A surgical facelift (rhytidectomy) is a procedure to remove any excess fat, tighten underlying tissues and redrape the skin of the face and neck. It is useful to think of the term facelift as representing a spectrum, with the standard mini facelift at one end of the spectrum, a full surgical facelift at the other end and the Advanced Mini Facelift somewhere between the two. A facelift can be carried out on almost everyone, but is particularly successful when performed on someone with good bone structure whose facial tissues have begun to sag, but still maintain some elasticity. For some people, an Advanced Mini Facelift may not be the right solution - especially if they have very heavy jowls or a very heavy or 'turkey' neck, or if they are seeking a very dramatic change in their appearance. Under such circumstances our surgeon may recommend a full surgical facelift.
Remember that there are a number of factors that determine what type of facelift is best for you. The final decision will take into account:
- your wishes and expectations
- your anatomy and the degree to which your face has sagged
- what is realistically achievable
How does a full surgical facelift differ from an Advanced Mini Facelift?
A full facelift represents a more extensive surgery than an Advanced Mini Facelift. The incision, particularly behind the ear, is slightly longer than with an Advanced Mini Facelift. The major difference, however, is in the degree of 'undermining' i.e. freeing the skin of the face from the underlying tissues. During an Advanced Mini Facelift this typically extends to the jowl area. With a full facelift the undermining extends to the front of the neck, allowing the neck to be lifted and more 'slack' to be taken up when the skin is re-draped. Surgical access to the tissues in the front of the neck is key to a full facelift - this way the neck can be lifted with the underlying neck tissues being sutured in place if necessary.
Are there any complications of a full surgical facelift?
The majority of patients enjoy a straightforward recovery after a facelift, but as with all interventional procedures there always exists the possibility of complications. The risks of post-operative bleeding, infection and facial nerve damage are higher after a full surgical facelift than an Advanced Mini Facelift. Our Consultant Surgeon will discuss this carefully with you at your initial consultation.
Do I need to have a general anaesthetic to have a full surgical facelift?
No, most definitely not. Nowadays we treat virtually all our patients undergoing any form of facelift under sedation and local anaesthetic. In our experience this is much better than general anaesthesia, and this view is invariably strongly confirmed by the patients we treat. Sedation is also significantly more cost effective than general anaesthesia for patients. We are to the best of our knowledge the only centre in the UK currently performing full surgical facelifts under sedation and local anaesthesia, in keeping with our ethos of being leaders in the field.
Will I be more swollen and bruised after a full facelift than after an Advanced Mini Facelift?
To some degree, yes. However, we apply all the techniques we use during an Advanced Mini Facelift to keep both post-operative swelling and bruising to a minimum.
Is the recovery much longer than after an Advanced Mini Facelift?
The initial recovery is much the same - you will need to spend one night in hospital after the procedure. Although you may be more swollen and bruised after a full facelift, the bruising resolves in the same time frame as after an Advanced Mini Facelift. Most patients are recovered enough to return to their normal daily activities two weeks after a full facelift. In any case, you should not be rushing things after any type of facelift.
Can I have an Advanced Mini Facelift if I have already had a facelift?
Yes, or indeed, vice versa. A facelift is one of the very few surgical procedures where surgery is actually easier to perform the second time around.
How much does a full facelift cost?
A full facelift costs £10,048, which includes the cost of surgery, sedation and all hospital fees (including an overnight stay).