Guide to Face Lifts

Overview about Face-Lift Surgery
A face-lift surgery, also known as rhytidectomy, is a cosmetic surgery procedure that is performed to reduce the signs of aging on the face and neck. The procedure smoothes the skin and decreases wrinkles and loose skin on your face. It also helps tighten the underlying tissues of your face and neck, making your skin appear toned and firm. It corrects sagging, creasing from the nose to the corners of the mouth, and loss of muscle tone. The surgery can either be a full face lift that’s performed on your entire face, or only on specific points of your face, like the brow, neck or the lower portion of the face.

Eligibility for a Face-Lift Surgery
A face-lift surgery should always be done to meet your own expectations, and not those of others. An individual who plans to undergo this procedure needs to be of a sound psychological frame of mind. People who aren’t in good physical condition or smoke may not be ideal candidates for a face-lift surgery.

Your surgeon will enquire about your expectations for the surgery and the reasons for it. He will look into your health history, including allergies, any previous surgery procedures, use of alcohol and drugs etc. He will then evaluate your health condition and discuss the procedure with you. He will take measurements of your face and photograph it.

Preparing for Face-lift Surgery
Smokers will be asked to stop smoking because it increases the risk of infection. A face lift is usually done under general anesthesia, and you may therefore be required to avoid eating or drinking for at least 6 hours prior to surgery. You will be asked to do lab tests, and your blood pressure and heart rate will be checked. You may be required to wear compression stockings to prevent the formation of blood clots in your legs.

Procedure for Face-Lift Surgery
Generally, a face-lift surgery can last from 3 to 4 hours. You will be given anesthesia, and depending on the kind of face life that you have opted for, an incision will be made. In the case of a traditional face lift, an incision will be made in the hairline and around the ears, ending at the lower scalp. The skin is separated from the facial muscles, and extra fat is removed. The muscles are tightened. You may also need another incision under the chin to correct signs of ageing on the neck. The skin is then lifted back up, pulled across and stitched back. Your face is wrapped in bandages, and these may be left for a day or two. To enable drainage of blood and fluids, thin plastic tubes are left in the site for at least 2 days.

In a minimal access cranial suspension (MACS), the surgeon will make short incisions in your temple. The extra fat is removed.

In the case of keyhole surgery, several tiny incisions are made in your skin and special instruments, including an endoscope, are passed through these incisions. The endoscope transmits pictures through a camera lens that’s connected to a TV monitor, and your surgeon will perform the surgery by looking at these images. Here, the scarring is minimal, and recovery time is very fast.

Post-surgery care
You may experience some bruising and swelling, which can be relieved by using a cold compress. Your doctor will prescribe painkillers for any discomfort. If any drainage tubes have been used, these are removed in a couple of days. All bandages and sutures are removed 5 days after surgery. Most people can expect to return to their normal work schedule 3 weeks after surgery. You may be advised to keep your head in an elevated position to bring down the swelling, and avoid exposure to sunlight and heavy physical activity for a few weeks.


  • There may be undesirable scarring.
  • As with any surgery, there is the risk of infection.
  • There may be complications from the anesthesia.
  • There may be damage to the facial nerves, leading to weakness.
  • There may be numbness in the skin.
  • There may be bleeding or pain.
  • There may be irregularity in the skin, including discoloration and changes in the skin contour.
  • There may be cardiac and pulmonary complications.
  • In case of asymmetry or undesirable results, additional and expensive surgery may be required.

In conclusion, the length of time for which the results of the face-lift surgery can last will depend on your lifestyle. People who smoke, eat an unhealthy diet, or expose themselves excessively to the sun will find the results of their face lift diminishing rapidly. If you maintain your ideal weight and follow a healthy lifestyle, you can expect your face lift results to last for a long time.