Face Lift (Rhytidectomy)

The science bit

What Is A Face Lift?

As we age, our bones start to shrink and recede. Thanks to this your skin loses it’s supporting structure and becomes less taut. This ageing process causes our cheeks to become less prominent, the nose to mouth lines to deepen, the jawline to sag, the skin of the neck to fall into loose folds, and wrinkles begin to appear.

Facelift surgery, also called rhytidectomy, is a procedure which removes redundant skin and lifts the remaining skin into an uplifted position, creating a more youthful appearance. When this type of surgery is performed on the face it usually incorporates lifting and smoothing the neck skin at the same time.

Facelifts continue to be a popular procedure, particularly for women, but we can also perform facelifts on men, a great way to tackle the inevitable signs of ageing. Whatever your gender, it’s best to take action before the skin has lost too much elasticity for the best results.


What Can I Expect From a Face Lift?

Face lifts are normally done under a general anaesthetic, and you will need an overnight stay in hospital.

During the procedure your surgeon will lift and tighten the underlying muscles of your face to create a more aesthetically pleasing contour, a younger appearance, and a rejuvenated facial structure. Then they remove the excess pockets of fat and skin that contribute to an aged, tired appearance.

Excluding brow or eye surgery, it takes about three hours to lift and re-drape the lower jaw area to achieve a significantly improved neck and jaw line. The procedure can also involve skin and muscle-tightening, plus removing excess skin.

Full face lifts tend to result in an overnight stay in the hospital. Depending on the type of face lift you have, you should recover within two to four weeks.

Three areas of the face are potentially involved in facelift surgery:

  1. Endoscopic brow lift
  2. Upper and lower eye area, also called blephroplasty
  3. Mid face and lower jaw and neck

Your surgeon will work in these three sections, either performing operations one at a time or in all three areas at once. If you have all three facial sections lifted in one operation the surgery is more complex and involved, and your recovery time will be longer.

Types of Facelift

Lunchtime Lift

This type of surgery involves only removing excess skin. It’s performed under local anaesthetic and lasts for a limited time simply because it doesn’t involve your muscles.

One-Stitch Facelift

This procedure involves using a non-barbed suture or stitch, introduced into the superficial underlying tissues of the skin to create lifting without a general anaesthetic or long cuts. This type of lift has been available for many years and is now more commonly known as the thread lift. We carry out this procedure in a clinic rather than a hospital, and you should be able to return to work within 3 – 7 days.

SMAS – The Superficial Muscular Aponeurotic System

This type of facelift is always performed under general anaesthetic, a longer operation that can sometimes take up to 3 hours. It doesn’t involve removing extra skin but it repositions the stronger layers of tissue between the muscle and the fat to create optimum contouring and lifting. Probably the most common type of facelift, it also has the longest-lasting results.

What’s the Recovery Time?

With deeper types of facelift like SMAS, it can take as long as four weeks to fully recover. It depends on the kind of work you do. You might be able to get back to work within two weeks. Either way we will apply a light bandage to your head after your operation. The following day, you will have your hair washed and the bandage will be removed . Then you can leave the hospital and go home.

With the SMAS lift, you will have to return to the clinic for regular check-ups and to remove any stitches. We advise you have someone with you for the first week after your op, since you might need help with things like washing your hair and preparing healthy meals.

With more superficial facelifts like the thread lift, you can expect some bruising and swelling but you can often return to work within a week.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Alternatives to Face Lifts?
If you prefer a non-surgical version of a facelift, we recommend High Intensity Frequency Ultrasound (HiFu), which we can use in conjunction with a collagen stimulator like Ellanse. We often carry out facelifts in conjunction with eye surgery and / or a brow lift. This creates a more enhanced result if your skin is treated before and after your operation with Rejuvenating Skin Peels. An increasing number of men and women are asking us for this type of surgery at a younger age. They do it because they’re keen to achieve a natural, enhanced look rather than waiting until they are in their sixties, when the results can look a bit too dramatic, a lot less natural.
How Will I Feel?
Your face is on show all the time, there’s no avoiding it. If you have been feeling unhappy with your looks, any one of these facelift options will make you feel marvellous. Once you’re through the recovery period you’ll feel rejuvenated, fresher, younger and more confident about your appearance.
Disclaimer: Results and patient experiences may vary. These are dependent on a number of factors including age, medical history, lifestyle and more.
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