Facelifts explained – cost, surgery, and everything else you need to know
As we age our skin naturally becomes less elastic and can start to sag a little around the lower part of the face and neck.
A facelift (or rhytidectomy) aims to reverse the signs of ageing, making the face look more youthful.
If you’re one of the increasing number of people considering facelift surgery (numbers are up 75 per cent in the last 20 years – with more than 234,000 people having one in 2020) understanding what’s involved and how much a facelift might cost is essential.
Duration of results
10 to 15 years
Back to work
Full recovery time
32,500 SAR to 41,000 SAR
2 to 4 hours
What is a facelift?
Facelifts are a surgical procedure that can tighten up the appearance of jowls and result in a younger, fresher look.
The surgery involves removing surplus skin, before pulling it back and upwards for a tighter appearance.
There are several different kinds of facelift available – including a mini facelift.
How does a facelift work?
You’ll meet with a surgeon who will examine and take photos of your face. There will be lots of options to choose from and it’s also a great opportunity to discuss the results you’d like.
Before the procedure, you might be asked to wash your face with germicidal soap, and to stop taking certain medication a specific amount of time before surgery.
During facelift surgery
Most patients receive a general anaesthetic, and you won’t feel a thing. The type of facelift you have determines the exact procedure. However, you can expect some of the following to occur:
- The surgeon will make a few small skin entries from the temple, down alongside the ear and potentially at the chin.
- Fat is then either moved or removed entirely, along with any excess skin.
- Muscle and connective tissue are moved and tightened.
- The remaining skin is repositioned and stitched into place.
During a mini facelift, an ‘S’ shaped incision will be made around the ear and the wrinkles and skin on the lower half of the face lifted. This doesn’t include the neck or any sagging skin underneath for which you need to have a full facelift. A mini facelift can be cheaper and a good alternative if you don’t have too much excess skin around the lower half of your face.
Your face will be bandaged to reduce any bruising. It’s likely you will stay in overnight, to ensure everything’s gone smoothly.
You will be unable to drive immediately so you’ll need to organise transport to get home. It’s important to rest for up to a month after surgery while you recover and there’s a chance you may experience some discomfort, so be prepared with painkillers to manage this.
To make sure your face is healing as it should you’ll have several follow up appointments. The first one should be the day after surgery, then a few days later to remove bandages and the surgical drainage tube, if you have one. About a week later you’ll need to return for a final check-up to remove any stitches.
How much does a facelift cost – and what else do I need to know?
How much does a facelift cost?
A facelift typically costs anything between 32,500 SAR and 41,000 SAR in Saudi Arabia.
The price will depend on several factors, including the type of facelift you undergo, the clinic where the surgery is performed, and the city and country where you have it done.
How long does a facelift last?
A facelift usually lasts for around 10 years, although the results of some could remain for up to 15 years – depending on your lifestyle and genetics. While it can help to reverse the signs of ageing, naturally it doesn’t stop the process indefinitely.
Does a facelift always work?
Facelifts work most of the time. However, there is a small chance you won’t be happy with the results. New types of facelifts and techniques are constantly being developed which means the surgery is becoming more sophisticated as surgeons learn more. Good genetics can help influence results, while good skin elasticity and bone structure will also ensure better results.
If you aren’t happy or don’t feel like the facelift has worked, you should speak to the surgeon straight away and discuss what can be done to resolve it – this may mean further surgery.
Does a facelift hurt?
A facelift will not hurt during the procedure as it is done under general or local anaesthetic. It shouldn’t hurt afterwards either, but you may feel some soreness and discomfort whilst your body heals. Keep incisions and bandages dry to prevent any infection and follow instructions from the doctor around washing and bathing.
How long will recovery take?
Your face might look bruised for around two weeks after surgery, but full recovery can take up to a month. Take some time off work and ensure you get plenty of rest. Free up your diary and make sure you have friends and family on standby to help out should you need them.
Are there any side-effects of a facelift?
Yes, there are likely to be a few side-effects after a facelift procedure. The most common is bruised cheeks and your face may feel numb, puffy, or even a little stiff. The bruising should go quickly, but it’s possible some of the other side-effects could last anything from a few weeks to months.
Is it safe?
Yes, if you go to an experienced and reputable surgeon, a facelift is completely safe. But, as with any procedure, there are risks. These could include damage to facial nerves, scarring, infection, and blood clots.
Always speak to your surgeon about any risks prior to your surgery so you can make an informed decision. They may even look at your medical records to make sure you’re fit and well enough to have a facelift, as it’s not usually recommended for anyone who has any serious medical problems. Give up smoking in the weeks prior to your surgery to help give your body the best chance of healing.
What alternatives can I try?
High-intensity focused ultrasound, or ‘HIFU’, is a non-invasive technique where ultrasound technology targets the same skin and muscles as a traditional facelift. In this case however it helps to stimulate the production of collagen in these areas – toning and tightening from within. Popular versions of the treatment include Ultraformer and Ultherapy. There’s no downtime but you will need top-ups every three to six months to maintain results.
Dermal Fillers and Botox
A combination of dermal fillers and Botox can help to give an overall younger, smoother, and tighter looking face. Injectables won’t get rid of any sagging skin in the same way a facelift can, they can smooth any fine lines and plump out any area.
Thread lifts are slightly less invasive than a facelift and aim to lift your face using medical grade thread inserted underneath the skin. These are then tightened to pull your skin taught. The procedure takes around an hour to complete and you’ll be able to get back to your day-to-day life straight away. However, results only last for around one to three years after treatment.
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