Facelift (Rhytidectomy)

Facelift (Rhytidectomy) We know that aging is inevitable. We are all going to get old at some point. Along with the age, comes some changes on our faces. Our skin slowly loses its elasticity, and so, our cheeks and neck get saggy and wrinkly. Some people do not care about that at all.

Some, however, do not like these effects of aging and look out for ways to get rid of them. For those people, aside from the skincare medications and routines, a facelift (rhytidectomy) surgery is suggested. A facelift is a facial plastic surgery procedure. The aim of a facelift is to reduce the effects of aging such as wrinkles, sagging, folding lines at the sides of the nose and mouth, double chin, etc.

You Should Get Yourself Ready for;

  • Local or general anesthesia
  • Cuts around the face, from hairline to underneath and behind ears
  • Cuts under the chin
  • Removal of excess skin
  • Fat redistribution or adding to the face
  • Bandages on the face
  • 2-3 hours of surgery time
  • Staying at the hospital for at least one day
  • Some discomfort following the surgery and using pain killers

Why You Should Have A Facelift Surgery

With the effects of aging, you may feel self-conscious about your facial features in time. The lower parts of the face and the neck may start bothering you. If you do not like the saggy and wrinkly look on your face and neck, and trying to hide them as much as you can, if you think your face looks older than it supposed to look and makes you feel older than you are, and if those aging processes affect your daily life and relationships at work or in family, you may consider having a facelift surgery. After the surgery, patients can have higher self-esteem and can be more at peace with their bodies thanks to the facelift surgery.


When you have a surgery, rightfully you expect to achieve the look you wanted. In some rare cases, however, achieving the desired look may take more than one facelift surgery. In order to see the full results of the surgery, you should wait until the swellings and bruises go away. So do not rush deciding for another facelift surgery. During and following the healing process, taking care of your skin, drinking enough water daily, and taking care of general health will extend the results of the facelift surgery.

Facelift Types

  • Mini Facelift: Mini facelift procedure is a surgical surgery that requires a recovery period. People with relatively less sagging skin and wrinkles can prefer mini facelift surgeries. It requires smaller incisions (those incisions are generally located along the hairline and around the ears). A mini facelift surgery may not require general anesthesia but it depends on the case. Mini facelift procedures are generally more focused on the face, rather than the neck, and are more preferred by relatively younger patients. If the surgery is carried out correctly, it can be a sufficient solution for a long period of time. Also, the name of the procedure should not confuse one, in spite of the fact that it is called a “mini” facelift, it should be approached like any other surgical surgery.
  • Standard Facelift: Unlike the mini facelift, the standard facelift (or a full facelift or traditional facelift) comprises a bigger area on the face. Relatively older patients with jowls, wrinkles, and sagginess on their faces and neck can consider undergoing a facelift surgery. As it is a more extensive procedure, longer recovery time is required, compared to the mini facelift. The incisions go over the hairline, near the temples, and around the ears, and are hidden in natural folding lines of the skin. Older people with more saggy cheeks, double chins are more suitable for this type of facelift surgery


When you decide to have a facelift surgery, the first thing you will do is have an appointment with the surgeon for consultation. In the consultation, both you and your surgeon will ask questions to each other. The surgeon will assess your general health and other conditions, analyze your face, take some photos, and decide what kind of anesthesia will be used. You will also discuss what you expect from the surgery, if you use any drugs, smoke, alcohol, medication, your former surgeries, and allergies if you have.

The consultation appointment is for you to get informed. You should ask your surgeon whatever you are curious about. Do not hesitate to ask anything thinking that it would be embarrassing or nonsense, because you are the patient and have the right to know everything about the surgery you will undergo.

Make sure you are informed about;

  • The possible outcomes of the surgery
  • If your expectations are realistic
  • Will the surgeon use local or general anesthesia
  • What are the risks of the surgery and how they handle them
  • Before and after photos of the procedure
  • What happens if your expectations are not fulfilled
  • How much will you pay in total
  • If the surgery or the medication used during the surgery has side effects

Risks To Take Into Consideration

Like all other surgical operations, facelift surgeries have some risks to take into consideration too. As the decision of undergoing a facelift is totally up to you, you are supposed to sign a consent form before the surgery to guarantee that you understand and accept the risks and the procedure. Some of the risks of a facelift procedure include:

  • Bleeding (in abnormal amounts)
  • Infections
  • Hair loss around the incision scars
  • Scars’ being too obvious
  • Nerve damage in the face
  • Allergic reactions to the chemicals used
  • Swellings that do not clear up in a normal amount of time
  • Edema
  • Changes in the color of the skin
  • Asymmetric facial features
  • Vein problems

Although they occur rarely, you should definitely consider these risks before undergoing a facelift surgery. Following your surgeon’s instructions both before and after the surgery will minimize the risks. If you see that you have one of those cases, you should immediately consult your surgeon.

Preparation For A Facelift Surgery

Like all other surgical procedures, you should take the facelift preparation seriously. Your surgeon will ask for a presurgical evaluation. Before the surgery, your surgeon may ask you to quit certain medication, like pain killers and supplements, and smoking. Also, it may be required to use certain medication on your face for a while, until the facelift surgery. Aside from that, you should arrange someone to take you to and from the hospital or the surgical center, as you will be in general anesthetic and will not be able to drive.

Facelift Procedure Step By Step

Throughout  a facelift surgery, generally the steps below are followed;

Anesthesia: Like all other surgical surgerys, the usage of anesthesia is necessary. It’s being a general anesthesia or a local anesthesia depends on the surgery and the surgeon’s choice.

Incisions: After the anesthesia, the surgeon starts the incision at the temples, surrounds the ears, and ends near the jaw. The surgeon makes sure no obvious mark stays on the face of the patient.

Repositioning and Tightening of Fat, Tissues and Muscles: The surgeon repositions or redistributes the Fat, and underlying layer of the tissue. In necessary cases, the excess fat can be removed. He or she then repositions the tissue and fixes it with sutures and skin adhesives.

Trimming the Excess Skin: After removing and repositioning the bottom layer of the skin, the excess parts of the tissue are trimmed. The surgeon should be precise to preserve the main facial features of the patient.

Closing the Incisions: With self-dissolving sutures or with the ones that need to be removed, the incisions will be closed. Also, some skin adhesives are used to speed up the recovery period. The incision marks will be camouflaged with the natural folds or hairline after the recovery.

Recovery Period: The patient’s face will be wrapped to cover the incisions, using sterile surgical gauze. Rarely, a drainage tube is used during the facelift surgery, so the tube will be removed along with the gauze after 1-2 days after the surgery. Sutures will self dissolve or be removed within a week and recovery is clearly seen after 2-3 weeks. During the recovery period, painkillers and cold compresses can help. Also, your surgeon will let you know what to do to minimize the discomfort and prescribe the necessary medication.

Postoperative Period

After the surgery, your face may be covered with gauzes. Also, small drainage tubes might be inserted during the surgery. A few days after the surgery, the gauzes and the tubes will be removed by your surgeon. Your surgeon will give you instructions about how to take care of the operated area and prescribe necessary medication. You have to follow those instructions precisely to avoid any complications and minimize your discomfort.

You will be needed to see the doctor after the surgery at regular intervals sho he or she can check how the recovery process is going. You should know that the final result of the surgery is visible after all the swellings and bruisings go down, so you should not rush deciding that the surgery was unnecessary or unsuccessful. Also, make sure you ask your surgeon will the sutures need to be removed, when you can go back to your routine, when you can wear makeup, and other things that you wonder about the postoperative and recovery period.


The result may take between 10 days to 2-3 months to take its final form as the recovery process can differ for every individual. So, you should wait until the incisions to heal and swellings and bruisings to completely go down before deciding for another surgery. You will look younger when your face takes its final form. Your results are supposed to look natural and be long-lasting. You can also adopt a skincare routine, maintain a healthy diet, stay hydrated, and avoid excessive sun exposure to make your aging process slower.

In order to see how obvious the results are, you can compare your face with the photos that are taken before the procedure. On the other hand, generally, the procedure provides the expected look, but sometimes it may not be satisfactory and necessitate another surgery. In cases like that, you should see your surgeon and discuss the situation. But keep that in mind, you should keep following your surgeon’s instructions precisely for the results to guarantee the success of the surgery.

What Psychological Effects Does A Facelift Have?

As people get old, their look in the mirror keeps reminding them that they are no longer young with all those wrinkles, jowls, and saggy skin on the face. Even if most people do not care about it, some people may be insecure about their faces’ look and want to look younger again. Looking old may get them depressed and that can affect their work, social lives, general happiness, and confidence.

That person’s having a facelift surgery, along with making him or her look younger, will bring his happiness and confidence back. Being okay with how they look, people can start being active in workplaces and be tend to socialize with people again. So, we can say that besides positive effects on the appearance of one’s, facelift surgery has effects on his mental health too.

How Much Does A Facelift Surgery Cost?

The cost of the facelift surgery of course differs according to the coverage of the procedure. In Europe, while a mini facelift surgery can cost around 3000 Pounds, a more overall facelift procedure can cost around 10.000 Pounds. In the United States, the average facelift surgery cost is around 7000 Dollars. As the surgeons have different amount of experience, the fee they charge can differ as well. So while one is giving you a high number the other can charge just half of it. The facelift surgery is generally not covered by health insurance plans. Also, these numbers do not include hospital fees, anesthesia cost, etc. So expect to pay more than this for a facelift.