Last Updated October 30th, 2023

What is a facelift?

A facelift or rhytidectomy is a cosmetic surgical procedure that reduces sagging skin on your face, removes excess skin, and alters skin tissues.


The procedure also involves tightening and lifting deep facial tissues, giving your face a more youthful look. 


During a facelift, your cosmetic surgeon pulls back a flap of skin on either side of your face. The surgeon can also reduce the sagging skin and fat in your neck as part of the face-lift procedure. 


You will need to have realistic expectations of a facelift procedure. For example, if you have wrinkles due to sun damage, it cannot be corrected by a face-lift. 

Why do you need a facelift?

Loss of facial tissue volume and skin elasticity is a natural part of aging. While this may not be a bother for some people, for others, such signs of growing older can be a source of anxiety.

If you manifest the following signs of aging, a facelift procedure may be helpful:

  • If the corners of your mouth and nose have crease lines or deep folds
  • In case of no or falling facial fat
  • Jowls or drooping skin on the jaw and cheeks

If your neck has extra fat or loose skin In case your aging appearance is a major concern for your relationships and career or if you feel your face makes you feel older, you may consider a facelift.

The following characteristic makes you a good candidate for a facelift:

  • Non-smoker
  • If you have a health condition that impacts your ability to heal
  • If your expectations of a facelift outcome are realistic
  • If you are mentally healthy
  • Sound physical health

Patients who have started showing signs of aging but still retain their skin elasticity make good candidates for a facelift.

The vast majority of skin lift patients are between the ages of 40 and late 60s. However, this does not rule out older or younger patients from opting for a facelift.

Types of facelifts

Traditional facelift

Successful facelift surgeryThis is by far the most popular facelift surgery. Also known as the SMAS lift, is mainly recommended for individuals manifesting moderate-to-severe signs of aging.

The SMAS lift is highly effective and can restore your youthful look by getting rid of wrinkles, sagging skin, and droopy jowls.

During a traditional facelift procedure, your cosmetic surgeon makes incisions around the hairline, ears, and beneath the chin. This allows for the separation of the underlying tissue and skin. That way, the surgeon can tighten neck and face muscles.

A traditional facelift also allows the surgeon to get rid of excess fat in your jaws and neck if needed.


This is a minimally invasive and quicker procedure that involves lifting the neck region and lower face.

A mini-facelift is ideal for younger people who present with early signs of facial sagging. The surgeon makes shorter incisions along your hairline.

A mini-facelift may be administered under general anesthesia or local anesthesia depending on your individual needs.

Deep Plane Facelift

A deep place facelift procedure involves the repositioning of facial muscles, tissues, and structures. That way, your surgeon can realize a more profound lifting with no need for tightly pulling your skin.

This gives your face a natural appearance to it. Your surgeon may also recommend fat pads repositioning in your cheeks as part of the facelift procedure. This gives your mid-face region a more lifted appearance.

Compared to the SMAS procedure, a deep plane facelift has longer-lasting outcomes.

A facelift may be accompanied by other procedures carried out concurrently, such as:

  • Nose job (rhinoplasty)
  • Jawline rejuvenation
  • Brow lift
  • Eyelid lift (blepharoplasty)
  • Laser skin resurfacing

Preparing for a facelift

Before a facelift, your primary healthcare provider will arrange an appointment with a

plastic surgeon. Such an appointment will entail the following activities:

Medical exam and history taking – Your plastic surgeon will take notes of your medical history. You will be expected to answer questions regarding the medical condition you might have had in the past or at the moment.

If you have undergone any plastic surgery or any other type of surgery in the past, let your plastic surgeon know of this.

If you developed any complications from past surgeries, inform your plastic surgeon about this.

If you are a smoker, take alcohol, or use any drugs, let your plastic surgeon know about it.

Your plastic surgeon will conduct a thorough physical examination to assess your health status and whether you can handle the procedure.

Facial exam – Your plastic surgeon will closely assess the quality of your skin, shape, and bone structure of your face.

The surgeon will take photos of your face at varied angles. Such an in-depth examination is essential in enabling your plastic surgeon to identify the most appropriate facelift procedure that meets your needs.

Review of medication – If you are on any prescribed, over-the-counter medication, vitamins, or dietary supplements, let your plastic surgeon know their names and dosages.

Expectations – Your plastic surgeon will explain in detail what the facelift procedure entails. They will also discuss with you the benefits of a facelift, the risks, and potential complications.

You will be asked about your expectations regarding this procedure. This helps you to be at peace while deciding to go for a facelift.

Before a facelift 

Your surgeon will give you directions on which medication to continue taking and which ones you will need to stop taking.


Make sure you have followed this directive carefully.


You will be provided with a bacterial antibacterial soap to wash your face and hair before a facelift.


Your surgeon will ask you not to eat anything several hours before surgery. This is usually after midnight on the day of your facelift.


However, you can still take water and any medication as directed by your surgeon.


A facelift procedure is often an outpatient procedure and you can go home after the surgery.


Plan with your spouse, a relative, or a friend to drive you home after a facelift procedure.


Ensure there is somebody at home to help you around for at least the first few days after a facelift. 


A facelift procedure depends on the type of facelift surgery in use, your personal goals, anatomy, and if the surgery is being done at the same time.

The procedure chosen will include the following steps:

Anesthesia – A facelift is done under IV sedation or general anesthesia. Your plastic surgeon should be able to recommend the most appropriate facelift procedure that meets your personal needs.

Incision – Your surgeon makes the incision in the following places based on the type of facelift chosen:

  • Under the chin
  • Around the ears
  • In your mouth
  • In your temples
  • Your lower scalp

The incision differs in size based on the facelift procedure of choice. You will be fully informed about all of this by your plastic surgeon before the procedure.

Procedure – Your plastic surgeon will next remove or reposition the fat and facial skin as desired. The procedure may also entail tightening of facial muscles.

Closing the incisions – After the procedure, your surgeon will proceed to close the incision. This can be done using skin glue, dissolvable stitches, or removable stitches.

After a facelift 

Facelift-surgeryAfter a facelift, you will be taken to a recovery room for a few hours where the surgery

team will continue to observe you.


As soon as you are stable, you will be allowed to go home. Most patients are stable after a few hours post-surgery unless there have been any complications. 


In case of removable stitches, your surgeon will arrange for a post-surgery appointment a few days after the procedure so that he/she can remove the stitches.


Removable sutures take about a week after the procedure to come off.


You will take a few weeks to fully recover from a facelift.


Your face could be bandaged all around to reduce bruising and swelling. 


Before you leave for home, your plastic surgeon will give you detailed instructions on


what you need to do to take care of the incisions. You will also be notified of any follow-up appointment.


You will also be advised on what to do to reduce pain and swelling. Your surgeon may prescribe medication to control such pain. 


Make sure you do not wet the bandages for the first 2 days post-surgery.


Do not engage in a strenuous activity for about 2 weeks.


While sleeping or resting in bed, always use pillows to prop up your head as it helps to minimize swelling.

Benefits of a facelift

Some benefits that usually accompany a facelift procedure include:

  • Reverse your aged appearance – A facelift gives your facial skin a smooth appearance. It firms up your facial muscle tone while also restoring facial contours
  • Tightens loose sagging skin – As you age, your skin drops. A facelift helps to restore the underlying facial structures, giving it a more youthful appearance
  • Eliminates deep creases – a facelift augments and repositions the structure of face and neck tissues, restoring the lost tissue structure and volume

Side effects and complications

A facelift rarely manifests in any risks, but that does not mean it is risk-free procedure.

Some risks include:

  • Infection
  • Injury to the facial nerves
  • Hematoma: This is a condition where a pool of blood collects at the incision site
  • Numbness
  • Reaction to the anesthesia
  • Scarring
  • Irregularities in skin color
  • Hair loss at the incision site. This can be either permanent or temporary

Call the doctor immediately if you are having:

  • Chest pain
  • If one side of your neck or face is under severe pain within 24 hours after the procedure
  • Irregular heartbeats

Cost of a facelift in India

The cost of facelift surgery in India ranges between Rs. 1,60,000 and Rs. 3,20,000.

Some factors that will affect the cost of a facelift procedure in India include:

Type of facelift

The cost of a facelift procedure in India varies depending on the type of surgery chosen. For instance, if you opt for a mini facelift, you will probably pay less than someone who goes for a traditional facelift.

Geographical location

The location of the hospital or clinic is another consideration for the overall cost of a facelift. For instance, clinics and hospitals in smaller towns charge less compared to similar facilities in metro cities.

Surgeon’s level of expertise and experience: If your plastic surgeon is highly experienced or skilled in administering facelift procedures, they will charge more for such services.

Medication and anesthesia

The overall cost of a facelift procedure in India will be impacted by the type of medication and anesthesia administered during surgery.

For international patients, it is important to consider your travel expenses and how this will impact the overall cost of a facelift. Liaise with your healthcare provider in India to find out if they can assist with travel arrangements, including booking of plane tickets, processing of visas, and hotel accommodation. The aforementioned information is helpful in choosing the appropriate healthcare facility.


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