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For many people, facelift surgery, also known as rhytidectomy, is what comes to mind when they envisage cosmetic surgery. This classic cosmetic surgical treatment can significantly reduce the signs of ageing, and dramatically enhance and rejuvenate a person’s appearance.

The age of men and women interested in facelifts varies, with some relatively young patients wishing to reverse the negative effects of their lifestyles on their facial lines, wrinkles, and sagging, while many older patients desire a facelift to make them ‘look good for their age’. Whereas some symptoms of aging and lifestyle can be treated very effectively through non-surgical options (such as Botox®, and dermal fillers), in many instances a fuller and more permanent remedy can best be achieved through a facelift.

The term facelift covers a number of surgical procedures that do one or more of the following: remove excess skin; remove excess fat; tighten loose skin; tighten sagging muscles. There are several different types of facelift surgery, and certain procedures are more suited to certain patients. Also, different surgeons may specialise in one or another according to their surgical preferences. In addition to the Scarless Suture Method, the different types of facelift include:

  • Mini-Lift

This is the most basic of facelifts, and involves little more than a skin tuck. The surgeon lifts the skin from the underlying muscle, bone, and fat, then the skin is stretched taut, and any surplus skin excised, and the wound sutured. Drains may be used.

The mini-lift has little, if any effect on the grooves running between nose and mouth (known as the naso-labial grooves). Depending on the amount of skin removed, the results may be more or less marked, and, consequently, last for varying periods of time.

  • SMAS Lift

The Superficial Musculo-Aponeurotic System, or SMAS, procedure involves the surgeon lifting the deeper layer of muscle in addition to the overlying skin. This allows the structures in the lower face and neck to be sutured to bone higher on the face, hence tightening the sling running around the lower face and chin/neck. Any excess fat may also be removed.

  • Extended SMAS Lift

In this extension to the conventional SMAS procedure, the surgeon lifts the whole of the skin and SMAS layer all the way to the nose, totally elevating it from the cheek structures beneath. Consequently, the appearance of the mid-face is improved considerably, as are the naso-labial grooves.

  • Composite Facelift

This procedure is generally taken to involve an extended SMAS lift, to which a browlift is added, and possibly also lower eyelid surgery.

  • Mask Lift

This modern technique is a much more extensive procedure, and is sometimes referred to as Subperiosteal Facelift. It involves a hairband-type incision, which is taken right down through the covering of the bone. This allows all of the deeper layers of the face to be lifted. Incisions within the mouth to release all of the structures of the cheek.

  • Endoscopic Lift

This is a refinement of the Mask Lift, allowing for the lifting of the deeper structures of the face to be performed through several small incisions, and through key-hole surgical instruments.

A basic Mini-Lift may take around two hours. Larger face-lifts, especially if combined with other procedures, may take around five or more hours. It is likely the face will be bandaged following surgery. Depending on surgeon preference, and the type of lift, these bandages may remain in place for up to five days. For the first 24 hours or so after surgery, patients are advised to sleep upright. Sutures are usually removed after one to two weeks. Rest at home for the first week following surgery is essential, and strenuous activity should be avoided for about one month, though it is important to take gentle exercise.

At the time of your consultation at the Alexandra Private Hospital, your surgeon will discuss the various options available to you, in line with your specific medical circumstances. You should always feel free to ask your surgeon any questions that you have regarding the surgery, and discuss any areas that may seem unclear. The goal of your surgeon and the Hospital staff is to make your entire experience as comfortable, and worry-free as possible.


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"To everyone at the hospital who nursed me during my overnight stay...
Just to say a huge thank you...for looking after me whilst I had my breast enlargement surgery.
Thanks again. You were all fantastic!!

- Emma