What is a facelift?

The face is a reflection of our personality, our emotions, but also the passing of time.

  • The facelift or facial rejuvenation surgery, aims to improve sagging facial features, clears the face and restores its vitality, while retaining the expression of the face. The lift allows for a sustainable slowdown of the aging process on the face.
  • The effects of facelifts have to adapt to the demands: some people want to change the shape of their face, eyes, etc... in addition to the rejuvenating effect. The majority, however, prefer a rejuvenation done without changing the expression and facial features: it is then a natural rejuvenation.
  • Can we treat only a portion of the face? Yes. Some “beginner” signs of facial aging (especially around the eyes, or the neck) are perfectly enhanced by localized facelifts, or sometimes by a blepharoplasty or other medical rejuvenation processes.
  • However, when there is an aging of whole face, it is best to rejuvenate the entire face to avoid creating an imbalance in harmony.

The results are sustainable in general and, although the aging process is not prevented by the intervention, the benefit of the facelift will remain even several years later.

Click here to view our before / after photos of rejuvenation surgery

Avant Lift (3) - Face  Modified 08/05/14 13:12 AlterImage® V3.50

Why have a facelift?

  • The purpose of a facelift is to set back and reposition the structures that have changed over time.
  • Facelifts enhance the volume of the facial compartments and restore their harmony. This allows both the face and the neck to restore their previous look.
  • In some rare cases, a change in the shape and appearance of the face is also required, and can be obtained through certain associated techniques (implants, changes in the shape of the eyes, etc...). In fact, there is not one single facelift, but several facelifts, which are set according to the anatomical regions treated. Here are the different types:
  • The frontotemporal facelift, which treats the forehead and eyes, mainly to enhance the tail of the eyebrows.
  • Cervio-facial lift, which is for the lower face and neck
  • The medio-facial lift , which treats the cheeks, lower eyelids and lower face. It is rarely done alone and usually complements a frontotemporal facelift or cervicofacial lift.
  • Facelifts accompanied by lipofilling (fat reinjection into the hollow parts of the face).
  • The endoscopic facelift, which is designed to correct the signs of aging in the upper third of the face, by realizing 5 small incisions about 1 cm hidden in hair. The residual scars are almost invisible! Endoscopy is a surgical technique used for many years in many specialties. It is a procedure where a mini camera is introduced and a special set of instruments are used. This often minimizes operative trauma and significantly reduces surgical scars. The endoscopic facelift corrects alterations in the upper part of the face and replace the "tired" look with a fresher and relaxed appearance.
  • The operation, performed as well in women as in men, can be performed from40 years of age.
  • However, sometimes facelifts can take place at a much younger age when the unwanted features occur either due to hereditary reasons and are not related to age as in wrinkles caused by muscle hyperactivity.
  • Finally, there is no age limit: only indications related to health can prevent an intervention.

The consultation

The type of facelift is decided during the consultation. It is the result of an agreement between the desires of the patient, morphological constraints of their face (skin quality for example) and the respect of the harmony of the face.

  • One must underline all areas affected by aging, the importance of these procedures and the most suitable facelift for the situation.
  • Digital photos are taken and each part of the face is analyzed with the patient to determine the improvements or the desired changes.
  • The location of future scars is shown: These scars are reduced to a minimum through the use of endoscopy every time the indication is suitable.
  • It is possible that to fulfill the wishes of the patient, the facelift should be supplemented with other surgical procedures, or aesthetic medicine.
  • For example, in some cases, when performing a frontotemporal facelift, it is necessary to perform at the same time a blepharoplasty (or eyelid surgery) in order to balance the final result.
  • It is also possible at the same time to make a lipofilling (fat grafting). Laser injections of filler products can perfectly complement a facelift, erasing wrinkles and fine lines on which a facelift does not act, but can not be practiced at the same time.

What happens during a facelift?

  • Duration of intervention: 1 hour and a half (for a minilift) to 6 hours (for a full facelift)
  • Hospitalization time: 1 to 2 days
  • Type of anesthesia: general or local
  • Preparation before surgery: Some medications that induce bleeding should not be taken during the 10 days preceding the intervention: aspirin, anti-inflammatory, anti-coagulants ...
  • Some medications can be taken before surgery to reduce swelling and bruising.
  • An antiseptic wash will be done the morning of surgery.

What follows a facelift?

  • There are usually some bruising and edema (swelling) that disappears in about two weeks.
  • During this period, it is best to rest at home, and avoid any violent effort.
  • The first few days, it is best to sleep with your head elevated. Also avoid flexing the neck (especially for writing or reading...).
  • A feeling of tension may persist for a few days.
  • Scar and lymphatic drainage massage sessions may be needed.
  • The scars should not be exposed to sunlight for 6 months after surgery.

The risks of a facelift

A facelift, although realized for aesthetic motivations, is nonetheless a true surgical intervention, which implies the risks associated with any medical act, however minimal it may be. The complications associated with the surgical procedure must be distinguished from those related to anesthesia.

As regards the surgical procedure:

by choosing a qualified plastic surgeon, you minimize these risks, but do not completely remove them. Fortunately, the real complications are exceptional as a result of a facelift carried out in the state of art. However, despite their rarity, you still have to know the possible complications:

  • Hematoma: most of the time without seriousness, they can justify being evacuated if it is too important.
  • Infection: exceptional when the procedure is performed under normal aseptic conditions.
  • Skin necrosis can very rarely occur at the scar (especially behind the ear). It prolongs the duration of healing and leaves a wide scar that can be corrected secondarily. This complication is greatly favored by smoking. Thus, smoking cessation is recommended at least a month and a half before surgery.
  • Nerve injury: they can rarely lead to a certain transient insensitivity of the forehead or scalp, or of the lobule of the ear, which fades after a few months. An injury of a branch of the facial nerve is much rarer: it causes an asymmetry of facial mimics, usually temporary.
  • Small asymmetries can sometimes require a new intervention for retouching, several months after the first.

With regard to anesthesia:

during the consultation, the anesthesiologist will inform the patient about the anesthetic risks. However, it must be known that the techniques, anesthetic products and monitoring methods have made enormous progress over the last twenty years, providing optimum safety.

The scars of a facelift

The location of the scars will be determined during the consultation.

  • It depends on the type of facelift and the type of incision (by endoscopy or not).
  • The scars of facelifts are mostly hidden in the hair (at the temple, neck) and inside and / or behind the ear. Their only visible part is in front of the lobule of the ear. These scars fade in a few months, and are then almost no longer visible.
  • The scars are reduced to 5 small incisions in the hair for endoscopic fronto-temporal lifting, and to a large incision in the hair going from one ear to the other for the classic fronto-temporal lifting (exceptionally indicated today) .

Endoscopy is a surgical technique used for many years in many specialties.

  • It consists of performing an intervention without "opening" completely, but just by introducing a mini camera that will allow to follow on a television screen the gestures realized by miniaturized special instruments.
  • This often makes it possible to minimize the surgical trauma and especially to considerably reduce the scars.
  • The residual scars after an endoscopic facelift are five small incisions one centimeter long in the scalp.

What happens after a facelift?

  • The results are easily visible with the current techniques.
  • However, it is necessary to wait about 6 months to assess the final outcome. This is the time required for the edema to resolve and for the tissues to regain their flexibility.
  • The results are more sustainable with current facelift techniques, which act on solid structures. The rejuvenation that results is visible for many years, although the aging process is not stopped by the intervention, the benefit of the facelift will be felt even after several years.

Information Sheet SoFCPRE (Société Française de Chirurgie Plastique Reconstructrice et Esthétique)

Last update of this page : 06-06-2019

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