As we age, the skin loses its elasticity becoming more prone to sagging, losing tone and developing lines. This is most obvious on the face and neck and many people decide to have a face lift, often in combination with other facial cosmetic surgery to improve their appearance in their middle and later years.

At The London Clinic, several plastic and reconstructive surgeons offer face lift surgery. The most common technique used involves an SMAS face lift (a submuscular aponeurotic system face lift). This tightens up the underlying muscular layer as well as the skin, providing an increase in tone that is longer lasting.

Your face lift consultation

At your initial meeting with your consultant, they will examine your face and neck in detail and ask you about your expectations. They will then explain the types of face lift procedures that are suitable and advise you on any other procedures such as a brow lift, cheek implants, chin implants or liposuction that will help you achieve your objectives.

You will need to discuss your general health, whether you have had any previous surgery, particularly on your face, head or neck, and any underlying health problems.

Face lift surgery: what to expect

A face lift at The London Clinic will take about 2 hours, but the surgery time will be longer if you also have a brow lift or another procedure at the same time. The overall objective of a face lift is to lift the skin from the face, tighten up the underlying muscle and then reposition the skin, removing any excess.

The sutures to hold the skin in place are positioned at the hairline and in the crease in front of the ear so that scarring is kept to a minimum.

Straight after surgery you can expect to have a drain inserted into the wound, which allows excess fluid to be removed easily. This usually remains in place until the next day; once it is removed you will be allowed to go home as a one-night stay in The Clinic is normal for face lift surgery.

Cosmetic procedures that can be done with a face lift:

  • A brow lift: The London Clinic offers endoscopic brow lifts as well as open brow lifts. If you are having a face lift at the same time you will have an open brow lift to tighten the forehead and to raise your eyebrows.
  • Blepharoplasty: an eyelid reduction and removal of the bags under the eyes can be done with a face lift or in conjunction with a brow lift.
  • Cheek implants: soft silicone inserts can be put into place during the face lift to provide greater definition to the cheekbones. Implants or fatty tissue obtained from liposuction elsewhere in your body can also be placed lower in the face to counteract the appearance of sunken cheeks.
  • A chin implant: a soft silicone implant is inserted into the chin to improve a receding chin and give more definition to the lower face.
  • Facial liposuction: this can be done to reduce the excess fatty tissue under the chin and around the jaw.

Recovering from a face lift

You will feel bruised and sore for a few days but you will be able to return to normal activities fairly quickly. You may want to allow the swelling and bruising to subside before you return to work, but this should be possible in 2-3 weeks. Unlike cosmetic surgery that is done on the body, a face lift only prevents you from returning fully to exercise and full activity for about 6 weeks.
You will see the final result after about 4 months and the scars will continue to fade over the following year.