Ritidectomy (facelift)


Also known as ritidectomy

a facelift is surgery performed for the treatment of facial lines and sagging of the skin caused by aging. The surgery can vary from being minimally invasive to being very extensive and sophisticated. A facelift removes excess skin and realigns the muscles of the face and neck. It can correct sagging of the third mid section of the face, marionette lines and double chins. It is the gold standard procedure for facial rejuvenation. Each year millions of people go through this procedure and achieve good results.


During the first consultation, you will have the opportunity to discuss your aesthetic objectives. The surgeon will determine if you are a suitable candidate for a facelift and will clarify what a facelift can do for you. It is important to be honest during the consultation. You can bring photographs of when you were younger to help discuss your objectives. 

It is important that you can answer the following questions:

  • Do you have any medical conditions, and are you allergic to any medications?
  • Have you had any previous surgery?
  • What medication and supplements are you taking (including vitamins)?
  • Do you drink alcohol, smoke or use recreational drugs?
  • Have you ever had any non-invasive procedures?
  • What results do you expect from the surgery?
  • What reasons do you have for wanting a facelift?

Your surgeon can hand you a mirror and ask exactly what you want to improve about your face. Photos will be taken, your face will be measured, and computer images will be shown you to help you see what can be improved by surgery.
Your health will be looked at as well as the risks of your going under anesthetic. The elasticity of your skin will be analysed. The potential results as well as the risks and complications of surgery will be discussed, as will the type of anesthetic proposed.


Based on your goals, physical characteristics, and training and experience of the surgeon, your surgeon will share recommendations and information to you, including:

One approach to surgery, including the type of procedure or combination of procedures
The results you can anticipate
Your financial investment in the process
Risks and complications associated with
Options for anesthesia and surgery location
what you need to prepare for your surgery
what you can expect to experience after surgery


Normally, a blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) is also performed during a facelift. Depending on the particular case, a facelift can be performed with liposuction on the cervical (neck) area and then a lifting of the muscles in this area.

There will be incision marks (scars) just in front of the ear and following the outline along the back of the ear, but they will fade with time becoming hardly noticeable, and are usually hidden by hair. Following this, there is repositioning of the profound structures of the face and excess skin is removed. The amount of skin removed varies from patient to patient. Removing too much skin is avoided to prevent leaving the patient with an artificial appearance. The eyelid surgery is performed in the final stages of the procedure. A facelift is usually performed under local anesthetic but with sedation, sometimes with a general anesthetic. The procedure takes between three and five hours, and the patient should stay in hospital for 24 hours after surgery. First results should be seen after a fortnight, and the full results seen between six and twelve months after the operation.


Your plastic surgeon will give you complete pre-operative instructions which will answer most questions you may have. The surgeon will take your detailed clinical history and perform a thorough examination to determine your eligibility for the surgery. It would be good if you also talked through the procedure with your family doctor or cardiologist so as to ensure that you are a suitable patient for this surgery. The preparation for the surgery starts with the surgeon examining you and discussing the details of the procedure. This may require stabilising your weight or making other lifestyle changes before embarking on the surgery. It is best to follow these instructions to guarantee the best results and minimize complications.

In anticipation of the surgery, the surgeon will ask of you the following:

Stop smoking for at least six weeks prior to surgery in order to promote good healing and reduce scarring. Smoking also increases the risk of more severe complications. Do not take non steroidal anti-inflammatories, aspirin, vitamins or homeopathic remedies as these can increase the risk of excess bleeding.
Correct hydration is very important to recovery both before and after surgery.
A facelift procedure can be performed at a hospital or surgery clinic.It is important that someone accompanies you for the first 24 or 48 hours. To make the recovery period easier, make some careful preparations:

If you dye your hair, you should do this a couple of days before surgery, since otherwise you will have to wait over a month to do so. You should stock your fridge with a lot of fruit, vegetables and low fat protein to help your recovery. Avoid salt as it tends to increase water retention. Prepare healthy meals before surgery and freeze them. Choose clothes that you can open in front so that they do not have to be taken on or off over your head. This type of clothing should be used on the day of surgery. Do not plan to do any heavy domestic or other work or exercise during the recovery period. Avoid hot baths, saunas and hydrotherapy baths for at least three weeks after the surgery.


You will receive medication to keep you comfortable during the procedure.
A local anesthetic combined with sedation is commonly used during this type of surgery.For your safety during surgery, there are monitors of your heart, your arterial pressure, your pulse and the quantity of oxygen circulating in your blood.
After surgery you will be taken to a recovery area where you will continue to be closely monitored. The incisions from the surgery will have bandages on them to minimize bleeding and swelling. Drains are usually left in for a few days to help the swelling. Before leaving the hospital, you or the person accompanying you will be comfortable in using the drains. Under no circumstances will you be allowed to go home alone.


Your surgeon will discuss with you concerning when you will be able to return to your normal activities and go back to work. After the surgery, you will receive detailed instructions on your aftercare, including information about the drains.Immediately after the surgery

You will have some discomfort and some pain. This can be controlled with oral analgesics (pain killers) but, if insufficient, be sure to tell the surgeon. Discomfort should lessen after 48 hours but, if you feel increased discomfort, contact the surgeon. If you have severe pain, contact your surgeon immediately.
Swelling and bruising are to be expected. These will gradually decrease 10 to 14 days after surgery. The thick compression bandages used to prevent bleeding need to be kept in place for two days after the surgery.


Your genes, skin quality, and routine maintenance are important factors for the longevity of your facelift, but the facelift technique is the number one factor in determining how long it will last the result.

Technical minimally invasive Facelift with fast recovery will last the least amount of time.
Mini facelift, or "S-Lift" , Refers to a facelift with a small amount of undermining the skin with a limited mobilization of the SMAS (muscle / fascia). With this technique, the recovery is faster and the results can last up to five years
complete or classical pattern facelift: There are many versions of the operation that fall into this class, and can be called SMAS platysma, SMAS-ectomy, intertwining the SMAS deep plane lift compound, or subperiosteal. These all require large rearrangement of the underlying facial tissues as well as significant weakening of the skin. They are procedures that are performed by trained aesthetic plastic surgeons and certified by the technically demanding Council. Recovery is longer (two to four weeks), but the results can usually last more than ten years.
The longer the procedure and the longer the recovery period will be is how much longer you will enjoy the results .
Maintain a relationship with your aesthetic plastic surgeon
For security reasons, as well as the most beautiful and healthy result, it is important to return to the office of your plastic surgeon for follow-up evaluation sometimes prescribed and whenever you have questions about your facelift healing and results.


Fortunately, significant complications from plastic surgery are not common. This surgery continues to be the gold standard for facial rejuvenation and is usually performed without major problems.

Risks and potential complications will be discussed during your initial consultations. Some of the potential complications are:

An adverse reaction to the anesthetic, haematomas or seromas (the accumulation of fluid in the skin that may have to be drained), infection, change in sensitivity, scarring, allergic reactions, damage to local structures. Results that were not as expected can lead to the need for more surgery. You can help minimize the risks by following all the instructions given to you before and after surgery.