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What is a facelift?

A facelift lifts the skin and fat of the face and neck, thereby tightening the skin. The excess skin is removed. This is often combined with tightening of the underlying muscle layer (a SMAS lift), which increases the tone of the face.

Additional procedures may be undertaken if requested, which will have been discussed at your consultation, such as liposuction, brow lift and 'eye-bag' removal.

Why have it?

As we age the appearance of the face and neck changes. The skin may show signs of sun damage and age related changes. It loses elasticity, develops wrinkles and with increasing time begins to sag. The muscle layer loses tone, which leads to visible jowls and loose neck skin. The extent of these changes varies with our genetics, sun exposure, smoking and weight loss.

This can cause a loss of confidence, and a growing number of people are now taking the opportunity to reverse these changes by having surgical facelifts. A facelift in isolation or in combination with other non-surgical procedures can lead to a more youthful and attractive appearance. It allows clothes with a lower neckline to be worn, and it boosts self-esteem and confidence.

Reasons not to have it

Smoking increases the incidence of complications from facelift surgery. It may be wise to delay surgery until smoking is stopped or cut down.

Aspirin increases the risk of bleeding by preventing blood from clotting. If you are taking aspirin you will be asked to stop this for at least ten days before the procedure.

Further information


You will be examined for sun-damaged skin, loss of elasticity, jowling and loose skin in the front of the neck.

You will be asked about your general health, particularly information regarding heart disease, diabetes, and deep vein thrombosis (clots in the leg). Mr Roblin will want information about your medical history and any previous surgical procedures.


There are variations to the procedure, but in general a facelift lifts and re-drapes the skin of the face and neck. In addition to this the underlying muscle layer may tightened with sutures, or lifted with the excess removed. At the front, the scars are hidden in the temple hair and along a natural crease in front of the ear. The scars behind the ear are hidden in the crease at the back of the ear, and in the hairline behind this.

Occasionally, a further scar under the chin is necessary or a small degree of liposuction used in this area.

A drain is left in both sides of the face and bandage applied.


The operation is performed under general anaesthesia. It takes approximately 2 hours.

Length of stay

1 night following the operation.

Risks/Possible complications

Early (1-2 days):

  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Temporary numbness
  • Discomfort
  • Bleeding (haematoma)
  • Infection
  • Wound breakdown

Later (after one week):

  • Scars - can be lumpy, or unsightly
  • Delayed wound healing
  • Permanent numbness
  • Facial nerve injury
  • The hairline is lifted
  • The beard moves closer to the ear
  • Skin discolouration
  • Asymmetry
General anaesthetic
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Chest infection
  • Allergic reaction to drugs or tape


Immediately after the operation
  • You will feel bruised and sore and there will be some swelling
  • Pain is usually moderate and controlled with standard painkillers
  • A drain is place in each side and is removed the next day
After return home
  • Socialising with friends at 5-10 days
  • Return to work at 2-3 weeks
  • Driving at 2-3 weeks
  • Swelling and bruising up to 3-4 weeks
  • Return to gym and strenuous activity 6 weeks
  • Final result 3-4 months

Permanence of results

10 yrs