As we age the skin loses its tone and elasticity, this relaxation of the skin causes sagging. The aging face also leads to deepening of the fold lines between the nose and the corner of the mouth and fat tissue falls down or disappears. The jowls become prominent. The loose skin and excess fat of the neck can appear as a double chin or “turkey neck”.

Over time the loss of youthful appearance in the face can be due to a number of factors such as:  thinning of the skin, loss of facial fat, sun damage, smoking as well as hereditary reasons and stress.

The aim of a facelift (rhytidectomy) is to improve the visible signs of aging.

Who is a suitable candidate?

Healthy individuals with no major medical conditions and a realistic expectation are suitable candidates.

What happens before surgery?

You will be asked to stop certain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen or herbal medicines that might increase the risk of bleeding during or after surgery.

If you are a smoker, you will be advised to stop smoking at least two weeks before and a similar length after surgery to reduce the chances of wound healing issues.

What does the surgery involve and how long it takes?

A facelift is carried out under general anaesthetic and usually takes around 4 hours. Other procedures may also be carried out on the face at the same time such as neck lift, brow lift or eyelid surgery and this will increase the length of the procedure.

To reposition and tighten the facial soft tissue an incision is made around the temporal hairline, which extends down in front of the ear. Depending on how much work is required (such as a neck lift) this incision can be extended behind the ear.

During the procedure no hair is cut and local anaesthetic with adrenaline is injected to reduce the risk of bleeding and improve postoperative comfort.

Both dissolvable and non-absorbable stitch material is used to close the incisions. You may also have some fine clips in the temporal hairline. You will have a light bandage on your face and a small drain on each side.

What happens after surgery?

After a restful night in the hospital, you will have your bandage and drains removed in the morning. You will have your hair washed and provided with simple analgesia before going home. Expect some numbness, bruising and swelling around the face area, which will settle over the following weeks after surgery.

In the first 48 hours, the swelling will get worse before improving over the following weeks. You will be seen 10 days after the procedure to have the fine clips and sutures removed and 3 months after surgery to assess the outcome and your satisfaction.

You can return to work 2-3 weeks after surgery but avoid heavy lifting, bending and exercise up to 4-6 weeks.

What are the risks and complications?

Significant and major Complication rates are very low in facelift surgery but the following could occur:

Bleeding (haematoma): occasionally small blood vessels may open up under the skin soon after surgery (same day) and a return to the theatre is required to release the incision and washout the collection. This will not impact the overall face lift results.

Infection: wound infection rates are very low in facial surgery. Routine antibiotics are not required after facial surgery. Occasionally, antibiotics are required to treat an infection.

Hair loss: this is uncommon; it does occur around the incision lines where scar forms but the surrounding hair follicles are not impacted.

Numbness and nerve damage: expect some “fuzziness” or numbness around the face, which will settle over time. Major nerve damage to the facial muscles is very rare during facelift surgery.

  • Summary
  • Operation time 4 hours
  • Anaesthetic General Anaesthetic
  • Nights in hospital 1
  • Time off work 2-3 weeks
  • Return to exercise 4-6 weeks


If you have a question regarding a procedure or would like to find out if you are a suitable candidate, please feel free to get in touch.