If you have been considering a facelift or rhytidectomy, you more than likely have a few questions. Dr Turner performs facelift plastic surgery and can create customised facial treatment plans specific to the needs of his patients.

Why Do Patients Undergo Facelift (Rhytidectomy)?

Face and neck lift surgery may help to reduce the signs of ageing. By combining the most up to date facelift techniques and a modern understanding of facial anatomy and its contribution to facial ageing, Dr Turner aims to help reduce the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles in the face.

Suitable Candidates for a Facelift (Rhytidectomy)

Both healthy men and women who are looking to address skin laxity and wrinkles on the face may be suitable candidates for this surgery. In addition, suitable candidates must be non-smokers or are willing to quit smoking, have sufficient skin elasticity and facial bone structure, have realistic expectations, and are committed to following pre-operative and post-operative care instructions provided by their surgeon.

A comprehensive face and neck lift is suitable for men and women in their 50s to 70s — while a mini facelift may be suitable for men and women in their 40s.

What is the SMAS?

The superficial muscular aponeurotic system, or SMAS, is a thin continuous layer of fibromuscular tissue that covers your face and neck. This tissue anchors the facial skin to the underlying skeleton and works with underlying facial muscles to create facial expressions.

The SMAS is the facial supportive tissue that is the key to tightening the underlying tissue. Modern facelift surgery techniques modify the SMAS layer by either elevating the SMAS – High SMAS, SMASectomy, or tightening the SMAS – SMAS plication.

Different Types of Facelift (Rhytidectomy) and Neck Lift (Platysmaplasty)

Modern facelift techniques have come a long way in the previous years. How exactly this procedure will be performed, is based on your individual needs. While some patients may only opt for a mid-face or neck lift, others may undergo a comprehensive facelift procedure. Facelift surgery is performed under general anaesthesia in an accredited hospital with the assistance of a qualified anaesthetist. The operation takes anywhere from three to six hours. Depending on your health condition, you may be discharged the same day or after 24 hours.

1. Face & Neck Lift Surgery

This procedure may be suitable for both men and women who are in their 50’s to 70’s. It is based on modern facelift techniques of tightening the underlying SMAS.

A full face and neck lift begins with an incision within the temporal hair and extends along the natural contours of the ear and into the posterior hairline. A separate small incision is frequently made under the chin. Once the incisions are made, the skin and superficial fat are separated from the underlying SMAS and the neck platysma muscles.

The neck is lifted first. This involves suturing the platysma muscle together in the midline and then lifting the sides of the platysma muscle (platysmaplasty). Next, the SMAS is elevated by a high SMAS technique and the excess skin of the face and neck is trimmed and redraped.

An integral component of modern facelift surgery is the combination of fat grafting or facial implants to add volume to the treated area.

2. Mini (Short-Scar) Facelift

This may be suitable for both men and women who are in their 40’s with early signs of facial ageing. A short-scar facelift or S-Lift surgery uses a smaller incision, located in front of the ear and temporal hairline only. This technique allows for the tightening and lifting of the underlying tissues in your face, as well as the removal of excess skin.

A short scar facelift begins with an incision made at your temporal hairline and extended along the natural contour of your ear. Once these incisions are made, the skin and superficial fat are carefully separated from the underlying SMAS. Next, the SMAS is tightened by a SMAS plication technique, and a small amount of the overlying cheek skin is removed.

As with traditional facelift surgery, a mini facelift often combines fat grafting to give a volumetric facelift. This approach adds volume to the cheeks and jawline. To address minor excess fat under the jawline (submental fat), a neck liposuction is performed in conjunction with a short-scar facelift.

3. Midface Lift

A midface lift targets the lower eyelid, cheek (malar), and corner of the mouth. It is ideal for patients with age-related changes in the cheeks, volume loss under the eyes, and deepening nasolabial folds.

A midface lift or concentric malar lift begins with an incision along the lower eyelid lash line extending into a lower eyelid crease (crow’s feet line). Dr Turner often uses a combination of cheek implants and fat grafting to add volume to the midface.

4. Full Neck Lift

A neck lift does not only remove excess fat but also tightens the skin in the neck and jawline. This procedure is rarely performed alone and is generally performed in combination with a facelift.

A neck lift procedure begins with a small incision made under the chin and another in front and behind the ears. Once the incisions are made, the skin is separated from the underlying neck muscle (platysma), and any excess fatty tissue is removed directly or with liposuction. After surgery to the neck, the skin is then draped back over the neck muscles. This lifting and tightening of the neck muscle enables it to support the neck skin.

For patients with certain conditions affecting their chin structures, a chin implant can be placed. The skin is then draped back over the neck. Any excess skin is then removed and the area is closed using sutures.

Other Procedures commonly combined with a Facelift (Rhytidectomy)

Brow Lift (Browplasty)

A brow lift lifts and tightens the skin and tissues of the brow area.

Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty)

Also, known as blepharoplasty, this procedure removes excess skin folds, fat, or muscle from the eyelids.

Facial Implants

Sometimes elevating and tightening the underlying structure of the face and the overlying skin cannot reduce skin laxity. For patients with facial asymmetry, age-related volume loss, or congenital conditions affecting the facial structures, facial implants can help. Facial implants add volume to specific areas of the face.

Non-Surgical Treatments

There are some non-surgical options available, from laser resurfacing, medical-grade skincare, to wrinkle reduction treatments, which can be performed along with a facelift procedure. At our Sydney clinic, we can create a comprehensive treatment plan specific to your needs.

Recovery After Facelift (Rhytidectomy) Surgery

Our recommendation after a facelift is to rest for two weeks to ensure proper healing. You can gradually resume normal routines after this time. Depending on your recovery progress and the surgeon’s preference, any surgical drains are removed in the first 24 to 48 hours.

Expect to wear elastic support for two weeks or so to minimise swelling. Skin stitches are removed between five to seven days after surgery. At two weeks, the swelling should have subsided. Remember, it will be several months before the final result can be fully seen.

The sensation of numbness and tightness subsides with healing. Any discomfort can be managed by taking the prescribed medications.