Facelift surgery is probably the best known cosmetic facial procedure and is the absolute gold standard for lower face and neck, as it achieves lasting facial rejuvenation of 10-15years. Although there are many new technology that supposedly address skin and neck tightening (eg. Micro-needling, PDO thread lift, Pelleve heat therapy) none of these can come close to the improvement and longevity of traditional facelift surgery.

Surgery time: 120-160minutes
Type of anaesthesia: General anaesthesia
Recovery time: 14-21days


Facelift surgery was developed and refined over a century ago and has undergone many changes. The facelift that your parents may have had is not the same as today’s contemporary techniques. A generation ago, a facelift had an average hospital stay of three to four days. Facelift surgery now typically takes 2-3hours and patients go home on the same day, due to recent advances in surgical instruments, technology and anaesthesia.

It is important to note that outcome of surgery to some extent is affected by skin quality, hence it is in everyone’s interest to optimise their skin care routine to minimise the effects of uv-radiation (ie. sun damage) to skin, which is major factor contributing to premature ageing as well as smoking and excessive alcohol (all preventable habits).

The comprehensive facelift

When does a mini-lift become a maxi-lift?

A common question for many patients is do I need a full facelift? The term full facelift is very misleading and means different things to different surgeons and patients. Basically, a full facelift addresses the entire lower face and neck and come in small, medium and large varieties.

While patients with more aging changes need a larger type of lift, the procedure is very similar to the mini lift. When most patient refer to a full facelift they are actually talking about traditional facelift with simultaneous rejuvenation procedure on the upper and mid face such as eyelid surgery and brow lift.

The patient with more aging changes (frequently hereditary related), the incisions and the degree of skin elevation requires a more extensive procedure. We call larger procedure a comprehensive facelift. It is basically a larger version of the mini lift to address the larger aging changes of the lower face and neck.

Most patients will take two weeks away from work with a comprehensive facelift procedure If this is not possible, some patients will have their surgery or a Thursday or a Friday. This gives them a weekend, the next 5day work week, and another weekend to recover. By doing this they can recover in 9 to 10 days and only miss a single work week. Most of these patients can wear sunglasses, turtleneck shirts and make up and get out of the house after a week but will usually recover in an additional week before returning to work. Patients who can work from home are usually able to do so at one week.

As stated earlier, there are many misleading marketing materials about supposed new facelift that are done with patients awake, don’t require bandages, no time away from work, etc. The patient must really be aware of all these procedures and their limitations, especially if they have significant aging of the face and neck. Performing a small face lift (ie. addressing one small area) on a patient who needs a large one will lead to an unhappy patient with compromised results. The lift will not be as tight or effects will not last long. Many patients have fallen prey to procedure that sounded too good to be true and resulted in requiring more surgery to achieve their desired look.