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What is facelift surgery?

Facelift surgery, also known as rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure that improves visible signs of ageing in the face and neck, such as sagging skin in your midface and/or jawline, facial fat (volume) that has fallen or is displaced, sagging and loss of muscle tone in the lower face, resulting in jowls, deepening of the fold lines between the nose and corner of the mouth (nasolabial folds), lines extending from each corner of your mouth down your chin (marionette lines) and loose skin and excess fat of the neck that can appear as a double chin or "turkey neck".

The loss of youthful contours in the face can be due to a variety of factors, including thinning of the skin, loss of facial fat, gravity, sun damage, smoking, as well as heredity, and stress. Other procedures that might be performed in conjunction with a facelift are brow lift and eyelid surgery to rejuvenate ageing eyes. A facelift can improve many areas of the face in one surgery and recontour the neck and jawline better than all other techniques.

 “Facelift surgery is a highly individualized procedure. You should do it for yourself, not to fulfil someone else's desires or to try to fit any sort of ideal image, especially those coming from social media. Choosing a procedure based on “what’s new” is never a medically sound decision. Hearing about a procedure on television, through an advertisement or online does not necessarily mean it is the best procedure for you.”

What a facelift surgery can't do?

As a restorative surgery, facelift surgery does not change your fundamental appearance and cannot stop the ageing process. It will not create a “new” you, just a younger version of yourself. A facelift can only be performed surgically. Minimally invasive rejuvenation treatments cannot achieve the same results but may help delay the time at which a facelift becomes appropriate and complement the results of surgery.

Who is a good candidate for facelift surgery?

In general, you may be a good candidate for facelift surgery if you feel that your face does not reflect your youthful spirit and energy level, the sagging and excess skin of your face is a social or career obstacle, you show signs of facial ageing but still have some skin elasticity, one day you look in the mirror and realize that time, gravity, sun exposure, and heredity have taken a toll and you simply do not look like yourself anymore, you are physically fit, nonsmoker or have stopped smoking recently and have realistic expectations of the outcome of your surgery.

What should I expect during a consultation for facelift surgery?

During your initial consultation, you will have the opportunity to discuss your cosmetic goals. Dr Ricardo will evaluate you as a candidate for facelift surgery and clarify what approach is best for you. Alternative and additional treatments may be considered, once he understands your goals and medical condition. It is important to be completely honest during the consultation and be prepared to discuss your medical, drug allergies and medical treatments, current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drug use, previous surgeries and your history with any noninvasive cosmetic procedures and why you want the procedure, your expectations and desired outcome.

Dr Ricardo will also evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors, evaluate the elasticity of your skin, take photographs, discuss the approach to your surgery, including the type of procedure or combination of procedures and tell you whether your expectations are in line with typical results, discuss any risks or potential complications and share before-and-after photos of cases similar to yours.

The success and safety of your facelift surgery depend very much on your complete candidness during your consultation. It's very important to understand all aspects of your procedure. It's natural to feel some anxiety, whether it's excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don't be shy about discussing these feelings with Dr Ricardo.

How should I prepare for facelift surgery?

In preparing for facelift surgery, you may be asked to get lab testing or a medical evaluation, take certain medications or adjust your current medications, stop smoking in advance of surgery and avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding.

The surgery will be performed in an accredited hospital and requires you to stay overnight for observation unless you and Dr Ricardo have made other plans for your immediate postoperative recovery. You must arrange for a friend or family member to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you the first night following the hospital’s discharge.


Dr Ricardo and the entire staff will provide thorough preoperative instructions and answer any questions you may have. The goal is to help you achieve the most beautiful and natural-looking results, as well as to make your surgical experience as easy, comfortable, and safe as possible.

What are the steps of a facelift procedure?

Step 1 – Anaesthesia

Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anaesthesia. Dr Ricardo will recommend the best choice for you.

Step 2 – Surgical procedure

Depending on the degree of change you'd like to see and facial characteristics, your facelift choices include a traditional facelift, limited incision facelift, or a neck lift.

A traditional facelift incision often begins in the hairline at the temples, continues around the ear, and ends in the lower scalp. Fat may be sculpted or redistributed from the face, jowls, and neck and underlying tissue is repositioned, commonly the deeper layers of the face and the muscles are also lifted. Skin is redraped over the uplifted contours and excess skin is trimmed away. A second incision under the chin may be necessary to further improve an ageing neck. Sutures close the incisions.

A limited incision facelift is an alternative to a traditional facelift that uses shorter incisions at the temples, continuing around the ear. "Mini-lift" is usually reserved for patients with less skin relaxation, as the results are less rejuvenating than a full facelift.

A neck lift addresses the sagging jowls, loose neck skin, and fat accumulation under the chin. The neck lift incision often begins in front of the ear lobe and wraps around the ear, and ends in the posterior hair. This procedure may be associated with neck liposuction.

Step 3 – Closing the incisions

The incisions will be closed with sutures that may dissolve or may need to be removed after a few days. Once healed, the incision lines from facelift surgery are well concealed within the hairline and in the natural contours of the face and ear.

Step 4 – See the results

The visible improvements of a facelift surgery appear once swelling and bruising subside. Your final result should not only restore a more youthful and rested appearance but also help you feel more confident about yourself, achieving the most beautiful and natural-looking results.  

What should I expect during my facelift recovery?

Following the completion of a facelift, a bulky bandage might be placed around your face to minimize swelling and bruising. Small tubes may be present to draw off any excess blood or fluid but its placement by Dr Ricardo is not common, just for particular cases like those patients who are undergoing secondary surgery. It is important to keep your head elevated above your heart to minimize swelling and to keep your head straight (no excessive twisting or bending of the neck). Do not use ice or heat on the operated area.

You will be given specific instructions on how to care for the surgical site, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health, and when to follow up with Dr Ricardo. Remember to always follow his instructions to ensure the success of your surgery.

Cosmetics can help camouflage any bruising. Initial wound healing may take 10 to 14 days. Sutures will be removed when it is appropriate. The surgical incisions mustn't be subjected to excessive force, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing. Avoid wearing any clothing that must go over your head.

You should be ready to return to work and normal activity after 7-10 days. As swelling and bruising subside, the visible improvements of a facelift appear. However, you must realize that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly among individuals.

What results should I expect after my facelift?

Most people are presentable to the public within 7-10 days but the recovery time will vary by patient and the extent of your surgery.  It will take 2-3 months for the face to feel "back to normal" in terms of texture, sensibility, and loss of tightness.

Dr Ricardo uses techniques that hide the incision lines and make them as undetectable as possible. Facelift scars can be virtually invisible: narrow, flat, and well placed behind the ear so you can wear your hair close-cropped.

Life-long sun protection and a healthy lifestyle will help extend the results of your rejuvenated, more youthful appearance. Your final result should not only provide a more youthful and rested appearance but also help you feel more confident about yourself. Under normal circumstances, the results of your facelift surgery will be long-lasting.

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