Added by Klaudia Grabowska on 12.01.2021

What is facelift surgery- rhytidectomy?

Close up of smiling senior woman with eyes closed

Thanks to modern medicine and different options of plastic procedures many people have the opportunity to postpone the aging process and feel better. One of them is a facelift surgery

There are many people who feel much younger than they actually are. No wonder, they want to look younger also. Face is the first body part seen and assessed by others, so obviously we pay a great attention to the look of our faces. Modern medicine gives us the opportunity to postpone the ageing process by doing face plastic surgery.

Facelift, also called rhytidectomy, is a plastic surgery which improves the look of the face. Generally, face lift is dedicated to elderly people who want their face to look younger – it reduces skin folds and sagging skin, smooths wrinkles on cheeks area and improves the jawline contour. As a result, facelift surgery makes the face more firm and youthful.

In details, the plastic surgery face lift improves the following signs of ageing:

  • relaxed and sagging skin
  • deep fold lines between the mouth corners and nose are deepened
  • jowls in cheeks and jaw areas
  • loose skin
  • excess fat in the face or neck area.

Regarding the effects, facelift results are spectacular and can make a face look totally different – healthy, young, and firm for years. However, we should remember that the ageing process is natural and nothing can stop it, so even face lift patients need to deal with it. 

Reasons for facelift surgery

If you are wondering how to tighten skin, how to look younger or how to get rid of saggy skin, you should consider facelift because it can resolve all these problems. It is the most effective cosmetic surgery to look younger.

The most common reasons for face lift include:

  • a lack of neck or chin definition due to loose skin or excess fat
  • the elasticity and tone of muscles is reduced, which results in sagging skin and wrinkles
  • deep wrinkles
  • deep creases and jowls in the nose and mouth areas
  • maintenance of youthful appearance 
  • face tiredness.

The other reason for facelift is its durability in comparison with its non-surgical alternatives. There are dozens of facial cosmetic procedures, but usually, they need to be repeated very soon and their effects are rather short-term. Facelift, on the other hand, is much more expensive, but the results are long lasting, so overall the cost of the facelift surgery and cost of numerous cosmetic procedures are very similar. What is also important, facelift can improve people’s confidence, social life, and mental health, which in fact is much more important than the physical look. 

Jowls

Close-up of worried senior woman

Jowls is a sagging skin of the chin and jawline. Facelift surgery can help to eliminate them

Jowls is a term describing the sagging skin of the chin and jawline. Over time, our skin becomes less elastic and thinner, which naturally results in sagging jowls – of course, if people have a thick skin, more collagen and fat in the face and neck area, they might never have such a problem. Also, such factors as genes, lifestyle or environment matter in developing jowls face problems. 

The truth is, many people suffer from jowls, which makes them feel uncomfortable, unattractive and timid, which is why they try to find the best procedure for sagging jowls. So, we have good news for those wondering how to get rid of jowls and how to get a good jawline. Namely, the best treatment for jowls sagging is facelift as it involves the jowl lift (facelift is sometimes called a jawline surgery or sagging jowls treatment). 

What are jowls?

The jowls meaning is rather obvious – it is the sagging skin that has developed around the neck and chin areas giving the impression of a double chin or a “turkey” neck. 

What causes jowls?

Jowls are caused by the following factors:

  • age (skin tends to lose elasticity and flexibility due to limited elastin and collagen stores)
  • poor diet (especially lack of healthy fats and antioxidants)
  • sedentary lifestyle
  • sun exposure
  • chronic dehydration
  • alcohol and cigarettes
  • poor daily hygiene.
  • genes.

Regardless of the reason, jowls can be treated with cosmetic procedures (e.g. fillers) as well as plastic surgery (facelift). This problem is purely aesthetic and does not cause any harm to the person, but it can make people feel unattractive and anxious, so it is a good idea to get rid of them and restore self-confidence and attractiveness. 

Deep facial wrinkles

Smiling mature man standing on the beach

Facial wrinkles are the most visible signs of ageing

When we think about the ageing process, the first connotation is usually a wrinkles problem. Facial wrinkles, such as forehead wrinkles, eye wrinkles, under eye wrinkles or generally wrinkly skin are the most visible signs of ageing. There are many sources explaining how to get rid of wrinkles in general, or more specifically how to get rid of forehead wrinkles and what is the best treatment for wrinkles around the mouth. However, the truth is that there is no solution that would eliminate facial wrinkles. Some cosmetics or procedures may postpone the ageing process, but the wrinkles would not disappear. The wrinkles tend to be more distinct over time and give the impression of an old face – they are called deep wrinkles. Once a person struggles with deep wrinkles, the only way of making them less visible is facelift surgery. Any other non-surgical treatments for facial lines wrinkles and folds that are deep are just ineffective.

Once ageing is inevitable, there are other reasons for the appearance of wrinkles that we can control.

They include:

  • exposure to the sun (we should avoid UV light because it breaks down the fibres of collagen and elastin)
  • smoking (the ageing process including wrinkles is much faster for smokers)
  • repeated expressions, e.g. smiling or squinting
  • diet rich in vegetables (there are some Vitamins that protect the skin)
  • daily hygiene and cosmetic habits (when we are moisturizing every day with good-quality cosmetics, we can reduce wrinkles visibility).

Sagging cheeks

The relaxation of face skin and tissues is a natural effect of ageing. The saggy skin on face, clearly visible in the cheeks area, makes the impression of a droopy face.

There are 4 ways of resolving this problem categorized by the method:

  • redraping (e.g. facelift or neck lift)
  • refilling (injectable fillers or fat transfer)
  • relaxing (e.g. brow lift or botox)
  • repairing (e.g. laser resurfacing or skin rejuvenation).

Similarly to jowls and wrinkles, the best and most effective method for saggy face skin on cheeks is facelift – it allows for a complex improvement of face and neck skin, tissues and muscles that will last for years. 

What does facelift surgery include?

Portrait thoughtful beautiful young woman looking up

Before undergoing facelift surgery, the patient must be aware of what is included in the scope of the surgery otherwise facelift results may be disappointing

The scope of facelift surgery is set by the clinic and may vary, so patients should always ask what exactly is included in the facelift surgery before making the final decision. Generally, clinics offer separate surgeries for eyelids or sagging neck skin, but can also include them in full facelift when patients need them as well. So, the range of facelift is very individual, however, there are some areas that are generally included. They are jowl lift, removal of saggy skin on face, upper neck and cheeks. It is also worth mentioning that a qualified and professional plastic surgeon will always advise which areas should be operated to achieve the expected results and sometimes eyelid or neck procedures are inevitable, otherwise, facelift results would be disappointing. 

What is not included in facelift surgery?

The areas that are included or excluded in facelift surgery differ and depend on the clinic and surgeon. However, in the vast majority of clinics, facelift does not include upper eyelids, lower eyelids, forehead/brow area and neck. Of course, if needed, these procedures are performed together with facelift, however then, the cost of the surgery increases. 

Forehead lift / brow lift

Eyebrow lift (or brow lift) is also called a forehead lift. The main idea of this procedure is raising the brows, which improves the forehead and brows look. Forehead lift surgery is performed when patients have sagging brows, deep wrinkles in the forehead area, or brow asymmetry.

There are 3 techniques for this surgery:

  • coronal brow lift (the incision is made behind the hairline from ear to ear; the main assumption of this technique is dissecting the part of forehead)
  • endoscopic brow lift (the incisions are made behind the hairline; the surgeon lifts the forehead tissues by inserting the endoscope and instrument through these cuts. Once the forehead tissues are lifted, the surgeon fixes them with tiny screws or sutures and closes the incisions)
  • hairline brow lift (the incisions are between hairline and top of forehead; a small amount of tissue and skin is removed from the upper forehead; after this procedure, the hairline is not pulled back).

Eyelid surgery

Eyelid surgery is an eye lift surgery that involves upper, lower, or both eyelids. Over time, the skin around the eyes becomes more and more sagging making us look old and tired, also it might cause problems with side vision. The excess fat and skin gather below or above the eyelids causing bags under the eyes, droopy upper lids, or sagging eyebrows.

The eye-lift surgery is a good solution for the following problems:

  • droopy or baggy upper eyelids
  • bags under eyes
  • saggy skin under eyes
  • excessive skin on the lower eyelids
  • excessive skin on the upper eyelids causing problems with peripheral vision.

The results of eyelid surgery may last for a lifetime, which is it’s great advantage. Yet, it is not a rule and sometimes people experience the recurrence of excessive skin or fat. What is also interesting, when the upper eyelid causes vision problems, the eyelid surgery may be covered by the insurance. The lower eyelids are always operated for cosmetic reasons.

purple band on head

Neck Lift surgery is a separate procedure, but it may be connected with facelift surgery

Necklift surgery

Neck lift is a surgery that involves jawline and neck areas. In details, neck lift surgery solves the following problems:

  • loose skin around the neck
  • deposits of fat under the chin
  • muscle banding in the neck
  • excess fat and relaxation of skin in the lower face.

The above concerns mainly result from gravity, heredity, stress, and environmental conditions. Neck lift surgery procedure can be performed as an individual surgery, however more often it is combined with a full facelift or mini facelift surgeries. 

What is a mini facelift surgery / lower facelift surgery?

Mini face lift, also called lower facelift, is a surgery that improves the look of a lower third of face. It aims at smoothing deep wrinkles as well as tightening and lifting loose skin. After mini face lift jowls, chin, jawline, and neck areas look more youthful, smooth, and firm. Mini face lift UK is particularly popular among people in their 40s who experience the first signs of ageing. Patients undergoing a mini facelift tend to look even 10-15 years younger than they actually are – it makes a big difference for their physical and mental condition. 

Benefits of mini facelift include:

  • less risk of complications or side effects
  • less scaring compared with full facelift
  • short recovery time
  • much better contours of cheek bone
  • no jowls or sagging cheeks
  • fewer wrinkles
  • boosted self-confidence.

Lastly, whether patients are recommended full or mini facelift depends on their needs, expectations, age, and health condition, so it is always a good idea to follow the surgeon’s recommendations regarding the type of facelift that would be the most effective for an individual.

Full facelift vs mini facelift vs necklift – differences

Below, we present the comparison of a full facelift, mini facelift, and neck lift.

 

Full Facelift


Mini Facelift


Necklift



Other name

traditional facelift, rhytidectomyS-lift, weekend face lift
platysmaplasty


Areas involved

mid face and lower face (sometimes upper part of neck)
lower face and neck or cheek area
neck

Incisions

in front of ears up to the hairline and behind ears up to the hair-bearing scalpbeneath ears
under the chin and around ears

Anaesthesia

generallocal with sedationgeneral or local with sedation

Hospitalization

yes, at least 1 night in the hospitalleaving the clinic a few hours after the surgerymaximum 1 night in the hospital


Procedure time

several hours
on average 1,5-2h1-3 hours


Results

permanent, but not immediateimmediate results lasting up to yearsimmediate and permanent


Recovery

on average 2 weeks; stitches are removed 7 days after surgery, bruising lasting up to 2 weeks, light numbness lasting for 1-2 monthsbandages taken off after 2 days, stitches removed after 7 daysbandages and drains are put for 48 hours, stitches removed after 7 days

Return to work

on average after 2 weekson average after a week
on average after 2 weeks

Risks

infections, bleeding, bruising, anaesthesia risks, skin loss, injury of facial nerves, hair loss at the incision places,numbness, fluid accumulationblood clotting, bleeding, bruising, infections, numbnessanaesthesia risks, bleeding, infections, thick scarring, nerve injury, skin loss, blood clots, open wounds

Cost UK

on average £10 000£4000 - £7000£3600 - £5000

Benefits of facelift surgery

Facelift is an extremely popular plastic surgery and the best method of achieving a younger look and slowing down the ageing process. It concerns the face – the body part that both men and women pay the greatest attention to. No wonder, we want to look bright and youthful despite getting older.

Below, we list the benefits of facelift surgery.

woman with brown hair smiling

There are many benefits of facelift surgery but one of the most important is a good self-feeling

Youthful look

Facelift surgery focuses on pulling up the skin and improving all the sagging face areas and tightening the face muscles. As a result, the face is firm, tights and looks very youthful. Usually, patients look as if they were – years younger.

Increased self-confidence

Facelift patients unanimously admit that the surgery boosts their sense of self-worth and increases their confidence and attractiveness. Undoubtedly, face is the first area that is judged by others and is on display all the time, so it is totally ok that we want our face to look attractive and we feel much better knowing it does look like that. 

Fine face contours

The face contours are always perceived as attractive and nice-looking. Regarding mid face, the cheeks become smoother and more defined, and as for lower face, the jawline is more pronounced and tight. Altogether, all face contours are subtly shaped and highlighted.

Portrait of handsome young man at olive farm

Facelift results can last even for 10-15 years

Facelift results can last even for 10-15 years

The results are natural

The medicine including plastic surgeries has developed sustainably and modern techniques for facelift guarantee the significant improvement of face look maintaining the natural look.

Long-lasting effects

Of course, the facelift longevity depends on such factors as the patient’s age, genes, daily hygiene, lifestyle, stress, and environment. On average, the gravity, ageing and individual predispositions make the skin sagging again after some time. So usually, patients enjoy the facelift results for 10-15 years. Yet, many patients are happy with even life-time results.

Types of facelift surgery

There are several types of facelift surgery. Below we list 3 types which are the most popular worldwide. All of the types of facelift below are certified surgeries, but it is always the surgeon who advises patients on the best facelift surgery that would give them the best results. 

SMAS facelift

Senior woman cleaning her skin

There are a few types of facelift surgery. One of the most popular are SMAS, Deep Plane facelift, and MACS facelift

The SMAS facelift, also called SMAS lifting or deep rhytidectomy, is a procedure that goes underneath the fibrous layer covering the muscles, called SMAS. Since it goes very deep, there is a higher risk of damaging the nerves than in other facelift types. SMAS facelift UK is dedicated to people who struggle with a saggy skin on neck and face but still have some skin elasticity and defined bone structure. Regarding the SMAS facelift technique results, it lifts mainly the lower face (especially the neck and jawline) – as a result, the skin is smooth, firm and tight. 

Deep plane facelift

SMAS facelift involves only upper layers of skin, but the truth is, some effects of ageing concern much deeper layers. Here, deep plane facelift is much more effective – it concerns all the skin layers and underlying tissues without separating them. In addition, it does not provoke any strain or tension on the muscles or skin, which may be the problem of SMAS facelift. The procedure time, incision places and are generally the same for SMAS and deep plane facelift. Also, deep plane facelift recovery time is as in other facelifts types. The results of deep plane facelift are really natural and subtle, so it is important that patients have realistic expectations towards the procedure.

MACS facelift

MACS facelift concerns only the lower face, namely chin, jowls and nasolabial folds. The macs facelift technique is also called mini facelift. The main advantage of this facelift is the lower price compared to SMAS or deep plane techniques, it is also less intensive and burdening. Because it involves less area and is less extensive, the MACS facelift scars are smaller and the MACS facelift recovery time is shorter than in full facelift. This procedure is a good solution for people noticing the first signs of ageing whose skin is still elastic (for patients with significant skin laxity, doctors recommend full facelift).

Please see the comparison of SMAS, deep plane and MACS facelifts below.

 


SMAS Facelift



Deep Plane Facelift



MACS Facelift



Facelift type

full facelift
full facelift
mini facelift


Areas involved

two-thirds of the face
two-thirds of the face
only lower face


The technique

only skin layers just below the surface are involved
the deep skin layers with tissues beneath them are involved
the deep skin layers with tissues beneath them are involved


Incisions

incisions start around the temple hair, go to to the ear, then behind the ear up to hairlineincisions start around the temple hair, go to to the ear, then behind the ear up to hairlineincisions start around temple hair and go to the ear (but do not reach back of the ear or posterior hairline)

Anaesthesia

general
general
local with sedation or general, depending on the complexity

Procedure time

about 4 hoursabout 4 hoursabout 2.5 hours

Recovery

up to 3 weeksup to 3 weeks1-2 weeks

Results

long-lasting, however sometimes the look is “too young” being unnatural long-lasting, very subtle and natural lookon average 10 years

Facelift candidate

Both men and women are good candidates for facelift. In fact, facelift surgery for men is as popular as for women. The final decision regarding the surgery is always the patient’s.

Smiling businessman looking away

Facelift surgery is very popular among both men and women. Each candidate have to meet some criteria to be qualified for the surgery

However, there are some criteria that may disqualify facelift candidates, so it is good to know them. Firstly, the general health condition matters, especially that full facelift for sagging skin on face is done under general anaesthesia. Also, the facial skin needs to have some flexibility and elasticity, which might be the problem for smokers or people following a sedentary lifestyle and poor diet. Regarding the bone structure, some patients who have a weak bone in the chin or cheeks area might be disqualified from the facelift surgery just because they will not achieve the expected results. The next factor is age. It is important to realise that there is no age range for facelift patients.

However, a facelift on young person is rather impossible simply because it is not needed. Surgeons look rather at the skin texture and condition, genetic age, and health condition while qualifying patients for facelift, so some people may be good candidates for facelift in their early 40s, while others only in their 70s – it is very individual. Lastly, it is of utmost importance to have realistic expectations towards the procedure – patients should be aware that their face will look much younger, more attractive, and defined, but they will still look like themselves, not someone else. 

Facelift contradictions

Facelift is a surgery performed under general anaesthesia, so patients must be in a good health condition to bear the anaesthesia.

The medical tests usualy performed before full facelift are:

  • blood group,
  • coagulation parameters (APTT, PT/INR),
  • glucose, CBC,
  • electrolytes (Na, K),
  • anti-HCV and anti-HIV antibodies,
  • creatinine,
  • electrocardiogram,
  • urinalysis
  • and chest X-ray.

If any of the tests result is worrying, the surgeon has the right to postpone the surgery until a patient improves his/her health.

The other contradictions to the facelift surgery are:

  • mental illnesses
  • active infectious disease
  • untreated hormonal imbalances
  • untreated diabetes
  • untreated hypertension
  • venous thrombosis
  • heart diseases
  • pregnancy
  • menstrual bleeding
  • untreated bronchial asthma.

What is more, patients always have the consultation with the surgeon before the surgery. Then, a surgeon aims at understanding the expectations and needs of a patient. If these expectations are unrealistic and unreasonable, the surgeon may refuse to perform the surgery.

Facelift procedure

Woman face marked before plastic surgery

A facelift is a complicated surgery, and it may last from 2.5 to 4.5 hours

Facelift procedure is always performed by a plastic surgeon. It is one of the most exhaustive plastic surgeries. How long does facelift surgery take? Well, the time depends on the complexity of the surgery, it may last from 2,5 to 4,5 hours.

There are 4 main facelift procedure steps.

Step 1 – applying the anaesthesia

The type of anaesthesia for facelift surgery depends on the face areas involved. For mini facelift, local anaesthesia with sedation is enough while for full facelift, general anesthesia is required. If mini facelift is combined with other procedures, e.g. eyelid surgery, the surgeon may decide to use general anesthesia also. Generally, the type of anaesthesia is chosen during the consultation, so patients always know in advance which type they will get.

Step 2 – making the incisions

The number and places of the incisions depend on the facelift type – there are full facelift, mini facelift and neck lift. In the full facelift, the incision begins at the temples in the hairline, goes around the ears and ends in the lower scalp. Such an incision allows for removing the excess fat from the face including jowls and neck, repositioning the underlying tissue, and lifting deep face layers and muscles. There may also be the incision under the chin if this area also requires improvement. Regarding mini facelift, the incisions are shorter – only at the temples and around the ears. In neck lift, the incision goes around the ear – from the ear lobe to the posterior hair behind it. This incision allows for improving the look of jowls, chin and neck. 

Step 3 – incision closing

Despite the facelift type, the incisions are always closed with sutures. Surgeons may use either dissolvable or regular stitches. If there are regular stitches, they need to be removed by a doctor 7-10 days after the surgery. Patients should not worry about the scars after facelift surgery because they are perfectly hidden within the hairline and the natural face creases. 

Step 4 – seeing the effects

For the first days after the surgery, patients experience bruising and swelling, but day by day the face looks much better. The final results appear within 3 months. 

Facelift recovery and aftercare

Recovery time after facelift surgery is very important, so patients should be well-prepared and informed about this post-op period. In the first days, patients should pay attention mainly to the healing areas, that is incision places. The stitches are usually removed a week after the surgery. Before the cuts are covered with bandages, also your head and neck might be wrapped with gauze. The elastic bandage may be used for the chin and top of your head. However, some of the bandages are removed a day after the surgery. Sometimes, the surgeon may decide to put drains which remove the excessive fluid and blood from the neck and face. If so, patients must be informed about the drain care after facelift surgery. 

young doctor

In general, the recovery from facelift surgery takes 4-6 weeks. The face starts to look much better and patients can enjoy the facelift results

The first days of recovery after facelift surgery are difficult. There is bruising and swelling on the face, which might get much worse, however, it should disappear within 1-2 weeks. There may be also bruises in the chest and neck areas – it is caused by pure gravity which makes blood and bruising go downward. As for pain after facelift surgery, it may last up to 4-5 days. In addition, patients may have some problems with mouth opening because the skin is numb. The numbness should disappear within 6 weeks (however, some patients feel numb for a few months). 

So, how long does it take to recover from facelift surgery? In general, the recovery from facelift surgery takes 4-6 weeks. The face starts to look much better and patients can enjoy the facelift results. At this stage, the effects are really satisfying, but it is 3-4 months until the face reaches the final look. Of course, everyone recovers differently, so it might be a very short time for some patients and at least 4 months for others.

Below, we present some tips vital for patients in facelift recovery:

  • rest as much as you can
  • do not drive for the first days after surgery
  • get enough sleep and try to sleep on even 3 pillows so that your head is ip
  • go for a walk frequently
  • take time off work for 1-2 weeks after surgery, or if you work physically, maybe 3 weeks would be necessary
  • avoid tiring activities (e.g. jogging or weight lifting) for 3 weeks
  • follow all the doctor’s instructions regarding daily hygiene, scars care and showering
  • men should be careful about shaving
  • diet should consist of soft food (e.g. yogurt, soups, juices, scrambled eggs) for the first days after surgery
  • take medications prescribed or recommended by the surgeon and consult with him any other medications before taking them
  • attend all check up visits in the facelift recovery time and if you have any questions regarding recovery dos and don’ts, contact the doctor to get reliable information. 

Facelift results

Facelift surgery results are not visible immediately and each patient should be aware of the fact that at the beginning the face is bruised and swollen and its look is far away from this desired one. The professional and experienced surgeon always aims at giving patients the natural results which give the younger look, but also age with them to some extent. 

The long-lasting facelift results guarantee a rested, youthful, smooth, and fresh face. Also, the jowls and creases are smoothed. On average, patients look ten years younger – so if you have the surgery in your 50s, you look as if you are 40, and ten years later (when you are 60)  you look as if you were just 50. In addition, facelift positively influences mental health – patients gain much confidence, they feel attractive, fresh, and well-maintained.

How long does a facelift last?

happy lady

Each patient must be aware that facelift does not prevent the natural aging process, so with years, the face tends to change regardless of the performed surgeries

It is impossible to determine how long facelift results last just because everyone is different and there are many factors influencing the facelift results longevity. On average, however, it is estimated that full facelift results last about 15-20 years, which is remarkably long when compared to other facial procedures. It must be also stressed that facelift does not prevent the natural ageing process, so over years, our faces tend to change regardless of the performed surgeries.

Factors which are important for the results longevity include:

  • genes and skin condition (generally, patients with healthy and relatively dark skin enjoy results longer than patients some skin damages and fairer shade)
  • surgery technique (traditional full facelift guarantees better results than mini facelift or neck lift)
  • lifestyle (when patients follow a healthy balanced diet, practise sport and keep daily skin care are happy with youthful look much longer)
  • a surgeon’s experience (the more experienced and qualified surgeon, the better results are achieved)
  • sun exposure (facelift patients should use only SPF cosmetics and avoid exposing the face to the Sun)
  • hydration (drinking at least 2 litres of fluid a day is a minimum)
  • avoiding drinking alcohol and smoking to keep good skin condition
  • a balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables.

Facelift pros and cons

Before committing oneself to facelift, it is always good to check what are the pros and cons of the surgery. We list them below.

Advantages of full facelift surgery:

  • facial muscles are tightened
  • the facial contours are exposed and emphasised
  • loose and sagging skin is repaired
  • the effects are long lasting (sometimes life-lasting)
  • the scars are well-hidden and invisible
  • thanks to modern facelift techniques, the effects are natural
  • the mental health is improved
  • there is no need to perform other procedures on face for years.

Disadvantages of facelift surgery:

  • facelift does not include brow and eyelids
  • facelift does not solve the problem of minor wrinkles and fine lines
  • it requires a 2-week work break
  • it is a relatively expensive surgery
  • as a surgery under general anaesthesia, facelift entails some degree of complications
  • recovery time is rather painful and demanding.

Facelift side effects and complications

Each patient needs to be aware of the complications of facelift surgery before signing the consent form. In general, facelift is a safe surgery, but as any other procedure performed under general anaesthesia, it involves some risks. Patients should be particularly careful during facelift surgery recovery time and inform the surgeon about any worrying symptoms.

We list the possible risks of facelift surgery below:

  • risks connected with anaesthesia (it is very important not to hide any health problems otherwise this risk is extremely high);
  • infections
  • bleeding, including hematoma
  • face swelling and bruising, pain in the treated area (if these problems do not alleviate after a week, we advise patients to contact the surgeon)
  • poor healing of wounds, adverse scarring
  • fluid accumulation
  • skin necrosis
  • injury of facial nerves
  • hair loss in the incisions place
  • changes in sensation of skin, numbness
  • discoloration and irregularities of face skin
  • cardiac or pulmonary complications
  • disappointing results (e.g. face asymmetry, visible scars, deformities)
  • vein thrombosis.

As mentioned already, the above side effects of facelift surgery are rather rare or once they happen, they are rather normal (such as swelling, pain, bruising). Of course, patients should be explained all the potential risks before the surgery and during the recovery time, they should not hesitate to contact the doctor in case anything bad or worrying happens. 

Non surgical face lift- alternatives

Facelift is undoubtedly the most effective facial procedure giving long-lasting results. However, sometimes people just cannot afford it or are not qualified by the surgeon (e.g. due to their age or health condition). Then, they may try facelift alternatives, the most popular of which are non surgical face lift procedures. Non invasive face lift (also called non surgical facelift) is a term for procedures that refresh and rejuvenate the face without applying general anaesthesia, hospitalization or incisions.

The main advantages of non invasive face lift are as follows:

  • these are fast procedures
  • there is no or very little discomfort
  • the results are immediate
  • non surgical facelift cost is lower compared to facelift surgery
  • the qualification criteria are much wider than in facelift

The cons of non surgical facelifts include:

  • the results are “only” moderate
  • the procedure needs to be repeated regularly to keep the effects
  • the costs may add up over time.

There are many alternative to facelift surgery, which we list below, but regardless of the type, patients need to ask a professional for advice. The best would be consultation with a plastic surgeon, but there are also many professional beauty specialists who have expertise regarding non surgical facelift options. They will advise on the suitable treatment, e.g. best non surgical facelift for jowls or best non surgical face lift for wrinkles. 

Botox

Beautiful woman gets injection in her face

Botox is very effective for wrinkle reduction this is why it is so popular nowadays

Nowadays, botox injections are particularly popular and fancy. Many men and women decide to have it. But what is botox actually? It is a name for toxin that is produced by Clostridium Botulinum bacterium, hence botox is also called botulinum toxin. In the past, botox triggered only negative connotations because it causes botulism, however, the scientists discovered the positive aspect of botox once injected in small amounts. In aesthetic medicine, botox works in a way that it blocks the signal from nerves to muscles, as a result of which wrinkles are softened and relaxed. The face areas that are usually treated by botox are lines around the eyes, forehead lines and frown lines. Botox is very effective for wrinkle reduction, the only exception is wrinkles that are the effect of gravity or sun damage – botox here would be ineffective. 

Regarding the procedure itself, it is enough if a doctor applies topical anaesthesia or vibration anaesthesia with ice. It will numb the small area where botox will be injected. The botulinum toxin is injected into either skin or muscle with a very thin needle. Depending on a patient’s expectations and area involved, the amount of botox substance or number of injections may differ. Patients are able to return to their daily activities just after leaving the doctor’s office – the only restriction is not to massage or rub the treated body part for 24 hours because the toxin must spread after being injected. Botox effects last up to 6 months. After that time, the wrinkles may appear again, however, their intensity will be smaller. Botox prices are very low in comparison with a facelift, but patients should know that botox is a procedure that needs to be repeated to give the effects (even twice a year) while facelift duration is up to 20 years.

Being a non-invasive procedure, botox involves much less risk than facelift. But is botox safe? When it is performed by a professional, preferably a doctor, then yes, it is a very safe procedure.

The risks of botox, however very rare, include:

  • headache,
  • droopy or cockeyed eyelid,
  • pain,
  • swelling and bruising of the treated area, or
  • dryness of eyes.

The more serious complications that should never be ignored are:

  • problems with vision,
  • problems with breathing,
  • no bladder control,
  • or trouble with swallowing or speaking.

How long does botox last?

As with other cosmetic procedures, it is up to an individual how long the effects last. It is estimated that botox results last from 3 to 6 months. The factors that matter here are: patient’s age, muscle mass, the technique of injection, the toxin dilution and the area involved. What is interesting, the studies prove that the more injections patients have, the longer effects are. So, patients having botox for the first time should expect that their effects would last less than 6 months, but with every next procedure, this time will extend. 

Fat transfer

cosmetic procedure

Fat transfer is a procedure of taking fat from one body part and transferring it to another body part to improve its look. It can be used to fill wrinkles

Fat transfer is a procedure of taking fat from one body part and transferring it to another body part to improve its look. Fat transfer to the face is very popular – it is also called fat grafting or lipofilling. Fat injections in face help for the sunken cheeks, deep grooves, poor cheekbones, and visible lines between the cheeks and eyes. Apart from fat transfer for wrinkles, it may be used for lips enlarging. 

The fat is usually taken from the tummy or thigh by a liposculpture (the surgeon makes only 3-5mm incision). Once taken, the fat is then processed by filtering, centrifuging or rinsing to obtain a pure fatty tissue of a liquid form. Then, the fat is ready to be injected to another body part. The whole procedure of fat injections to face takes around an hour and is done under local anaesthesia.

The risk of fat transfer is really minimal, but patients should be aware of the side effects that they may experience. Regarding the donor area, there may be bruising and swelling, the feeling of tenderness, sometimes the drains are inevitable. In the treated area, patients may also be bruised and swollen and feel some pain. In general, after 7-10 days patients forget about any inconveniences and enjoy the results. 

What’s interesting, a surgeon always injects about 30% more fat than is needed because it is normal that some fat cells are absorbed and do not survive. So, at the beginning, the effects may seem to be too big, but after 3 months, when some fat cells die, the final results appear.

Dermal fillers

A dermal filler is an injection of gel which is usually made of hyaluronic acid. Dermal fillers may be injected to areas around the eyes, mouth, cheeks or wrinkles. Their aim is adding volume to the soft tissue, as a result of which wrinkles are filled in and deep lines are smoothed. Face fillers, e.g. jawline fillers, usually, last up to 18 months, however, it depends on an individual how long the effects are visible, the agreed minimum time of the effects is 6 months.

The procedure itself is very fast and simple. The only discomfort may result from injecting the gel, however, the involved area is anaesthetised with a cream. Afterwards, patients may feel swelling, bruising and tenderness, however, after a few days only, all the discomfort disappears. 

Some patients wonder what is the difference between dermal fillers and botox – well, botox blocks the muscles from making any movements while fillers fill in the wrinkles and droopy areas of the face. In general, dermal fillers are extremely popular and affordable and many beauty salons offer this procedure. However, we strongly advise that you look for a certified doctor’s office to have it done – then, you can be sure that you are in good hands.

Hifu facelift

cosmetic procedure 2

(Hifu) High-intensity focused ultrasound is a quite new procedure for improving the look of the face. It is the use of ultrasound energy that encourages collagen production

Hifu facial procedure is a short name for High-intensity focused ultrasound. It is a relatively new procedure for improving the look of the face. It’s idea is using the ultrasound energy that encourages collagen production. The important thing to know is that there are still trials on hifu and this method of face improvement is not agreed by FDA yet. 

So far, those who have had hifu facelift agree that their face is tightened, lifted, contoured and rejuvenated, so this method is very promising. It can also be an alternative to people who are disqualified from facelift due to being too young. Hifi heats up the tissues of skin layers just below the surface, which makes the cells damaged. The body response to such a damage is the increased production of collagen. Ultimately, the face skin is tight and firm.

The advantages of hifu include:

  • skin smoothing
  • wrinkle reduction
  • defining jawline
  • neck tightening (preventing or addressing turkey neck)
  • eye area and cheek lifting.

Hifu is a non-invasive and safe procedure, which does not require any preparation. The visit itself lasts up to 2 hours (it’s duration depends on how long the ultrasound energy is transmitted). Basically, there are no side effects – the only issue is the feeling of numbness that may persist 1-2 days, but patients may return to their daily activities straightaway. 

Vampire facial

Firstly, we need to differentiate between the vampire facial and vampire facelift because they are two different procedures. The vampire face lift uses the combination of a filler and Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) – the results include tightening of sagging skin and face contouring – the effects are visible immediately after the procedure. What is vampire facial on the other hand? This procedure is based on microneedling. The doctor makes very small pricks in the face skin with the use of tiny needles, which improves the skin texture and eliminates acne scars. Sometimes, the doctor may combine vampire facelift and facial to achieve better effects.

The vampire facelift is based on using the patient’s blood to fight against ageing. The blood is taken from any body part, but usually, it is the arm. Then, the platelets are separated and combined with hyaluronic acid filler. The substance is then injected into the face. As a result, the wrinkles are reduced, and the skin is brightened and rejuvenated. Generally, there are no strict criteria for vampire facelift candidates, however, it is not recommended for people taking blood thinning medications and people having skin cancer, hepatitis C or HIV. 

Vampire facelift or vampire facial cost UK is much lower than traditional facelift cost, so no wonder, it is a very popular procedure. Also, the risk of complications is very low, the side effects may include only swelling, bruising, itching, or allergic reaction to the acid fillers. To achieve the best results, sometimes patients are advised to have a series of 2-3 procedures. The effects last between 1-2 years. Similarly to other facelift alternatives, vampire facelift may be performed either by the doctor or by a beautician. Of course, we recommend choosing a doctor’s office for this procedure to be sure that you are in good hands. 

Thread lift

needeles

Thread lift effects may last 2-3 years

Thread lift procedure is mainly used for face and breasts. Threading face lift allows for sculpting and lifting the face with the use of a suture material. The doctor threads thin sutures underneath the face skin and pulls the skin tight especially in the neck and forehead areas. The body reacts quickly – it immediately detects the sutures (even if there is no harm to the body) and stimulates the production of collagen as a response to this inconvenience. The collagen restores the youthful look and elasticity and fills the wrinkles and gaps in the face. In face threading, the doctor uses dissolvable stitches, the whole procedure takes up to an hour.

The areas that are usually treated with thread lift are:

  • brow line,
  • jowls,
  • jawline,
  • cheeks,
  • forehead
  • and eye area. 

The risks and complications of thread lift include: bleeding, bruising and swelling. Patients may experience mild pain also.

The more serious complications are rather rare, but patients should pay attention to the following risks:

  • allergic reaction
  • dimpling or pulling in the thread inserting places
  • threads movement and repositioning
  • considerable pain
  • infections
  • fever.

Patients may see the effects just after the procedure. However, only when bruising and swelling disappear, the final results are visible. Usually, the effects last 2-3 years- after that time the sutures dissolve and are absorbed by the body. Regular face lift cost is much higher than thread lift cost, hence it is a much more popular procedure than facelift. 

Facelift cost

money

Facelift surgery is not found by the NHS, and it can be done only privately. The cost of it is quite high.

It is impossible to say explicitly how much is a facelift. It is a plastic surgery not found by the NHS or any insurance, so only private clinics perform it. They can set such a facelift surgery cost that satisfies themselves.

The differences in facelift cost may stem from:

  • the clinic location
  • the clinic reputation and standard
  • the surgeon’s fee
  • the components included (e.g. anaesthesia, hospitalization, medications or other facilities may be included in the price, but also may pose an additional cost).

To give an idea of the facelift cost, let’ see how much does a facelift cost in the UK. A facelift surgery UK costs £10 000 on average. Mini facelift UK is up to £4500. In the USA, the average facelift surgery prices vary from $7500 to $10 000. The facelift surgery costs may be a deterrent factor for people, however, there are countries which offer much lower prices for facelift and thanks to the idea of medical tourism patients can easily get a cheap facelift abroad. 

Facelift abroad

airplane

If the price for a facelift is too expensive for the patient in the home country, plastic surgery abroad is a great option. There are many popular destinations chosen by medical tourist for a facelift surgery

Facelift surgery abroad is a great alternative to everyone who is looking for a cheap surgery. The prices for plastic surgeries are high especially in such countries as the UK, Ireland, Germany, the USA, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Italy or France. Many people there just cannot afford to spend thousands of pounds or euro on plastic surgery, so they can travel to another country and get much cheaper facelift abroad. Facelift abroad prices can be so low that even when we add the costs connected with the travel (flights, hotel, food, etc.), patients still spend 2-3 times less than they would spend in their home country. The most common locations for medical tourists in Europe are Poland and Turkey. 

Facelift Poland

Facelift surgery in Poland is a great choice for Europeans. The main Polish cities such as Warsaw, Cracow, Wroclaw or Gdansk offer direct flight connections with almost each major city in Europe. The cost of flight tickets between Cracow and London can be as low as 30 GBP. The average full facelift Poland prices do not exceed £4000, which is over 2 times cheaper than the facelift cost in the UK. What is also important, Poland is a highly developed place in terms of medical tourism – they hire only English-speaking staff, the clinics meet the highest health care standards, the surgeons use the advanced solutions and newest methods, many clinics offer help with transfers and accommodation or even hire personal assistants especially for foreign patients. There are medical travel agencies that, in cooperation with clinics, offer foreign patients all inclusive packages, thanks to which the travel and stay is totally stress-free. Apart from the very competitive prices, Poland is famous for its world-renowned surgeons. In fact, regardless of the city, patients can meet the highest class plastic surgeons with many years experience and huge expertise. It is very hard to find another country which would offer so affordable procedures performed by top-class surgeons. 

Facelift Turkey

If you want to do facelift abroad during your holidays, the best location would be Turkey. It is a very popular touristic destination offering luxurious hotels at the lowest price. Antalya and Istanbul are the cities that welcome millions of tourists every year – these are multicultural cities with a rich history, great tourists attractions and unique facilities and access to nature at the same time. Facelift Turkey is really affordable and once done in a certified clinic, the patient should not worry about the surgery quality. Most clinics in Turkey follow international standards and hire renowned surgeons, so a patient should just check the clinic and surgeon’s reliability before coming. Facelift in Turkey can be amazingly cheap – we just advise to double check what the price includes. 

Facelift reviews

There are many positive facelift reviews. 

Facelift before and after

Facelift surgery before and after pictures shows a huge improvement and change in patient’s faces. 

Summary

Ageing is an inevitable process that concerns everyone. Of course, we cannot fight against nature, but we can reduce the ageing symptoms. Facelift is a procedure that makes the face look 10 years younger but still natural. Facelift is a plastic surgery addressing the cheeks, eyes area, jowls, jawline and neck and making the face more firm, tight, youthful and fresh. If you would like to rejuvenate your face, there is no better way than facelift – it is a long-lasting solution and thanks to medical tourism, it can fit your budget. If you need more information regarding this surgery, contact Clinic Hunter – we will provide you with all the details.  

looking at the mirror

Sources

Celletti, Erin Nicole. “This $1,000 Facial Uses Your OWN Blood.” Allure, Allure, 12 Sept. 2018, www.allure.com/story/vampire-facial. 

“Facelift Procedure Guide.” ABCS, 17 Sept. 2015, www.americanboardcosmeticsurgery.org/procedure-learning-center/face/facelift-guide/. 

Herndon, Jaime. “Facelift What to Expect: Procedures, Costs, Recovery Time, and More.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 13 Dec. 2018, www.healthline.com/health/face-lift. 

John LeRoy, MD, et al. “Facelift Procedure Steps.” American Society of Plastic Surgeons, www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/facelift/procedure. 

John LeRoy, MD, et al. “Facelift Procedure Steps.” American Society of Plastic Surgeons, www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/facelift/procedure. 

NHS Choices, NHS, www.nhs.uk/conditions/cosmetic-procedures/facelift/. 

Papalois, Reviewed by Vassilios. “Full Face Lift.” Netdoctor, 25 June 2018, www.netdoctor.co.uk/procedures/cosmetic/a10275/full-face-lift/. 

Paul Vitenas, Jr. “What Is a Nonsurgical Facelift?” American Society of Plastic Surgeons, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 6 Nov. 2018, www.plasticsurgery.org/news/blog/what-is-a-nonsurgical-facelift.

Klaudia Grabowska

Klaudia started to work for Clinic Hunter many years ago, just after graduating from the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin in Poland and since that time, this job has become her biggest passion and inspiration.

She has gained necessary expertise and experience by serving patients from all over the world (mainly the UK, Scandinavian countries, and the USA), taking an active part in numerous live and video trainings with clinics in Poland, Hungary and Turkey, participating in international medical tourism conferences and events, and completing internal Clinic Hunter courses. Now, Klaudia is an accomplished patient advisor specialising in such fields as dentistry, plastic and bariatric surgery and hair loss treatment. Her main idea is helping people nad making their lives better, that is why this job brings her so much satisfaction and joy.

In private, Klaudia is a bike-tour lover. She travelled to over 25 countries and many of them she visited by bike. However, now she spends every spare moment with her little son.

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