Face / Neck Lift

About Face & Neck Lifts

A face/neck lift (Rhytidectomy) is designed to improve the most visible signs of ageing by removing excess fat, tightening underlying muscles and lifting the skin on your face and neck.

No longer a procedure reserved for the rich and famous, men and women opt for face lifts for a number of different reasons. It can help smooth out wrinkles and folds in the skin and can lift loose or sagging skin on the neck; it can help to smooth the jaw line and eliminate "jowls"; or it can tighten skin that has become loose after significant weight loss later in life.

Whatever your reasons for considering a face lift, many patients find that it can help to eliminate visible signs of ageing and give them a more refreshed, youthful look. This in turn often gives them greater confidence. However, it is important to note that a successful procedure requires both skin and muscle tightening to produce a long-lasting result. It also depends on the elastic qualities of your skin.

Your Procedure

Facelifts are very individualised procedures. Your surgeon will evaluate your face, including your skin and muscle elasticity, and your underlying bone structure. He will then discuss the surgical techniques required.

Incisions usually begin close to the hairline at your temples and continue behind the earlobe to the lower scalp. Your surgeon will separate the skin from the fat and muscle below it, trim or suction the fat, then tighten the underlying muscle and membrane. In the case of a neck lift, a small incision may also be made under the chin.

The surgery is performed under general anaesthetic and may last from 2 to 4 hours, depending on the technique used and the extent of the procedure. Your total stay in hospital should be one to two days.

After Your Procedure

  • Some pain or discomfort can be expected. This will eventually settle and can generally be managed with regular oral pain medication.
  • You may experience some tightness and numbness of your face and neck. This may persist for a few weeks or months.
  • You will have suture lines in front of each ear. Some discharge of blood from these in the first 48 hours is normal. These sutures are removed at your post-op review seven to ten days after your procedure.
  • The garment which you were measured for at your initial consultation will be put on you in theatre once your operation is complete. This should be worn continuously for a week after your procedure, and then nightly for the second and third week after your surgery.
  • You will have two drains from behind each ear to remove any excess fluid from your wound and assist with healing. These are generally removed the day after your procedure.
  • Immediately after surgery, you should be resting in bed with your head higher than your heart to help prevent excessive bleeding and swelling.
  • To help with the prevention of blood clots forming in your legs, you will have been measured for TED stockings and compression sleeves (SCDs) prior to your operation. These are worn to the operating theatre and post-operatively. You are able to stop wearing the SCDs once you are comfortably mobile. The TED stockings are to be worn until you are discharged from hospital.

At Home

  • Any pain or discomfort should be managed with oral pain medication.
  • You may notice slight redness, swelling and bruising around your wounds. This is normal and may last two to three weeks.
  • You may have some discharge from your wounds. This is normal.
  • You should continue to wear your garment continuously for the first week after your procedure, then at night for the second and third weeks.
  • You should continue to have your head higher than your heart as much as possible for the first three weeks after surgery to help prevent excessive swelling. When lying down, rest your head on at least two pillows.
  • You will be able to gently wash your hair after your drains have been removed.
  • Avoid heavy lifting, over exertion, strenuous exercise and bending over for three weeks after surgery. You may ease back to normal activity as you feel comfortable.
  • Avoid hot showers and hot foods if you have any numbness in your face or neck.
  • You should eat a nutritious diet high in vitamin C and drink plenty of water to help promote wound healing.
  • The routine time for your post-operative appointment is seven to ten days after your procedure, at which time your sutures will be removed.

Things To Look Out For

Surgery is not without its risks and we encourage all patients to be mindful of the warning signs that a complication may be developing. If you experience any of the following symptoms during your recovery, please contact us immediately.

  • Signs of infection such as; high temperature, heavy discharge from your wound site, an increase in redness or heat around your wound site, or a dramatic increase in pain that is not relieved by oral pain medication.
  • Increased swelling around your wound.
  • Nausea or vomiting which does not settle.

Outside of clinic hours, please contact your GP or closest emergency department.