Facelift (Rhytidectomy)

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There are several variations of a facelift procedure, or rhytidectomy, each tailored to meet specific skin needs and desired results. After assessing your skin and determining your unique needs, your surgeon will recommend a procedure that will address your individual concerns. The goal of each facelift technique is to essentially “lift up” portions of the face and neck that are showing unwanted signs of aging.

What it is

A surgical procedure to correct sagging of the forehead skin, eyebrows, and upper eyelids. It may also improve the look of wrinkles in the forehead and between the eyes.

What It Does


A forehead lift removes or changes the muscles and skin that cause signs of aging as drooping eyebrows, "hooding" eyelids, forehead furrows, and frown lines.

​Solution for


  • Deep furrows between the eyes

  • Horizontal wrinkles on the forehead

  • Nose that does not work properly

  • Sagging brows

  • Tissue that hangs down at the outer part of the eyelids


The cost of a Facelift (Rhytidectomy) ranges from $4,813 to $10,500. 

During the procedure

The surgery may be done alone or with other procedures such as a facelift, eyelid surgery, or nose reshaping. The surgery can be done in a surgeon's office, an outpatient surgery center, or a hospital. It is usually done on an outpatient basis, without an overnight stay.

You will be awake, but will be given local anesthesia so that you will not feel pain. You might also get medicine to relax you. In some cases, general anesthesia will be used. During the procedure, you will feel some stretching of the forehead skin and possibly some discomfort.


During the surgery:

Sections of hair will be held away from the surgery area. Hair right in front of the cut line may need to be trimmed, but large areas of hair will not be shaved.

The surgeon will make a surgical cut (incision) at ear level. That cut will continue across the top of the forehead at the hairline so that the forehead does not look too high.

If you are bald or balding, the surgeon may use a cut in the middle of the scalp to avoid a visible scar.
Some surgeons will use several small cuts and perform the surgery using an endoscope (a long thin instrument that has a small camera on the end). Dissolvable implants may be used to hold the lifted skin in place.

After removing excess tissue, skin, and muscle, the surgeon will close the cut with stitches or staples. Before dressings are applied, your hair and face will be washed so the scalp skin does not get irritated.

After the procedure

The area is wrapped with a sterile padding and an elastic bandage to prevent bleeding and swelling (edema). You will feel numbness and temporary discomfort in the surgical site, which you can control with medicine.

You'll keep your head raised for 2 to 3 days after surgery to prevent swelling. Bruising and swelling will occur around the eyes and cheeks, but should begin to disappear in a few days or a week.

As nerves regrow, numbness of the forehead and scalp will be replaced with itching or tingling. It may take up to 6 months for these sensations to fully disappear. The bandages will be removed a day or two after surgery. Within 10 to14 days, the stitches or clips will be removed in two stages.


Risks of anesthesia and surgery in general are:

  • Reaction to medicines.

  • Breathing problems.

  • Bleeding, blood clots, infection.

Risks of facelift surgery include:

  • A pocket of blood under the skin (hematoma) that may need to be drained surgically.

  • Damage to the nerves that control muscles of the face (this is usually temporary, but may be permanent).

  • Wounds that do not heal well.

  • Pain that does not go away.

  • Numbness or other changes in skin sensation.

Occasionally, forehead lifts will make it hard to raise the eyebrows or wrinkle the forehead on one or both sides. If this happens, you might need more surgery to make both sides even. If you have already had plastic surgery to lift your upper eyelids, a forehead lift may not be recommended because it could affect your ability to close your eyelids.

In most people, the cut for the forehead lift is under the hairline. If you have a high or receding hairline, you may be able to see a thin scar after surgery. You will need to style your hair so that it partly covers your forehead.

If the forehead skin is pulled too tightly or there is a lot of swelling, a wide scar may form. In some cases, hair loss may occur along the scar edges. This can be treated by surgically removing the scar tissue or areas of hair loss so a new scar can form. Permanent hair loss after a forehead lift is rare.

What Could Go Wrong

A facelift can occasionally result in problems, including:

  • a collection of blood underneath the skin (haematoma)

  • nerve injury and loss of sensation or movement in the face

  • asymmetrical facial features  – including the position of the earlobe 

  • hair loss or a small but permanent reduction in hair growth around the scars

  • thick, obvious scars developing

  • Any type of operation also carries a small risk of:

  • excessive bleeding

  • developing a blood clot in a vein

  • infection

  • an allergic reaction to the anaesthetic

The surgeon should explain how likely these risks and complications are, and how they would be treated if they occurred.


Occasionally, patients find the desired effect wasn't achieved and feel they need another operation. You should check how this would be funded with your surgeon.


You will be able to walk around in 1 to 2 days, but you will not be able to work for at least 7 days after surgery. You can shampoo and shower 2 days after surgery, or as soon as the bandages are removed.

Within 10 days, you should be able to go back to work or school. You should limit vigorous physical activity (jogging, bending, heavy housework, sex, or any activity that increases your blood pressure) for several weeks. Avoid contact sports for 6 to 8 weeks. Limit exposure to heat or sun for several months.

Hair shafts will be a bit thinner around the cut for a few weeks or months, but the hair should start to grow normally again. Hair will not grow in the line of the actual scar. Wearing your hair down on your forehead will hide most scars.

Most signs of the surgery should fade completely within 2 to 3 months. Makeup can cover minor swelling and bruising. At first, you'll probably feel tired and let down, but that will pass as you begin to look and feel better.

Most people are pleased with the results of a forehead lift. They appear much younger and more rested than they did before. The procedure reduces the look of aging for years. Even if you do not have the surgery repeated in later years, you will probably look better than if you had never had a forehead lift.