Facelift

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What is a facelift?

A facelift is an operation to tighten and lift the soft tissues of your face and neck.

Is a facelift suitable for me?

As you get older, gravity pulls down on your skin and soft tissues of your face, causing them to sag.

A facelift will reduce the signs of ageing in your face and neck.

You are most likely to benefit from a facelift if you have one or more of the following signs of ageing:

  • You have deeper folds in your skin on the sides of your nose and mouth.
  • Your cheeks have begun to sag.
  • You have developed a double chin or folds in the skin of your neck.

Your surgeon will carry out a detailed assessment before deciding if surgery is suitable for you.

What are the benefits of surgery?

Your face should look younger. Most people who have a successful facelift are more comfortable with their appearance.

Are there any alternatives to a facelift?

Your surgeon may be able to assess you for resurfacing or injecting Botox to smooth out fine wrinkles. Deeper wrinkles can sometimes be filled out using fillers, fat injections or implants.

Fat grafting involves injecting fat from other areas of your body into your face to make your face look more full.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is performed under a general anaesthetic and usually takes 2 to 3 hours.

SMAS facelift

Your surgeon will need to make a cut on both sides of your face.

They will separate your skin from the underlying SMAS layer in the area of your cheeks and neck. Your surgeon will cut under the SMAS layer, lifting it upwards and tightening it.

Your surgeon will tighten your skin upwards towards your ears and remove any excess skin.

MACS facelift

This is a variation of the SMAS facelift, where your surgeon tightens the SMAS layer with suspension stitches to avoid cutting underneath it. A MACS facelift involves less surgery but the results may not last as long it does not involve tightening the tissues in your neck.

Other types of facelift

These include the mid-facelift and composite facelift and involve lifting deeper layers of the face.

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home the same day or the day after.

You should be able to return to normal activities after 2 to 3 weeks.

Do not have sex or bend down for 2 weeks.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

The results of a facelift last for a long time. Your face will still continue to age but should always appear younger than if you had not had surgery.

What complications can happen?

Some complications can be serious and can even cause death.

General complications of any operation

  • Pain
  • Minor infection on the surface of your wounds
  • Bleeding during or soon after the operation
  • Unsightly scarring of your skin
  • Blood clot in your leg
  • Blood clot in your lung

Specific complications of this operation

  • Loss of skin near the scars
  • Hair loss
  • Developing a collection of blood or fluid under your skin
  • Developing pale areas on your face
  • Darkening in the colour of your face
  • Damage to nerves
  • Cosmetic problems
This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice your healthcare team gives you. This information is published under license from EIDO Healthcare UK and is protected by copyright. Other than for your personal, non-commercial use, you may not copy, print, download or otherwise reproduce it.

A facelift is an operation to make your face appear younger. You should consider the options carefully and have realistic expectations about the results.

What to do next
  1. Talk to us about ways to pay, either insured or self-pay, and find out if you need a referral from your doctor.
  2. If you need one, ask your doctor for a referral letter.
  3. Call us to book an appointment with a consultant.
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