Our faces can look older than our minds and bodies actually feel. Given that our face says so much about our personality, this mismatch can impact on our self-confidence, cause frustration and affect our self-esteem.
You may know someone who has had a facelift without even realising it. A good one makes a visible difference to your face without it being obvious. This relatively straightforward operation lifts up the skin, deeper tissues and surrounding muscles aiming to make your face tighter and smoother, giving you a more youthful appearance.
As we age, our facial muscles become slacker and the skin on the face becomes looser and less elastic, creating folds and lines. A facelift is a cosmetic operation that aims to make your face tighter, smoother and more youthful.
A younger looking face can convey vigour and energy and increase confidence in your social, personal and working lives. If you feel that your face no longer reflects your vitality and you want to do something about it, you could be thinking about getting this procedure.
People who have had a facelift with us often report that they:
During a facelift operation your surgeon will make cuts across your hairline, past the front of your ears and sometimes under your chin. These cuts allow your surgeon to remove excess skin and fat, tightening the muscles.
Sometimes other cosmetic procedures are carried out at the same time including:
If you decide to have your procedure with us, you will be looked after by an experienced multi-disciplinary care team.
Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care. To us, that means you can choose the consultant you want to see and when you want. They’ll be with you every step of the way: from giving advice at your first consultation, through to offering on-going support after your surgery.
All of our cosmetic surgeons are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern, well equipped hospitals. A cosmetic surgeon’s reputation, qualifications and experience are vitally important, so we only work with consultant grade specialists.
These are highly experienced consultants who have completed years of medical training. All our consultants are on the specialist register of the General Medical Council (GMC), and many are also members of the UK’s leading cosmetic and plastic surgery associations.
Cosmetic surgery can be a life-enhancing decision and we’re here to help you make the right one. We’ve created a facelift guide, which contains in-depth advice about what you need to consider. Our experienced cosmetic surgeons will also guide you every step of the way.
It’s important to meet with your chosen consultant before treatment so that you are completely comfortable with them and they know what you want to achieve. Bringing some pictures into the first consultation can help.
There are various procedures and options available for different parts of the face and neck, including the eyelids and a brow lift. Some of these involve relatively new techniques such as keyhole surgery which have a shorter recovery time and leave fewer scars. Your cosmetic surgeon will discuss with you which procedures are the best for your face and the results you want to achieve.
You might want to bring a friend or relative along. They can remind you of the things you want to discuss and act as an extra pair of ears to absorb information you can discuss together later. You should also ask to see some of the surgeon's recent before and after pictures from similar operations they've performed.
This is an important decision and we're here to listen and help you achieve your goals.
If you decide to go ahead with the facelift, we'll allow at least two weeks between your consultation and the date for surgery. This is because we want you to be really happy and confident with your decision.
We've tried to make your experience with us as easy and relaxed as possible.
For more information on visiting hours, our food, what to pack if you're staying with us, parking and all those other important practicalities, please visit our patient information pages.
Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.
Your treatment may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your consultant’s advice. It's natural to feel anxious before hospital treatment, but knowing what to expect can help. Please raise any concerns or questions with us so you feel comfortable and in control.
We understand that undergoing surgery might cause you anxiety and worry, even commonly performed procedures like this one. Our experienced and caring clinical staff will be there with you every step of the way. As well as delivering excellent care and treatment, they’ll answer your questions and provide reassurance if you are worried at any stage.
Having had a general anaesthetic, you’ll be asleep while the surgeon and clinical team perform the surgery.
There are a number of different facelift techniques. Your surgeon will explain the options available to you and the best method to achieve your goals. For a typical facelift, your surgeon will make a surgical cut right around your hairline, past the front of your ears. Cuts may also be made under your chin, if the operation includes lifting a sagging jaw line. Your skin will then be carefully separated from the underlying muscles of your face. Excess fat will be removed and the muscles will be tightened. The skin will then be lifted up, pulled back and any excess will be trimmed off. It will then be stitched back to the line where the cut was initially made.
At the end of a facelift operation, your face is tightly wrapped in bandages. Depending on the exact procedure carried out, these may run under your chin, around your ears and/or over your head.
Another type of facelift surgery is called minimal access cranial suspension (MACS). Shorter cuts, compared to a traditional facelift, are made in the temple and in front of the ears. Fibrous tissues under the skin are tightened with permanent stitches that are fixed to tissue close to the cheekbone or the fibrous connective tissue under the skin. MACS has the advantage of smaller scars and usually a shorter recovery time.
Typically, a facelift takes around four hours.
After surgery you will be taken from the operating theatre to a recovery room, where you will come round from anaesthesia under close supervision.
After this, you will be taken to your room or comfortable area where you can rest and recuperate until we feel you’re ready to go home.
A facelift typically requires one or two nights stay in your chosen hospital and the clinical team will remove your bandages during that time
Your anaesthetist will prescribe painkillers for the first few days after the operation. Suffering from pain could slow down your recovery, so please discuss any discomfort with your doctors or nurses.
Your bandages are usually taken off after about one or two days. After the operation there is normally some swelling, bruising and soreness.
At first your face will look a little puffy and numb and might feel a bit strange and stiff but this should be temporary.
Facelifts generally do make people look younger and can have dramatic results, often setting the clock back about ten years. (source: BAPRAS)
While Mother Nature inevitably starts the ageing process again, years later you will still be looking younger than you would have if you hadn’t had that facelift.
Once you’re ready to be discharged, you’ll need to arrange a taxi, friend or family member to take you home as you won’t be able to drive. You should also ask them if they can run some light errands such as shopping for you as you won’t be feeling up to it.
Even after you’ve left hospital, we’re still looking after you every step of the way.
After a facelift, your consultant will want to see how you're doing. We'll arrange a follow-up appointment at a time that's convenient for you.
Facelifts are commonly performed procedures and more cases than not, very successful. On rare occasions, complications following a facelift can occur. If you experience any of these symptoms – pain and swelling that doesn't go away, a slow healing scar or muscle weakness and numbness in your face – please call us straight away. Your consultant will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure.
If you have any questions or concerns we’re ready to help.
We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.
The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.