Facelift procedures are varied and complex – probably some of the most complex procedures in cosmetic surgery. The standard Facelift addresses the areas below the cheekbones to the jawline. A Neck Lift, which can be done in conjunction, addresses the area below the jawline, and a Mid-Face Lift addresses the area below the eyes – usually in conjunction with a Blepharoplasty operation. Because of the complex nature of the surgery, which particular procedure is best for you is something to be discussed carefully with Mr Price.

Laxity and descent of the facial tissues leads to drooping in the area of the face between the cheekbones above and jaw below. A Facelift not only removes skin but also tightens the tissues beneath in order to reposition the facial skin into a more youthful position.

In a standard facelift operation, an incision is made from within the hair of the temple, down in front of, beneath and behind each ear (i.e. a J-shaped incision). The skin of the face is lifted, and then the muscle layer underneath pulled tighter using a number of techniques. The skin is then redraped and any excess removed before closing the wound neatly with sutures.

After the operation you will wake up with a bandage around the head and one drain on each side. These are very important since collections of blood under the skin can impair its blood supply and cause serious problems with wound healing. The drain is removed and fresh dressing applied before you go home – usually after one night in hospital for a full lift.

A mini lift can be done under Local Anaesthetic (you are awake) or a General Anaesthetic (you are asleep). It is a smaller facelift operation and is usually carried out as a day case procedure.

Over the next few days your face will be quite swollen and bruised, both of which tend to recover over a week or two. Occasionally bruising may take longer to wear off. The stitches are removed after a week and the dressings changed for smaller ones.

It is quite common for the skin of the face to feel numb for a number of weeks and, occasionally, months. It is much less common that the nerves supplying the muscles of the face can be damaged, leading to weakness in some of the muscles of the face. This usually recovers over 6-8 weeks but can, occasionally, be permanent. This is probably the most significant long-term risk of the procedure.

If a mid-face procedure is carried out at the same time, there will also be scars along the lower eyelid. Both these and the scars around the neck fade from red to white over a number of months and are usually very well hidden in time. For more information about mid-face lifts and blepharoplasty, see the blepharoplasty page.

A Facelift procedure rejuvenates the face but does not stop your biological clock from ticking, and over time the face will continue to sag slowly, so that this is a procedure that is often repeated after a number (typically 10-15) of years.

Neck Lift

A Neck Lift is the procedure to tighten and re-shape the neck. Sagging is a feature of the ageing neck, as are bands or folds of skin travelling from the jaw down the neck. A Neck Lift, often carried out in conjunction with a Face Lift, aims to tighten the neck skin and smooth it out. When carried out alone, the scars are lower on the face than a facelift scar, typically starting in front of the ear at the level of the ear hole, rather than in the hairline.

The vertical wrinkles in the ageing neck are caused by the platysma muscle, which can be addressed in a number of ways. The commonest is by releasing them during a Face Lift procedure and pulling the skin tighter against the neck. Another way is to join the two muscles (one on each side) beneath the chin, which is undertaken through a small cut under the chin.

As in the facelift procedure, the platysma muscle is tightened before the skin is redraped and sutured. You should be aware that the scars behind the ear are irregular and can be lumpy for a period of time as they settle – this is in an attempt to minimise the length of the scars.

Fullness beneath the chin can be addressed by either a simple neck lift, or by removal of the fat here – which can be by liposuction of via the incision described above.

The postoperative care is similar to that of a face lift; you will wake with drains and a bandage, both of which will be removed the next day. A fresh bandage may be applied and you will be able to go home after a night in hospital.

It is common for there to be some numbness in the skin of the neck after the operation, which improves over weeks and/or months. Another potential problem is injury to the nerve that pulls the lower lip down, giving an asymmetric smile – this is rare in Mr Prices experience.

To make an appointment to discuss Face Lift surgery in Cambridge, please contact Mr Price’s secretary.