Face Liftsurgical procedure

A formal face lift procedure may be desirable in cases where a patient wishes to achieve considerable rejuvenation of the jawline and neck.

This is often necessary where there is a a significant degree of skin laxity and the face lift may incorporate a neck lift (platysmaplasty, volume reduction) procedure in order to sculpt the face and neck to the patient’s desired aesthetic outcome.

Scars are placed in the hairline behind the ears, along with scars at the temple, in front of the top of the ears and a little distance inside the ears to minimise their visibility.


In most cases the face lift surgery is carried out under general anaesthetic and patients will spend a night in hospital after the procedure to ensure their comfort. More limited face lift surgeries can be performed under local anaesthesia and intravenous sedation.

It is uncommon for a full face lift to be carried out under local anaesthetic, but customised solutions can be entertained, in particular when a general anaesthetic is a significant health concern.

Hidden incisions

After the general anaesthetic takes effect and the patient is comfortably asleep the surgeon will typicaly make an incision high in the temple hidden in the hairline.

This incision follows the curve down in front of the top and bottom of the ear and behind the centre of the ear, which is called the tragus.

The incision continues behind the ear from underneath the ear lobe and up in a curve back to the hairline to minimise visibility.

An incision in the chin may be deemed necessary in face lift procedures aiming to sculpt the definition of the jawline and neck but, typically hidden behind the natural crease that happens under the chin.

Facelift short scar illustrations

Short-scar face lift

Patients with limited laxity and a relatively well maintained neck contour may opt instead for a short scar face lift which can rejuvenate the jawline contour, including tightening the facial appearance and reshaping the corners of the mouth.

Scars in this procedure are mainly positioned in front of and inside the ears with a small extension behind the ears in some cases.

Using the SMAS layer for face lifts

The SMAS layer is frequently used in both a formal face lift procedure and in the short scar face lift and is considered to be the better way of tightening the facial contours to rejuvenate the appearance.

The SMAS layer is an extension of the platysma muscles in the cheek region, with the acronym standing for ‘Superficial Musculo-Aponeurotic System’.

This layer of muscle and fascia is stronger and more stable than the skin and provides the opportunity to reshape the corners of the mouth, reduce the visible nasolabial folds, and give the lifting effect desired by a face lift, without creating a “pulled" appearance .

Further reshaping and restructuring can be achieved through volume reduction in areas of excess tissue, often in the lower portion of the cheeks and under the chin.

Removing excess fat can reduce the heavy look of the jawline and create a more elegant and well-defined facial contour.

Where desirable, volume enhancement of the cheekbone area, and the contours around the mouth can be achieved using fat transfer. This is an excellent way to add softness to areas of the face that have become sharper with age, but also to highlight facial contours without excess tightening.

Completing the procedure

Following volume reduction the skin is redraped and any excess removed with care taken to avoid creating too much tension in the face (often referred to as the 'wind-tunnel effect').

The surgeon will then close the incision in front of the ear using sutures and by using metal clips in the hair to protect the hair follicles and avoid hair loss .

Some surgeons apply a light bandage around the patient’s head at the end of surgery to help protect the incisions.

Small drainage tubes inserted under the skin during the procedure will be left in place for several days afterwards in order to avoid problematic fluid build-up.

These are usually removed at the practice after a few days so that bruising and swelling are minimal and the healing process is accelerated.

Get in touch. Talk to our helpful team or book a consultation with Mr Lucian Ion. Call 0207 486 7757

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