The ageing process often takes a major toll on your facial appearance. Genetics, gravity, pollution and the environment can all impact the rate at which your face begins to show signs of ageing. Wrinkles and skin laxity on the lower two-thirds of your face are sometimes the earliest and most noticeable signs of facial ageing. These occur in relation to lost or weakened collagen in your dermal tissues. While some individuals can stave off the effects of ageing using non-surgical facial injections such as dermal fillers or wrinkle relaxing solutions, patients with more pronounced signs of ageing may require more significant correction that involves surgical excisions, muscle repair and fat redistribution. A facelift helps to visibly 'lift' or smooth the ageing facial tissues of the lower face, and aims to provide a firmer or more defined lower face and jawline contour by reducing sagging jowls.
What Skin Conditions Can a Facelift Correct?
Sagging Facial Tissues
Gravity and the decrease in collagen production weakens facial tissues over time, eventually resulting in a drooping appearance caused by unsupported, lax facial skin. Sagging skin typically occurs around the cheeks and along the jawline. Surgical adjustment of sagging facial skin requires the treatment of deeper facial tissues. By lifting both the deep muscular layer AND the superficial skin layer, patients may receive a natural looking yet more defined OR firmer lower face appearance.
Wrinkles and Fine Lines
The loss of collagen or ageing-related reductions in skin strength or dermal tissue volume can lead to the development of fine lines and wrinkles, particularly around the nose and mouth. The process of lifting and tightening facial tissues using facelift techniques may help smooth out wrinkles and fine lines, which can sometimes be resistant to correction through non-surgical means such as facial injections or skin treatments. Reducing the visible signs of ageing caused by wrinkles helps create a brighter, younger-looking facial aesthetic.
An Undefined Jawline
Excess tissue that accumulates along your lower face can mask the appearance or definition of the jawline. Many individuals find that having an undefined jawline affects the shape of their face as well as their overall facial balance. A facelift reduces excess tissue along the jawline and contours remaining tissues to create a more defined jaw angle or smoother lower facial contour.
An Aged Neck Profile
The neck plays a significant role in contributing to the presence of facial ageing. Sagging jowls and vertical neck banding can obscure a well-defined and graceful neck profile. A special lifting technique helps tighten loose neck muscles and reduces excess skin. This process helps restore a slimmer neck and a more youthful neck profile.
A traditional facelift is designed to target the major causes of facial ageing including wrinkles and skin laxity. Well-placed incisions are created in the hairline and, depending on the extent of correction required, run down and around the folds of the ear. Through these incisions, the outer layer of tissue is separated from the deep muscular layer. Drooping muscles are lifted and secured in place with internal sutures. Excess skin is surgically trimmed away and draped to highlight your new muscular contour.
The so-called minimal or “mini” facelift may be a solution for patients with relatively good skin elasticity who suffer from moderate to severe wrinkles. Limited incisions are placed in the hairline and around the ears. The skin and muscles are separated, and excess skin is reduced. The remaining tissue is lifted and pulled to smooth out wrinkles, resulting in a natural looking enhancement. Important: although colloquially called a 'mini' facelift, this procedure IS invasive and like other surgery, carries risks. For some patients, this procedure may allow for slightly less recovery downtime - but this can vary from patient to patient. Ask your Surgeon for details.
Neck lifts are typically performed on patients with excess neck tissue. This surgery can be performed as a stand-alone procedure or in combination with a traditional or mini facelift. A short incision is placed under the chin through which loose platysma muscles are tightened. Excess neck tissue is trimmed away, and the remaining tissue is repositioned to help create a slimmer, more defined neck profile.
Addressing Your Concerns
Dr McManamny recommends that all of his facial rejuvenation patients stay in the hospital overnight for monitoring and for the administration of pain medication. You will experience some bruising and swelling which may be soothed using ice packs. You will be required to rest with your head elevated for one week following your surgery to minimise swelling.
Many patients return to work within approximately two weeks after having surgery, but this can vary. You may require more time off work or away from other responsibilities depending on how you respond to surgery AND your adherence to your Surgeon's recovery instructions. You will be required to limit your physical activities for several weeks, however, but many patients are cleared to resume their regular routine after four weeks. For many patients, most of the major swelling tends to subside after six weeks, at which time the results will become visible.
Dr McManamny uses fine incisions placed discreetly in the hairline and precise suturing techniques to help to minimise scar development. However, scar development depends on the patient’s individual healing process, skin health, genetics and other recovery factors. The extent of your incision can also affect scar development. Most scarring that does develop often fades over time for the majority of patients. Some patients may, however, have more visible scarring.
The cost of facelift surgery is highly variable and will differ between patients. Hospital fees, anaesthetic fees, and the extent of correction will all affect the ultimate cost of your procedure. The exact cost of your procedure will be determined after a detailed consultation.
Facelift surgery is performed using general anaesthetic. The first few days may be accompanied by some discomfort or pain. Most associated pain can be managed using prescribed or over-the-counter oral medication. Please discuss this with your Surgeon.
Before & Afters
Frequently Asked Facelift Questions
How OLD should I be before undergoing a facelift?
Every patient ages a different rate. While extensive traditional facelifts are usually best suited for patients over 50 or 60 years of age or older, patients as young as 40 have been able to achieve appearance enhancements using more minimal facelift techniques.
Am I a good candidate for having a facelift?
Good facelift surgery candidates are in good general health, are non-smokers, and have realistic expectations about what surgery CAN and CANNOT accomplish. Many patients considering a facelift will have signs of visible ageing that may include fine lines, wrinkles, or facial sagging; and well informed patients have an understanding of what surgery can do for skin compared to skin resurfacing through skin peels or laser treatments. It's important you have realistic expectations and that you understand the costs, surgery risks and downtime, and that you recognise your skin will still continue to age. Do your research and read and understand the risks. Getting a second opinion by a FRACS qualified Plastic Surgeon is also a good idea before you proceed, as is understanding the difference between a Specialist Plastic Surgeon and other types of doctors who offers face lifting procedures.
Can a facelift correct ageing of the upper face?
A facelift is designed to help correct for ageing of the lower two-thirds of the face. It does not tend to provide correction in the middle or upper face, or under the eyes; hence, patients with upper facial ageing as well as lower facial ageing should consider combining facial rejuvenation procedures such as having an eyelid surgery with a facelift.
What facial rejuvenation procedures are commonly combined with a facelift?
Eyelid surgery and brow lift surgery may be performed in combination with a facelift. These procedures are designed to treat upper facial ageing around the eyes and in the forehead. Combining procedures can provide overall facial rejuvenation and longer-lasting results.
How long does a Facelift last?
Facelift surgery may help provide long-lasting facial rejuvenation for select patients, but skin and facial anatomy will still continue to age, so the duration or extent of a facelift result will vary from patient to patient. Many patients achieve results that last them for many years. However, certain lifestyle habits such as smoking and exposing your skin to direct sunlight can shorten the life of your facelift results, as can illnesses, substance use and medication side effects.
How can I prolong the life of my facelift results?
It's important that you understand your skin will still age and that genetics, sun exposure, harsh environmental conditions, nutritional intake and lifestyle behaviours may accelerate your skin's ageing processes over time. Smoking can greatly detract from the longevity of your surgery results and increase your surgery risks. Some patients may choose to utilise non-surgical treatments following their facelift to maintain the quality of their results. Non-surgical facial injections, anti-wrinkle injections, and laser treatments can treat minor wrinkles that may develop over time to extend the life of your facelift.
Are there any RISKS to having facelift or necklift surgery?
Yes, any surgical or invasive procedure carries RISKS and RESULTS can vary significantly from patient to patient. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner such as a FRACS qualified Plastic Surgeon recognised by AHPRA or similarly qualified facelift expert. Please be sure you review ALL materials provided to you about your surgery risks and ask questions or voice any concerns BEFORE proceeding, and never have a facelift or necklift to please someone else. It is also imperative you DO NOT SMOKE and that you follow your Surgeon's pre-op and post-op instructions. Please also be aware that surgery experiences, recovery time frames, results, incision line placement and scars can vary significantly from patient to patient. For a general overview, review the plastic surgery risks page.