With age the facial skin loosens, wrinkles and creases develop and the muscles of the neck and forehead saggs.

Rhytidectomy gives a more youthful appearance by firming and tightening the skin of the face and neck. It is helpful for eliminating loose skin folds in the neck and laxity of tissues in the cheeks. It also removes fat bulges. The areas not well corrected by a facelift include the nasolabial folds and marionette lines which are more suitably treated with injectable fillers.

Facelifts work best in women with thin skin and good bone structure.


Facial plastic surgery involves the removal of excess facial skin, with or without the tightening of underlying tissues and the redraping of the skin on the patients face and neck.

In the traditional facelift, an incision is made in front of the ear extending up into the hairline. The incision curves around the bottom of the ear and then behind it, usually ending near the hairline on the back of the neck. After the skin incision is made, the skin is separated from the deeper tissues with a scalpel or scissors (also called undermining) over the cheeks and neck. At this point, the deeper tissues (fascial suspension system of the face) can be tightened with sutures, with or without removing some of the excess deeper tissues. The skin is then redraped and the amount of excess skin to be removed is determined by the surgeons judgement and experience. The excess skin is then removed and the skin incisions are closed with sutures and staples.

The incisions in front of the ear are usually inconspicuous. The incisions behind the ears are hidden from casual view. Hair loss in the portions of the incision within the hair-bearing scalp can occasionally occur.

The telltale signs of a facelift is an earlobe which is pulled downwards and/or distorted. If too much skin is removed (as was common many years ago), the face can assume a pulled-back, "windswept" appearance.

The best results are achieved when the facelift procedure is combined with other facial procedures and are typically performed under general anesthesia or deep twilight sleep.


Bleeding which usually requires a return to the operating room.
Accumulation of blood under the skin needing removal (hematoma)
Incisions might leave scars. Scars are usually pink which fade away into white over time.
Less common, but potentially serious is damage to the facial nerve and necrosis of the skin flaps.
Prolonged swelling, infection and reactions to anesthesia.
The risk of postoperative complications is increased in cigarette smokers and patients with hypertension and diabetes.


Patients should abstain from taking aspirin or other blood thinners around the time of surgery.


A major face lift surgery costs from US$ 6500 - US$ 8500.
The surgical procedure for major face lift takes 2.5 to 4 hours.

A minor face lift surgery costs from US$ 4500 - US$ 6000.
The surgical procedure for minor face lift takes 1.5 to 2 hours.

This page has been updated on the 2017-12-18.