The surgical facelift has been a popular anti-aging procedure for many years, offering a long term solution to sagging skin, wrinkles and fine lines. Gone are the years when people would have a ‘wind tunnel’ facelift – a nickname given because of the tight look of the skin after said facelift. 

Facelifts are now much more advanced, with medical and surgical techniques expanding and advancing with each year. One of the main techniques for facelifts, is now done by targeting the layer of muscle and fibrous tissue that lies just under the skin. This is also known (medically) as the superficial muscular aponeurotic system (SMAS). 

Modern facelifts will often focus on tightening the SMAS, which results in lifting the features of the face (without the dreaded ‘stretched skin’ appearance). Volume can then be added with dermal fillers, or even by fat transfer – it will depend on the patient and what method they want to take. 

In this post we’ll also discuss the non-surgical options there are for ‘facelift’ style results – as non-surgical facelift are also gaining a lot of popularity in the cosmetic field. 

The Surgical Facelift 

This surgical procedure is an invasive procedure that can help to reshape and tighten skin on the face – giving a more youthful and toned look. 

A successful surgical facelift target areas of the face (and the facial structure) to potentially make the following adjustments: 

  • Tighten and lift the jowls

  • Tighten and lift the jawline 

  • Tighten any loose or saggy skin in the neck

  • Tighten any loose or saggy skin under the chin

  • Improve/sharpen the neck angle

  • Lift skin structures of the face (for example the cheeks) 

Exactly which combination of these things a patient comes out of surgery with will depend on their consultations, what is achievable and the surgeon’s skills. 

You’ll notice from this list, that the main areas of concentration are the areas of the lower face. Generally a facelift won’t include areas of the upper face – because these areas are covered by a brow lift or an eye lift. Many facelift patients will also opt to have an eye lift or brow lift at the same time, to ensure the results are consistent in all areas of the face. 

During the surgery, incisions will be made in the patient’s face. These incisions help the surgeon access the deep structural layer of the face and pull it to a higher, tighter position (giving the end results). The size of these incision will vary, depending on the approach you’ve agreed with your consultation. The smaller/shorter incisions mean (on the plus side) a short recovery time, but they also mean more subtle and lesser results. The larger incisions have a longer recovery time, but offer a more dramatic improvement. 

Does a Surgical Facelift hurt? 

You’ll be asleep when the surgery itself is taking place (and numbed) so you won’t feel anything during the actual surgery. However, recovery from facial surgery can be intense and unpleasant. The full recovery time for a facelift can span 4 – 6 weeks, and the patient will most likely experience swelling and bruising for the first couple of these weeks. As discussed above, your overall downtown will also depend on the size of the incisions made. 

Pain is subjective, and some patients certainly feel more pain than others during their recovery, but you should only enter into a surgical facelift being fully aware and educated about the recovery process and the potential pain involved.

What are the Risks of a Surgical Facelift? 

The major risk for a surgical facelift is nerve injury. Whilst this isn’t common, it can happen and you should ask to discuss this with your consultant before so you understand all the risks fully. On a general note, most surgeries carry a risk of bleeding, infection and delayed healing. 

There is also the risk that you may not receive the finished look you’re hoping for, and you may not get the finished result you imagined. Opting for a certified, experienced and trusted surgeon should help minimise this risk though. 

Non-Surgical Facelift Options

There are many cosmetic procedures that can give you a more youthful appearance without resorting to surgery. Most of these procedures have minimal downtime, and cost a lot less (budget-wise) too. We’ve listed some of these procedures below: 

Tear trough filler: Having filler injected into you tear trough (the eye bag area under your eyes) can give you a more youthful appearance and a fresh, plumper eye area – making you look healthier and more awake. 

Cheek fillers and jaw fillers: Having fillers in your cheeks or jaw, can help restore balance in your face shape, or plumpness in your face shape. As we get older we lose the plumpness in our faces, and making the jaw or cheekbones prominent again can help disguise against sagging skin or sunken features. 

Botox: Botox can help minimise lines and wrinkles on the surface of your skin by demobilising the muscles around key wrinkle areas. This can have a fantastic anti-aging affect and can also help to smooth the skin too. 

8 Point facelift: This is one of our leading non-surgical procedures is the ‘8 point facelift’ which provides a multi angled approach to targeting facial aging, with a variety of techniques involved. The treatment is non-surgical, so has minimal downtime, and it’s also much more affordable when compared to a traditional facelift. The 8 point facelift has revolutionised the way we reverse the signs of ageing, and is a perfect non-surgical choice for rejuvenation, plumping and lifting. 

Speak to Harley St MD today and we can find the right solution for you.

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