Full Face Lift (Rhytidectomy)

The full face lift (or ‘traditional’ facelift, scientifically known as a rhytidectomy) is perhaps the most well-known of all face surgery procedures. The aim of a full face lift is to lift, pull back and trim excess skin on the face (and jaws if sagging in this area is a problem) in order to create a tightened, more youthful appearance. This is the most dramatic of all the face lifts.

Considering Full Facelift (Rhytidectomy) surgery?

There are various different techniques and types of rhytidectomy. Traditionally, the incision is made around your hairline from temple to behind the ears. Scarring can be concealed behind your hair and ears. Sagging jaws can also be corrected through a traditional full face lift by making an incision under the chin. After incisions are completed, the skin is lifted, pulled back and any overlapping excess skin can be trimmed away.

How will it impact on your life?

Full face lift surgery can produce dramatic results in terms of making your face and jowls (and neck area if you combine it with a neck lift) look younger, firmer and more lifted. As part of the skin-tightening process, wrinkles will be smoothed out which will also add to the rejuvenated look and help to make you feel younger. Many patients feel more confident and enjoy the effects of having a younger looking facial appearance.

Is a Full Facelift (Rhytidectomy) right for you?

Most full face lift patients are between the ages of 40-70 (although there is no set-in-stone minimum or maximum age). The most important criteria is good health, skin elasticity and sufficient excess skin to perform the operation. Sometimes patients who feel they would like their faces lifting or tightening up but who are not quite ready for a procedure as dramatic as the full facelift might be better candidates for a mini or MACS face lift. The stronger your bone structure, the more pleasing your results are likely to be. These are factors which your expert face surgery surgeon will discuss with you during your initial consultation.  At Aurora Clinics, our specialist surgeons aim for a natural look rather than the overly tight, ‘feline’ appearance which can occur if the face is tightened too much. It is very important that you embark upon your full face lift process with realistic expectations.  Although the results with this treatment can be dramatic, it will not create a ‘new’ face or stop the clock entirely. Your face will still continue to age with time and will still be susceptible to the effects of weather conditions, smoking and alcohol. It is also wise to ask your expert surgeon for examples of their previous full face lift surgery work so that you can get an idea of the results you might achieve.

What does a Full Face Lift (Rhytidectomy) involve?

At Aurora Clinics, our expert surgeons usually use the SMAS technique when performing full facelifts. SMAS stands for the ‘superficial musculo-aponeurotic system’ which is basically a flat sheet under the skin which supports the tissue. The important thing about this SMAS layer is that it can be modified by surgeons. They either do this by cutting, undermining and then using stitches (to reposition and hold the SMAS layer back where it was 10 or 15 years ago) or by sewing it back into position.

After your surgery and beyond…

Recovery from a dramatic procedure like a full facelift is obviously slightly longer than for the mini face lift option. The exact length of recovery time does vary from patient to patient according to your personal level of health. Many patients find they can be back at work and even returning to gentle exercise within 3-6 weeks after surgery. For about 5 days after full facelift surgery, you can expect your face to be tightly bandaged, possibly with some plastic tubes remaining to drain fluids. It is perfectly normal to experience some bruising and swelling at first but this generally subsides within 2-3 weeks. Your expert surgeon will want you to return for regular fullow-up consultations in the months fullowing your surgery, to check your progress and that you are healing well and happy with your results. This is your opportunity to discuss any concerns and to make sure that all is as it should be.

The next step

We always encourage people to do as much research as they can when considering cosmetic surgery, so for more information on full facelift surgery: