Facelift (Rhytidectomy) FAQs


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Facelift FAQs

What is Facelift?

  • A Facelift or facial surgery is a surgical procedure that removes the signs of aging and restores a youthful, vibrant look. Your specialist plastic surgeon will make incisions around your ears during the procedure and tighten the underlying tissues. They will remove extra skin and reattach the remaining skin, hiding the scars in the natural crevices of the face or hiding them behind the hairline.

What is Rhytidectomy?

  • A Rhytidectomy is a surgical procedure that removes extra skin from your face and restores a rejuvenated appearance. It is a major, complex surgical procedure with risks and complications that has to be done by a certified specialised plastic surgeon. Only this way can you minimise any risks and achieve desired results.

What is the best facelift procedure?

  • Which facelift procedure is the best for you depends mostly on the look of your face and the results that you would like to achieve:
    • Deep Plane Facelift / SMAS Facelift – this full facelift procedure removes large-scale sagginess and tightens the base of the neck and the chin
    • Mini Facelift – uses smaller incisions which are usually hidden in the hairline
    • Mid-Facelift – tightens the skin in the mid-section of the face, from the corners of the eyes to the corners of the lips and, depending on the surgeon, also to the base of the ears tightening the cheeks as well
    • Browlift or Temporal Lift – lifts heavy brows and the forehead
    • Blepharoplasty or Eyelid Lift – tightens and rejuvenates the skin around the eyes, including the upper or the lower eyelid or both

Contact your specialised plastic surgeon to discuss which facelift procedure would be the best for you. You may need one or more procedures that can be done simultaneously to achieve desired results.

What is the best facelift procedure?

  • The best facelift procedure depends on your desired results. You may think about whether you would like to remove or address the sagging jowls, have neck lipo, tighten your cheeks, the forehead or even eyes and brows. Consult one of our experienced plastic surgeons today and schedule your first consultation. Here, you will be able to discuss any ideas and concerns you may have.

What is the most natural facelift?

  • The SMAS facelift or Deep Plane Facelift is the most natural-looking procedure. It readjusts the underlying tissues of your face and improves your facial contour for truly natural-looking results. The SMAS procedure is complex and demands good planning, so ensure that your surgeon is a specialist plastic surgeon, not a cosmetic surgeon.

What is a short scar facelift?

  • A short scar facelift or a mini facelift uses smaller incisions compared to a traditional facelift. There is no difference in the rest of the procedure since most surgeons agree that the biggest difference between the two surgeries is the length of the scar. Depending on your situation, a mini facelift can yield equally good results as a traditional or a full facelift.

What is a Deep Plane Facelift?

  • A Deep Plane Facelift or a SMAS (Superficial Muscular Aponeurotic System) Facelift is a surgical procedure that removes skin and muscle laxity in the mid-section of the face. A Deep Plane Facelift removes the laxity in the area between the corners of the eyes and the corners of the mouth, and towards the ears. SMAS facelift is the most natural-looking facelift procedure.

Does a lower face lift include the neck?

  • Depending on your case, a lower facelift may include the neck as well. If you feel that your neck is too saggy or if you experience saggy jowls, speak with your specialised plastic surgeon to get an opinion on how they may best address your situation. Sometimes, a simple procedure of neck liposuction may be enough to get rid of your saggy neck.

Can you have a neck lift without a facelift?

  • Yes, you can have a neck lift without a facelift. Depending on your condition and the results you want to achieve, it may be enough to do neck liposuction only. If the saggy skin is more prominent, however, you may want to opt for a neck lift, where excess skin is removed as well. Speak to your specialised plastic surgeon and ensure that you two are on the same page about what you need to have tightened and how they can achieve it.

At what age do jowls develop?

  • Jowls usually start developing between 50 and 60, although sometimes they can even develop earlier. When exactly your jowls develop depends on hereditary factors, as well as your lifestyle choices and weight fluctuations. Although you may slow down the jowls appearing, you cannot completely prevent them since gravity plays its part as well.

How do you fix sagging jowls?

  • Sagging jowls are best fixed using a surgical procedure, such as a neck lift. A neck lift will remove excess skin and fatty deposits under the skin either by neck liposuction or even surgical fat excision. The neck lift procedure is the best solution for your sagging jowls, as it yields results that stay visible for years to come.

Is a facelift a good idea?

  • Yes, a facelift is a good idea. Most patients are highly satisfied with the achieved results and report that they look some 12 years younger on average. A facelift increases your mood, self-esteem and leaves you looking younger and refreshed.

Can you get a facelift twice?

  • Yes, you can get a facelift twice. A facelift gives permanent results, meaning that all the tissues are permanently removed and cannot come back. However, remaining face skin and tissues can keep sagging as you age. You may want to have a second facelift in some 10-15 years after the first facelift procedure, although most patients are satisfied with a single facelift. In general, the younger you are when you have your first facelift, the more pronounced and longer-lasting the results.

How can I tighten my neck and jowls?

  • Your neck and jowls can be tightened by means of a Deep Plane Facelift or a Neck Lift. Both procedures yield permanent and satisfying results. Most patients are very satisfied with the results of these two procedures. Speak with one of our specialised plastic surgeons for more information on which surgery may be the best for you.

What is the best alternative to a facelift?

  • There is no good alternative to a facelift, especially if the skin sagginess is very prominent. In mild skin droopiness cases, you may choose some Anti-Wrinkle Injections and  Dermal Fillers as well as some Lip Fillers to get rid of wrinkles around your lips. You should understand that non-surgical procedures do not yield permanent results and that you have to repeat them periodically, usually once or twice every year. The best way to remove saggy jowls and get rid of deep wrinkles on your skin is a facelift surgical procedure.

How many years younger can a facelift make you look?

  • Patients report looking 12 years younger after a facelift, on average. These results are highly subjective since the patients are asked for a self-evaluation. The majority of facelift patients report also feeling younger and having improved mood and self-esteem after a rhytidectomy procedure.
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Am I The Right Candidate / Rhytidectomy Prerequisites FAQs

How do I know if I need a facelift?

  • As you age, you will notice some changes in your face that could mean you need a facelift. If you have:
    • Poorly defined jawline,
    • Misshapen chin,
    • Hanging jowls,
    • Significant wrinkles in the lower portion of the face,
    • Pronounced laugh lines around your mouth,

then you may need a facelift. Schedule an appointment with a specialised plastic surgeon to have your situation assessed by a professional.

What age is best for a facelift?

  • There is no best age for a facelift. You can decide to have your facelift in your 40s, 50s, 60s and even earlier if you experience face drooping due to hereditary factors. Please understand that a facelift at a younger age will result in more permanent and better results and take a shorter time to recover. Getting a facelift in your 40s and your 60s is not the same.

Who is a good candidate for a facelift?

  • A good candidate for a facelift should:
    • Have at least some level of facial drooping,
    • Have realistic expectations of what can be done by the facelift or rhytidectomy procedure,
    • Be healthy and in good condition,
    • Be willing to undergo screening and rhytidectomy surgery,
    • NOT be a smoker,
    • NOT have any medical conditions that could impair the facelift procedure’s results or safety, such as chronic heart and lung conditions, diabetes, hypertension, etc.

Is 60 too old for a facelift?

  • No, 60 is not too old for a facelift. You may have a facelift even in your 70s if you want. Please understand that some surgical procedures may get riskier as you age. Getting a facelift at a younger age will give better and longer-lasting results with a shorter recovery time. Your specialised plastic surgeon will assess your situation and provide the best possible advice on the procedure.

Should I get a facelift or fillers?

  • If you are thinking about whether you should get a facelift or fillers, you should understand that there are differences in how they approach the aging skin and what results these two procedures can achieve. A facelift reduces the deep wrinkles and readjusts your skin and underlying tissues for best results. It is a very permanent procedure that can yield significant results in rejuvenating your skin. On the other hand, a filler procedure is a non-surgical procedure that is concerned only with the surface of the skin, may remove most of the fine wrinkles and smooth out the deep crevices. It is a temporary procedure, and you may have to repeat the treatment after a while (usually after six months to a year, depending on the type of filler used).

How would I look with a facelift?

  • You will look younger, refreshed and rejuvenated with a facelift. Most patients report that they look and feel some 12 years younger compared to the pre-op period. Most patients also report feeling better, having improved mood and self-esteem and being more willing to participate in social activities.

Facelift Preparation FAQs

How do I prepare my face for a facelift?

  • There is no special treatment that should be done before surgery. However, most surgeons recommend switching to a healthy diet, taking vitamin and sometimes zinc supplements, avoiding stressors, and taking a shower with an antibacterial soap the night before the surgery. On the day of your facelift, you should not take a shower, not wash your face or your hair. You should not take any food or water (including small sips of water).

Should I lose weight before a facelift?

  • Ideally speaking, you should lose weight long before the facelift surgery. You should have a stable weight for a period of 6 months to 1 year before any kind of surgery. This allows the skin to get as tight as it naturally can, ensures an easier and shorter surgery. During recovery, lower body fat content also ensures that you are healthier and that your recovery is shorter and more successful.

What is the Facelift Checklist?

  • This is a facelift checklist you may want to stick to before and after your facelift surgery:
  1. Run your errands early – you will not be able to leave your house for several days and possibly a week or two,
  2. Buy any medication you may need immediately after the surgery – again, you will not be able to leave the house and run to a local pharmacy in case you forget anything,
  3. Buy enough gauze to have at home,
  4. Take care of any entertainment you may need while recovering – books, magazines, iPad can all help you pass your time faster,
  5. Take good care of the spaces you will be spending your time in – this includes your bedroom, patio and living room sofa – they should be clean and have plenty of pillows for you to prop yourself with,
  6. Prepare plenty of loose, comfortable clothes – you may not be able to do the laundry for the first few days,
  7. Stock up your pantry – no shopping and no leaving the house for a few days,
  8. Buy plenty of cold compresses and store them in your fridge, so they are cold as soon as you get back home,
  9. Buy incision and scar care products,
  10. Prepare a detailed family medical history and any paperwork your surgeon may have asked for,
  11. Take a shower the night before your surgery – use antibacterial soap.

Rhytidectomy Procedure FAQs

Where are facelift scars located?

  • The facelift scars start at the temple, are hidden in the hairline and wrap around your earlobe, where they are hidden in the natural crevices and are barely visible. Your scars will be barely visible, but if you are still worried about their prominency, you may opt for a scar revision procedure once they are fully matured.

How many hours does a facelift take?

  • A simple facelift takes some 2 to 4 hours to complete. The actual time spent in the surgical theatre also depends on additional procedures that are done and possible risks and complications. Consult your specialised plastic surgeon for a more detailed approximation of your facelift duration.

Does a facelift lift your neck?

  • Yes, a facelift lifts your neck as well. During the facelift procedure, your neck is tightened by tightening the lower half of your face. If you need an additional lift in the neck, you may also discuss a neck lift procedure with your specialised plastic surgeon. They will be able to assess your situation and recommend the appropriate procedure.

Does a mini facelift tighten the neck?

  • A mini facelift or rhytidectomy does not tighten your neck. A mini facelift will tighten your face and reduce your jowls a little bit, giving your jawline more prominence and definition. However, it does not address the neck, so if you plan on getting a mini facelift, you should also consider a neck lift to ensure a truly rejuvenated face with no sagging skin.

What is the difference between a facelift and a neck lift?

  • A facelift is a surgical procedure that tightens and rejuvenates the skin on your face, starting from the corner of your eyes to the ears and the jawline. A neck lift is a surgical procedure which recontours your neck, removes the neck fat tissue and tightens the skin. The two surgeries have a common goal but address different areas of your head. The facelift and neck lift procedures are commonly combined for even better results.

Does a facelift get rid of wrinkles?

  • Yes. a facelift removes wrinkles, sagging skin and any unwanted facial contours. It is a truly rejuvenating solution that gives good results that last a lifetime. Suppose you are worried that your facelift may not address all your wrinkles. In that case, you can combine it with some other surgical procedures, such as a browlift, eyelid lift, a neck lift or even some non-surgical procedures, such as dermal fillers or anti-wrinkle injectables.

Facelift Recovery FAQs

How long does it take to recover from a face lift?

  • Most facelift recovery takes place in the initial two weeks after the surgery. Most bruising and swelling will be gone by this time, and you may go back to your normal way of life some four weeks post-op.

How long does it take to recover from a facelift and Necklift?

  • A facelift and neck lift recovery is a complex surgical procedure, and the recovery may take some 2-3 weeks post-op to complete. Because this procedure covers a larger area than just a facelift, the facelift and neck lift recovery takes somewhat longer than just a facelift recovery. You should take plenty of rest during the recovery time and have a healthy diet to ensure a speedy recovery without complications.

How do you get rid of a lump after a facelift?

  • The best way to get rid of a lump after a facelift is to have a manual lymphatic drainage procedure. Lumps that may appear after a facelift procedure are a build-up of the lymph in the tissues operated on. The manual lymphatic drainage procedure should be done before and after a facelift procedure to ensure proper draining of the lymph and a fast recovery.

How do you sleep after a facelift?

  • After a facelift, you should always sleep on your back, with the back of your head resting on the pillow. You should sleep like this for at least 2-3 weeks. This sleeping position will reduce bruising and swelling after a facelift and speed up your recovery. Sleeping on your side after a facelift or rhytidectomy can compromise the facelift results.

How long after a facelift can I sleep on my side?

  • You can sleep on your side some three weeks after a facelift procedure. You should always discuss sleeping on your side with your specialised plastic surgeon because every patient is different, and recovery times vary. Your surgeon will be able to evaluate your state and give a good estimate of when you can stop sleeping on your back.

How long should I ice after a facelift?

  • You should ice after a facelift for as long as there is some swelling. You should apply the icepack for some 10-20 minutes at a time, several times a day. Cover the face with a thin cloth before applying the icepack since directly applying the icepack to the skin can cause redness and burns.

How do you reduce swelling after a facelift?

  • Here are some tips to reduce facelift swelling:
    • Take plenty of rest – rest promotes healing,
    • Take short walks around your house in the first few days – promotes blood flow, reduces swelling and speeds up the recovery,
    • Apply cold packs or ice packs – calms the skin down, reduces swelling, redness and discomfort,
    • Have a good diet before and after a facelift – a healthy body heals faster and with fewer facelift complications,
    • Sleep on your back – to promote lymph drainage.

How long is the face swollen after a facelift?

  • Most of the facelift swelling will be gone in the first 2-4 weeks. After this period, the rest of the swelling will slowly subside over several months. Please note that in younger patients, the recovery and swelling times may be shorter.

How long should you wear a compression bandage after a facelift?

  • You should wear a compression bandage after a facelift for the first two to three weeks. You should wear a compression bandage for your facelift day and night, even when you are sleeping. It is OK to take it off occasionally, but be mindful that not wearing it for a prolonged time can compromise the results.

What happens if you don’t wear a compression garment after a facelift?

  • You will compromise your facelift results if you do not wear a compression garment after it. A compression garment applies pressure to your face, reducing the swelling and the swelling time. Not wearing it compromises the results since the skin may not reattach itself properly; it prolongs the healing time and causes discomfort.

Can I sleep without my compression garment?

  • No, you should not sleep without a compression garment after your facelift procedure. Wearing a compression garment at night prevents night-time swelling, discomfort, and skin movement as you naturally move during the night. Be mindful that you should wear your compression garment 24/7 after a facelift.

How long should I wear chin strap after neck lipo?

You should wear a chin strap for the first three days non stop after a chin lipo. After this, you may wear it at night only or as otherwise suggested by your surgeon. Wearing your chin strap after a chin lipo is crucial for good, long-lasting neck lipo results.

How long should I wear a chin strap after a facelift?

You should wear a chin strap for two weeks after your facelift. Wearing a chin strip or a compression garment reduces swelling and shortens the recovery time. You can take off your chin strip while taking a shower or while washing it, but not for too long.

How long does the tightness last after a facelift?

  • Some tightness is normal after a facelift since your skin gets tightened and swollen. The sensation of pulling or tightening your skin can last for two months after the surgery, as your skin settles in. Apply cold compresses to your neck and lower face to reduce swelling.

How long do ears hurt after a facelift?

  • Your ears may hurt after a facelift. This is a normal part of facelift recovery. The feeling of pain and pressure in your ears or earlobe pain after facelift should be gone in around two weeks.

How long before a facelift looks natural?

  • Your facelift will look very natural one month post-op. However, some of the swelling may still be present, so you should wait for several more months for it to be completely gone. You should see final results and the most natural-looking facelift results some six months post-facelift.

How long does it take to look normal after a facelift?

  • You will look progressively more ‘normal’ or ‘natural’ as time passes past the initial two weeks after a facelift. After the second week, most of the bruising and swelling will be gone, and the little swelling that may persist will be completely gone after a few months.

How can I speed up my facelift recovery?

  • You can speed up your facelift recovery by:
    • Having a healthy diet both before and after your surgery,
    • Avoiding stressors before and after your facelift procedure,
    • Taking plenty of rest,
    • Being disciplined with any post-op therapy, your specialised plastic surgeon has prescribed,
    • Applying cold compresses and wearing a compression garment.

What is the fastest way to recover from a facelift?

  • Recovering from a facelift is similar to recovery from any other plastic surgical procedure. It takes a lot of rest, downtime and a disciplined approach to post-op therapy to shorten the recovery time. Eating a healthy diet rich in vitamins, fibres and zink may also promote faster healing and wearing a compression garment 24/7 for the first weeks will guarantee minimal swelling and the best-looking results.

Should you massage your face after a facelift?

  • Yes, you should gently massage your face after a facelift. Massaging your face after a rhytidectomy promotes blood flow, drains the lymph to reduce swelling, and prevents toxin build-up in the operated area. Face massage after a facelift is a proven way to improve the healing process.

How do you take care of your face after a facelift?

  • Taking care of your face after a facelift is a little bit more demanding than before your facelift procedure. You should not wash your face for the first 48 hours after the surgery. After this period, you can wash your face with mild soap. Wearing a compression garment and massaging your face after a facelift can significantly improve results and shorten the recovery time.

When can I wash my hair after a facelift?

  • You should not wash your hair for the first 48 hours after a facelift. During this period, the majority of wound healing and skin reattaching itself happens. The wound should not get wet since irritation may develop.

How do you wash your hair after a facelift?

  • Forty-eight hours after your facelift procedure, you can wash your hair. You should wash your hair with lukewarm water and a mild, no-tear shampoo. Dry your hair with a blow dryer on a low, cold setting since hot air may cause wound irritation and infection. If a family member can help you wash your hair, they should: ideally, you should bend over the bathtub back down while the family member gently washes and rinses your hair.

What can you eat after a facelift?

  • After a facelift or rhytidectomy, you should eat many lean proteins, dark leafy greens and as many fruits and vegetables as you want. A good, healthy diet will promote healing and shorten your recovery time. Furthermore, avoiding inflammatory foods such as meats and dairy products can shorten recovery time and help to heal.

What to expect after a facelift?

  • Immediately after a facelift, you can expect some discomfort. Mild pain and swelling will appear in the next day or two. The pain can be managed using pain relievers. In the following days after a rhytidectomy, bruising will appear. You should wear a compression garment to suppress bruising and swelling. By the third week, most of the bruising and swelling will be gone, and you will be able to see around 90% of your rejuvenated, refreshed face.

Facial Rejuvenation Longer-Term Results FAQs

How long do the effects of a facelift last?

  • Facelift effects are permanent in the sense that the skin that is removed is gone for good. However, your skin will continue ageing after your facelift. This is why some people choose to have a second facelift well over a decade after the first one. You should note that facelifts done at a younger age have much longer-lasting effects than facelifts done later.

Does a facelift make you look younger?

  • Yes, a facelift makes you look much younger. A facelift tightens your skin and the underlying tissues for a refreshed and a rejuvenated look that lasts for years. Patients report looking on average 12 years younger after a rhytidectomy.

How often should you get a facelift?

  • You should get a facelift every ten or more years. It is recommended that you have your first facelift in your late forties, with a second one in the early 60s. This gives a period of some 15 years, during which your skin looks refreshed and rejuvenated.

How long will a facelift last?

  • A facelift lasts some 10-15 years. How long your facelift will last depends on how actively you care for your skin and how well the first facelift was performed. Always choose the best specialised plastic surgeons for your facial surgery.

Is a facelift permanent?

  • Yes, a face lift is permanent in the sense that the skin that your surgeon removed cannot come back. The remaining skin ages after a rhytidectomy and will eventually return to the point that you may need a second or a refresher facelift. This usually happens a long time after the first facelift, some 10-15 years after.

How can you tell if someone had a facelift?

  • Modern-day facelifts are difficult to detect since all the scars are very well hidden and the pulling or skin tightening during a facelift is much more subtle than it used to be. An ‘old’ facelift can be recognised by scars placed in front of the ear, stretched lips and eyes, and pulled earlobes.

Rhytidectomy Risks And Complications FAQs

Can a facelift make you look worse?

  • A facelift that an inexperienced surgeon does can give less-than-ideal results. To make sure your facelift makes you look prettier and rejuvenated, always choose the best facelift surgeons. They should be certified surgeons with ample experience and operate in a great surgical theatre to minimise and risks and deliver the results you want.

What is a pixie ear after a facelift?

  • Facelifts result in some tension that may pull the earlobe resulting in what is known as a pixie-ear. The condition is not serious, and once the facelift has healed, it can be successfully corrected in a clinic. Your surgeon will use local anaesthesia during the procedure of a pixie-ear removal.

Does a facelift get rid of wrinkles?

  • Yes, a facelift will get rid of the majority of wrinkles. If any wrinkles remain even after the facelift procedure, you may correct them further through dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injections. A full facelift involving an eye lift and a chin lift should leave no wrinkles.

Do facelifts ever look natural?

  • Yes, facelifts can look very natural if they are done by a specialised plastic surgeon with ample experience in facial surgery. The most natural-looking facelift is a Deep-Plane Facelift which moves the skin together with the underlying tissues, causing a minimal surface disturbance. Always choose the best surgeon you can find for face rejuvenation.

Does a facelift affect your ears?

  • A facelift may place some stress and tension on the ears, causing them to be pulled or form the so-called pixie ears. A surgeon can easily resolve this condition in a clinic. Your surgeon will release the tension and the pulling under local anaesthesia.

Facelift Financing FAQs

Is lower face lift worth it?

  • Yes, a lower facelift is worth it. Most patients are very satisfied with their rejuvenated looks, tighter neck and no sagging jowls. They also report looking on average some 12 years younger and say that the recovery time is worth the benefits of younger, rejuvenated faces.

How much does a facelift for jowls cost?

  • The cost of a facelift costs varies in Australia. The factors to consider are how big the area to be operated on is, what kind of facelift you would like to get, all the costs of the surgeon, the hospital fees, anaesthetician’s fees, and many others. Beware of cheap surgery, since it comes at compromised standards and patient’s safety. For more information about facelift prices – visit the surgery pricing page.

Further Reading about Post Surgery Complication for Plastic Surgery

Last updated: 28/04/2022
Author profile image
Dr Richard Sackelariou - MBBS, BMedSc, FRACS (Plast)
Dr Richard Sackelariou, MBBS, FRACS/FRCS, is a leading Sydney Specialist Plastic, Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgeon who sees patients in two locations: Double Bay, Sydney and Melbourne VIC (Australia). Dr Sackelariou offers extensive experience in attaining natural-looking, excellent surgical results for patients of all ages. Graduate of Sydney University, FRACS, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery plus additional training in Cosmetic Surgery in Paris at the Clinique Turin in 1994. BIO PAGE: Click here

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Disclaimer: Results depend on individual patient circumstances and can vary significantly. Results may also be impacted by a variety of factors including your lifestyle, weight, nutritional intake and overall health. Consult your Specialist Plastic Surgeon for details. This information is general in nature and is not intended to be medical advice nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Surgery risks and complications will be covered in detail during a consultation with your Surgeon.