger and fresher by improving the appearance of your face. The aim of a face lift is to make you “look good for your age”, with a natural, more youthful appearance and should not produce a tight “windblown” looking face. The results of a facelift procedure will be good if you have good skin tone, your skin has not lost its elasticity and moves and stretches easily.

Your face is made up of layers of bone, muscle, fascia, fat and skin. During the natural aging process, the muscles lose their tone, and the fascia, (which holds everything together in the face) slackens. The fat around the lower half of the face may droop down and form a jowly look, and deep wrinkles and folds are caused by this re-distribution of fat. The cell renewal cycle shortens and the skin loses its ability to regenerate itself and loses elasticity. A face lift will improve the sagging areas of your face that have lost their tone, but may not get rid of all your wrinkles. It is not possible to remove the following with surgery: permanent perpendicular wrinkles on the upper and lower lips, and forehead wrinkles.

Modern face lift procedures go beyond simply tightening the skin and often include working below the skin to tighten the underlying facial muscles as well. The face lift surgeon may also move, remove, or in some cases add fat to the face. Older face lift procedures just pulled on the skin, which left it abnormally stretched. Modern face lift operations are done by lifting a deeper tissue layer called the SMAS. This relatively thin layer of fibrous tissue is just under the skin’s fatty layer. Lifting the SMAS transmits the lift to the skin via small fibrous connections. Unlike skin, the SMAS layer does not stretch, so it tends to stay where it is repositioned and sutured. The extra skin is trimmed away, but there is no pull on the skin, so it looks natural and heals well.

Face lift operations are most commonly performed under a general anesthetic and take between two to five hours to perform. You are likely to stay in hospital for one night. During the face lift surgery, incisions are made just inside the hairline at the temple, extending down along the natural curve of the ear, back behind the ear and then horizontally back into the hairline. The face and neck are then re-shaped by the surgeon, making adjustments to the muscles and fat. Lastly, the face lift surgeon will drape the skin back over the face, and remove any surplus, before closing the incisions with little metal staples around the hairline, and thin nylon sutures around the ears.

There will be some discomfort following surgery and you can expect to feel swollen, bruised and numb for a few days afterwards.

Preparing for facelift surgery

Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for your face lift procedure, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications.

If you smoke, you will be asked to stop at least two weeks before the face lift surgery, as smoking inhibits blood flow to the skin and patients who smoke take longer to heal. If you are overweight, your surgeon will advise you to lose weight prior to the face lift surgery. Patients must also avoid taking painkillers containing aspirin two weeks before the face lift procedure, as aspirin interferes with blood clotting.

Ensuring that you follow this advice carefully will help your surgery to go more smoothly and help to minimize the possibility of face lift risks and complications.

You should also arrange for someone to drive you home after your face lift operation, and to help you out for a day or two.

Face lift Surgery Procedure Steps

A face lift operation takes 2.5 to 3 hours and is performed under local anesthetic, though you can opt for intravenous sedation. Your face lift surgeon will discuss the options with you and recommend the best anesthesia for you. Your facelift procedure will be tailored to your specific needs and anatomy.

Step 1 – Anesthesia

  1. You will be given a relaxant in the form of a tablet, followed by an injection containing antibiotic and an anaesthetic, and then finally a local anesthetic. You will not feel any pain.
Step 2 – The incision
  1. There are three choices when you have a face lift, depending on the degree of change you’d like to see - a traditional face lift, limited incision face lift or a neck lift.
  2. Traditional face lift - The incision is made from the hairline at the temples, continuing around the ear (part of this incision will be partly inside the ears to help hide the cuts) and ending in the lower scalp. Fat may be sculpted or redistributed from the face, jowls and neck, and underlying tissue is repositioned. The deeper layers of the face and the muscles are also lifted. The facial skin is then re-draped over the uplifted contours and excess skin is carefully trimmed away. A second incision under the chin may be necessary if you also want the face lift surgeon to improve the appearance of the neck. Sutures or skin adhesives close the incisions.
  3. Limited incision face lift – This is an alternative to the traditional facelift and uses shorter incisions at the temples, continuing around the ear and perhaps inside the lower eyelids or under the upper lip.
  4. Neck lift – If you have sagging jowls, loose neck skin and fat accumulation under the chin or extending to the sides along the jaw line. This can be corrected with a neck lift. The incision begins in front of the ear lobe and goes around behind the ear, ending in the lower scalp. The fat is removed to give the neck good contour and definition.
Step 3 – The sutures
  1. Non-absorbable sutures or skin adhesives on the incisions on the face and small metal staples around the hairline used to close the face lift incisions. Once the surgery has been completed, both the face as well as the entire head will be bandaged as loosely as possible in order to reduce bruising and swelling.
Step 4 – The results
  1. When you wake up after your face lift surgery you will have dressings and bandages on your face, and possibly a drainage tube will have been inserted behind the ear to prevent both fluid and blood from accumulating under the surface of the skin. You will be offered painkillers, though you should only feel mild to moderate pain after a face lift procedure. Your skin will feel uncomfortable and tight.
  2. There will be a day or two of intense swelling over the face, which will subside after a few days. The puffiness may continue for another week or two, but this is normal. You will need to stay in the hospital or clinic for 1-2 nights.


Face lift Surgery Recovery and Healing Steps

Face lift recovery times vary from patient to patient, and smokers take longer to heal. You may need pain relief to help with any discomfort as the anesthetic wears off. If you need them, you can take over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. Follow the instructions in the patient information leaflet that comes with the medicine and ask your pharmacist for advice.

You will need to arrange for someone to drive you home when you are ready to go. You should try to have a friend or relative stay with you for the first 24 hours. Your nurse will give you some advice about caring for your healing wounds and a date for a follow-up appointment before you go home.

The swelling will be at its worst two to three days after face lift surgery, and sleeping upright in bed supported by pillows and applying ice packs will help to reduce the swelling. Patients of face lift surgery are recommended to rest as much as possible the first week, keep your incision sites as dry as possible, and avoid closed-neck clothing to prevent contact on your head and face.

Some numbness, swelling, and even some discoloration of the skin is likely to last for up to two weeks after the surgery.

After five to 10 days your stitches will be removed, and a few days later you should start to see the results of the face lift. Five to 14 days after the face lift procedure you will start to look and feel better and will be able to take gentle walks and do light housework. Visible swelling and bruising should go down after four to six weeks, avoid any strenuous activity during this time. You will probably feel numbness in your face for a few weeks, which is caused by the stress put on the nerves during and after the face lift operation.

Your face lift surgeon will give you a check list and a precautions list for your recovery. If you experience discomfort, shortness of breath, palpitations, chest pains or fever after the surgery, you must seek medical attention ASAP.

It may take several months for swelling to fully dissipate and up to 6 months for incision lines to mature. Maintaining or adopting a healthy lifestyle and wearing a high SPF sun cream whenever you go out will help to extend the results of your face lift. You will see the end result of your face lift approximately six to nine moths after your face lift operation.

Face lift surgery Side Effects and Surgery Risks

When a face lift procedure is performed by a qualified and experienced cosmetic surgeon, complications are infrequent and usually minor. Surgical face lifts are commonly performed and generally safe. The possibility of face lift risks and complications arising depends on each patient‘s anatomy, their physical reactions, and their healing abilities. As with any surgery, the outcome is not predictable.

Side effects as a result of face lift surgery are inevitable though they will vary from patient to patient, as with any surgical procedure these are common face lift side effects:

  1. Soreness, swelling and bruising - this can last up to a month
  2. Scarring - this usually fades over the course of a year, but won't completely disappear
  3. Raised hairline in front of, and behind, your ears
Complications that may arise as a result of a face lift operation are:
  1. Unfavorable scarring
  2. Bleeding (hematoma)
  3. Infection
  4. Poor wound healing
  5. Allergic reaction to the anesthesia
  6. Facial nerve injury with weakness
  7. Asymmetry
  8. Skin loss
  9. Numbness
  10. Fatty tissue found deep in the skin might die (fat necrosis)
  11. Fluid accumulation
  12. Pain, which may persist
  13. Skin contour irregularities
  14. Skin discoloration, sensitivity or swelling
  15. Unsatisfactory surgical scar location
  16. Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
  17. Possibility of revisional surgery
It's possible that you may not be completely satisfied with your appearance after the operation.

The exact risks are specific to you and differ for every person, so if you have any concerns or worries about the face lift procedure and the risks and side effects involved, ask your surgeon to explain how they may apply to you.


Questions to Ask a Surgeon about a face lift procedure

Knowledge is power so arm yourself with the facts before making any decision about face lift surgery. Here is an essential check list to help you find the right Perfect Yourself Surgeon.

  1. Am I a good candidate for face lift surgery?
  2. Are my described expectations realistic?
  3. Where is the surgery performed?
  4. How long will the procedure take?
  5. What kind of anesthesia is used?
  6. What is your experience in performing face lift surgery?
  7. Can I see your qualifications?
  8. Ask to see any face lift before and after photographs of recent face lift surgeries
  9. What percentages of your face lift surgery patients have had significant post-surgical complications? (surgeons should disclose this information to you)
  10. Who will be assisting my surgery? Can I see their qualifications?
  11. How much will my face lift surgery cost?
  12. Do you offer patient financing? (Flexible payment schemes for your surgery)
  13. Will you repeat/correct procedures if the agreed goals are not met? If this is the case, will I be charged again?
  14. Ask to observe the exact procedure you are considering before you decided to have surgery if you are unsure (this could be on videotape or in real life).
  15. What is the recovery and healing period for face lift surgery? When can I resume full normal activity?
  16. Have you ever had your malpractice insurance coverage denied, revoked, suspended
  17. Ask for and follow up on patient references (these can be invaluable to finding out what your surgeon is really like and the level of customer satisfaction he/she has received in the past)


Surgeon Checklist

Surgeon Checklist

Knowledge is power so arm yourself with the facts before making any decision about Face Lift Surgery procedures; click here for an essential check list to help you find the right Perfect Yourself plastic surgeon.

Find more information on face lifts, face lift costs and plastic surgery