A facelift (rhytidectomy) is cosmetic surgery to lift up and pull back the skin to make the face tighter and smoother.
The procedure is designed to reduce flabby or sagging skin around the lower half of the face (mainly the jowls) and neck.
If you’re thinking of going ahead, be absolutely sure about your reasons for wanting a facelift and don’t rush into it. The procedure can be expensive, the results can’t be guaranteed, and there are risks to consider. It’s a good idea to discuss your plans with your GP first.
In the UK, the cost of a facelift can vary greatly from clinic to clinic and depending on the extent of the procedure.
Expect to pay anything from a few thousand pounds for a mini facelift to £10,000 for a face and neck lift.
You should also take into account the cost of any consultations or follow-up care that may be needed.
If you’re looking in England, check the Care Quality Commission (CQC) website for treatment centres that can perform facelifts.
All independent clinics and hospitals that provide cosmetic surgery in England must be registered with the CQC. The CQC publishes inspection reports and performance ratings to help people choose care.
Also, research the plastic surgeon who is going to carry out the facelift. All doctors must be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC). Check the register to see the doctor’s fitness to practise history.
You may also want to find out:
A facelift is usually carried out under general anaesthetic. It may sometimes be performed using a local anaesthetic and sedation.
There are many different kinds of facelift, but generally the surgeon will:
It usually takes two to three hours, and most people need to stay in hospital overnight. Pain relief is provided if you experience any discomfort afterwards.
It takes about two to four weeks to fully recover from a facelift. You need to take this time off work.
Bruising is visible for at least two weeks. It could take up to six to nine months to see the full effect of the facelift.
You won’t be able to drive for a number of days after the operation – your surgeon would advise about this.
You will have to avoid showering and getting the bandages wet for the first two days, and avoid strenuous activity, saunas and massages for at least two weeks.
You also need to keep your head propped up with pillows for a couple of days while resting to reduce the swelling.
After about a week: Stitches are removed (unless you had dissolvable stitches).
After several weeks: Bruises, scars and redness should have faded.
After six to nine months: The full effect of the facelift should be seen.
After a facelift, it’s common to have:
A facelift can occasionally result in problems, including:
Any type of operation also carries a small risk of:
The surgeon should explain how likely these risks and complications are, and how they would be treated if they occurred.
Occasionally, patients find the desired effect wasn’t achieved and feel they need another operation. You should check how this would be funded with your surgeon.
Cosmetic surgery can sometimes go wrong and the results may not be what you expected.
You should contact the clinic where the operation was carried out as soon as possible if you have severe pain or any unexpected symptoms.
If you are not happy with the results of your facelift, or you think the procedure wasn’t carried out properly, you should take up the matter with your surgeon through the hospital or clinic where you were treated.