Facelift surgery “turns back the clock”, improving the visible signs of aging by removing the lines and folds between the cheeks and nose and lips, over the jawline, and in the neck. It removes excess fat and tightens the underlying muscles and skin of your face and neck. It also rejuvenates the middle and lower part of the face, making you look fresher and more youthful and relaxed, and feeling more self-confident.
Here in Sydney, our Specialist Plastic Surgeon Dr Charles Cope often combines a facelift with other procedures such as a brow lift, which lifts sagging eyebrows, blepharoplasty, which is eyelid surgery to remove skin or fat and fat injections or facial fat transfer, which can be combined to rejuvenate the upper part of the face.
There are also a number of options if you are not ready for face lift surgery, from Thermage lasser skin tightening, to suture lifts or mini-face lifts such as the S-lift. While the effects are not as good or as long-lasting as a proper facelift, the improvement will leave you looking younger and more refreshed.
Many patients who have face lift surgery in Sydney also have the facial skin rejuvenated with skin treatments such as the medical grade Fraxel re:store DUAL laser, Thermage lasser skin tightening, Dermaroller, IPL (intense pulse light), or medical grade peels which improves the texture and appearance of the skin.
Preparing and Post Face Lift Surgery
Preparing for face lift surgery
Dr Cope stresses the importance of patients stopping smoking at least a few weeks before the surgery as smoking slows blood flow to the skin and increases the chance of healing problems after the surgery. Aspirin, anti-inflammatory medications for arthritis, and some vitamins and herbal medications including fish oil can cause bleeding and also need to be stopped 10 days before the surgery.
Getting your face lift at a Sydney hospital
Face lift surgery is performed under general anaesthesia, with the operation taking about 3 hours, and usually requires an overnight stay in hospital.
There are many different ways to complete the procedure, but Dr Cope prefers the longest lasting techniques which involve tightening the deeper muscle layer of the face as well as the skin. *Tightening the muscle layer gives a longer lasting result and reduces the tension on the skin closure, which reduces scaring.
Incisions are hidden mainly within the hairline, in the natural crease in front of the ear, going under and behind the earlobe and back into the scalp, and usually there is also a small incision under the chin. The skin is lifted off the muscle layer and the muscle layer tightened, with any excess fat being removed with liposuction. Following this the loose excess skin is removed and the wound closed.
Post surgery care
After the surgery at one of our Sydney hospitals, it is important to rest and minimise your activities, with no lifting or heavy duties for 10-14 days. Dr Cope advises patients that there is always some bruising and swelling after the surgery, however wearing an elastic compression garment minimises this. After a few days you can wear makeup to help conceal the bruising.
Postoperative treatments with Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) therapy and Omnilux treatments help the swelling to resolve as quickly as possible and help the healing process.
Most patients also have some numbness and tightness, which gradually disappears over a few weeks. The scars from facelift surgery fade with time and are usually not noticeable, although occasionally they require further treatment.
*Most patients may drive again and return to work within 2-3 weeks after facelift surgery. Heavy activities and sport should not be undertaken for one month following the surgery.
Frequently Asked Questions
Facelift cost may vary from patient to patient. The total costs of this surgery usually depend on several factors. These include the following:
The type of the surgery
Your surgeon may perform a traditional or mini facelift depending on your goals.
This will depend on the surgeon’s experience and expertise.
The anaesthetist’s fees
This can be charged by the hour or procedure.
The length of hospital stay
Most patients need to stay overnight and go home the next day day, depending on your condition.
This may include hospital fees, medical tests, medications given, and materials used during the procedure.
Since the surgery is performed for cosmetic reasons only, the costs will not be covered by Medicare or your private health insurance. Make sure to clarify this with your insurance provider before having the procedure.
To know more about the total costs of the procedure, Dr Charles Cope will provide you with a detailed breakdown during your initial consultation.
Anyone with skin laxity or wrinkles in the midface, lower face or neck
This depends on the way you are ageing, as people age at different rates – the right time is when the skin laxity and wrinkles are bothering you. Most people have facelifts between 45-65 years old, although ages vary from people in their 30s to 70s
With ageing the skin, fat, and muscles of the cheeks and neck become loose and sag, resulting in lines and folds between the cheeks and lips, over the jawline, and in the neck. Facelift surgery “turns back the clock“, improving the visible signs of ageing by removing excess skin and fat and tightening the underlying muscles of the face and neck.
There are many techniques of facelifts, but full facelifts involve tightening the muscle/supporting structure of the face & neck, which gives a longer-lasting result with better scars compared to skin-only or mini-facelifts. Many patients also have a facial fat transfer at the same time as a full facelift, which gives a better result in the midface. Dr Charles Cope will discuss options with you and be able to provide you with an individualised plan of what will give you the best result.
No one should be able to tell that you have had a facelift – this comes down to skill & experience of the surgeon – a facelift performed by Dr Charles Cope will not look obvious or strange
A full facelift ‘turns back the clock’’ 10 years or more, while mini-facelifts may only last 3-4 years. However, you continue to age and develop more skin laxity and wrinkles with time. Many people have a second facelift 10-20 years later, and occasionally a third time, depending on your age when you first have surgery.
Many people have other procedures performed at the same time as facelift surgery, the commonest being facial fat transfer, upper or lower eyelid surgery, perioral dermabrasion to improve lines around the mouth, and browlift.
Mini-facelifts can be performed under local anaesthetic in the rooms, with quicker recovery, but do not produce as good a result and are not as long-lasting as full facelifts, which tighten the muscle layer of the face & neck. There are also non-surgical skin tightening lasers such as SkinTyteTM and Ultraformer IIITM, which improve skin laxity and wrinkles.
There are good skin-tightening devices such as SkinTyteTM and Ultraformer IIITM, which lifts and tightens by heating collagen causing immediate collagen contraction, followed by progressive collagen remodelling and tightening over the 6 months following the treatment. These are simple office treatments with no downtime. However, these treatments do not remove all skin laxity (are not as good as surgery) and need multiple treatments, but are options if you are not ready for surgery.
While people have facelifts at any time of the year you need to wear a compression garment for 7-10 days – this is more comfortable in the cooler winter months. It is also easier to disguise the garment and bruising with scarves during winter. However, people often organise facelift surgery when they can best take time off work, at other times such as just before Christmas or in January if work is quiet then.
A facelift is performed under general anaesthetic in an accredited hospital, with nearly all patients staying in hospital overnight to recover from the anaesthetic as the operation takes 2-3hours
Incisions are hidden mainly within the hairline, starting in the natural crease in front of the ear, going under and behind the earlobe and back into the scalp, and usually there is also a small incision under the chin. Facial scars fade well and are rarely obvious long-term.
During the first 7-10 days after surgery, you need to rest and take things quietly at home. When you go home you need to wear a compression garment at all times except showering. The wounds need to be cleaned and have antiseptic ointment applied a few times a day. You need to come into the office a few times in the first 10 days for Manual Lymphatic Drainage & Omnilux (LED light) treatments to help the healing process.
Although some people can return to work by 10 days, for most people it is 2-3 weeks until they are ready to return to work, sport and full activities.