The facelift is a cosmetic surgery performed to give a rejuvenated appearance to the face.

In detail, when we talk about facelifts, we are referring to a surgical treatment whose purpose is to eliminate wrinkles and other signs of aging from the face and neck.

The facelift is also known as rhytidectomy, rhytidoplasty or facial lift .

Did you know that ...

In addition to facelifts there are also breast lift (mastopexy) and glute lifting, practiced to restore tone and eliminate the "falling effect" that can occur in these areas of the body as we age.

What is Lifting?

As mentioned, the facelift is an aesthetic medicine intervention performed to give the face and neck a rejuvenated appearance, eliminating wrinkles and giving new skin tone.

Thanks to this cosmetic surgery, therefore, it is possible:

  • Stretch out and eliminate the wrinkles that form around the eyes (crow's feet), between the nose and the mouth and on the forehead;
  • To counteract the loss of fullness, in particular, at the level of the cheeks;
  • Reshape and reposition tissues and muscles in order to counteract sagging and facial relaxation.

Naturally, since it is a real surgical procedure, face lifting must be performed exclusively by surgeons specialized in this type of intervention.


When and for whom is Face Lifting indicated?

The face lift is indicated for eliminating wrinkles, filling empty areas and lifting the skin in all those areas of the face that have lost fullness due to aging. Usually, the facelift is recommended for people between the ages of 40 and 70; while for younger patients with less marked wrinkles and imperfections of the time it is advisable to resort to less invasive aesthetic medicine treatments.

However, the facelift cannot be performed on anyone. In fact, for the operation to give good results, it is necessary that the patient's skin - although subjected to the inexorable passage of time - has retained a certain degree of elasticity .

Types of Lifting

Depending on the area of ​​the face subjected to the rejuvenation intervention, it is possible to speak of:

  • Face lifting : it is the most requested surgical procedure and allows to obtain a general rejuvenation that involves the entire face, without altering its characteristic features.
  • Forehead and eyebrow lift: this type of lifting eliminates the wrinkles in the upper part of the face (forehead wrinkles and crow's feet) and is able to lift the parts of the face (forehead and eyebrows) that have suffered a failure due to of time progressing.
  • Lifting of the middle third of the face : also known as midface-lift, the lifting of the middle third of the face involves the area of ​​the face between the lower eyelids and the mouth. This type of lifting is carried out mainly to restore fullness and tone to cheeks and cheekbones that - due to the physiological aging of skin, muscles and bones - tend to give way and become empty.
  • Neck Lifting : the main purpose of neck lifting is to stretch the skin while removing excess adipose tissue located precisely at the level of the neck and chin.


For those who do not want to undergo a cosmetic surgery as demanding as the facelift, it is possible to use a mini-facelift.

The mini-facelift, in fact, is a less invasive operation than the actual facelift. This is because the purpose of the mini-facelift is only to strengthen and reposition the skin tissue that has lost its tone, without intervening at the level of the deeper tissues, as is the case when performing a facelift.

However, the mini-facelift is performed only at the level of the middle third of the face and, for this reason, it can be useful only to lift, tone and fill cheeks and cheekbones.

Moreover, since it is not able to act in depth, it is necessary to specify that the mini-facelift is generally recommended for younger patients (aged between 35 and 55 at the most) who have maintained a good skin elasticity.

To learn more: More information on Face Lifting - Beauty Portal »

Preparation for the Intervention

Since the facelift is a real surgical procedure, it requires preliminary preparation. It starts with a pre-operative specialist visit .

The facelift, in fact, is a personalized intervention that must be prepared on a strictly individual basis.

During the pre-operative visit, therefore, the surgeon will assess what the patient's demands, needs and expectations are, advising him on which type of facelift is best suited in his specific case. In addition to this, the surgeon will have to assess the condition of the patient's skin, to check the conditions and above all the elasticity, in order to determine whether the lifting operation can be successful or not.

Furthermore, during the pre-operative visit, the surgeon will:

  • Evaluate the patient's general health status and identify the presence of pathologies and / or other contraindications to performing the facelift;
  • Exclude the presence of allergies to the anesthetic drugs used to perform the operation;
  • Objectively inform the patient about the results he can achieve by undergoing a facelift and about the side effects and complications he may face;
  • Provide the patient with all the instructions to follow before undergoing the operation (stop smoking at least 2-4 weeks before the facelift, stop taking medicines like acetylsalicylic acid, anticoagulants, antiplatelet agents or other drugs that can "dilute the blood", etc.).

Furthermore, if necessary, the surgeon can invite the patient to perform a series of clinical tests (blood tests, urine tests, electrocardiograms, etc.).

How it is performed

How is Lifting performed?

The facelift is a surgical procedure that can be performed either by local anesthesia with deep sedation as a day hospital, or under general anesthesia. The choice to resort to one type of anesthesia rather than another is the surgeon's choice and depends on the type of facelift to be performed and on the possible execution of other aesthetic medicine treatments in association with the facelift.

According to the area of ​​the face on which it is necessary to intervene, the incisions can be made at the level of the temporal region, behind or in correspondence with the hairline, under the lower eyelid, in the lower part of the cheek, under the chin and / or behind the ears. In any case, incisions are always made in correspondence with skin folds or in areas that are not very exposed at the level of which future scars will not be visible.

Did you know that ...

Some face lifting operations can be performed in endoscopy, making very small incisions inside the hair and working with the aid of an endoscope. With this technique, therefore, the scars will be smaller and even less visible.

However, once the necessary incisions have been made, the surgeon will separate the skin from the underlying tissues, reshaping them and repositioning them in the desired position. The skin will then be relaxed and any excesses will be eliminated by the doctor. Finally, the tissues will be fixed by the application of special sutures, generally resorbable. In the event that the facelift is also performed to remove excess fat from the neck and chin, the surgeon - in addition to stretching the skin - will remove the fat accumulation, generally using the liposuction technique.

Finally, at the end of the procedure, the doctor will apply the appropriate dressings and any elastic bandages in order to reduce the appearance of edema.

Duration of Lifting Intervention

The time required for the execution of the operation may be different depending on the type of facelift to be performed. However, the duration of a facelift can vary from a minimum of 30-40 minutes for the simplest operations and in restricted areas of the face, up to 2-3 hours for the most extensive and complex operations.

Post-operative recovery

After performing the facelift, there is a hospitalization in the day hospital regime for the simplest interventions performed under local anesthesia and a hospitalization of at least one or two nights for interventions performed under general anesthesia.

In the two days following the lifting operation, the appearance of swelling, ecchymosis and pain is considered as a completely normal phenomenon. To counteract the pain, generally, it is sufficient to resort to the use of simple pain-relieving drugs which, in any case, must be prescribed by the doctor.

The lighter activities can generally be resumed starting from the third day after the operation, taking care to avoid great efforts and exposure to the sun and / or very hot and humid places (for example, saunas, Turkish baths, etc.) .

After 3-4 days, any bandages and dressings will be removed and / or replaced. Furthermore, if incisions have been made in correspondence to the hair, the first washing will be carried out by the health personnel (the washing at home can be resumed only after 8-10 days from the intervention).

Normal activities should be resumed when the swelling has disappeared completely and in any case always in a grandule manner.

However, as an indication, starting from the third week it is possible to resume all the activities, including sports.

In any case, since the recovery from facelift is very subjective, it is always good to follow all the indications provided by the doctor during the check-ups that will be regularly carried out following the surgical operation.

Side effects and complications

As mentioned, in the first days after the intervention, the appearance of adverse effects is considered normal, such as:

  • Feeling of discomfort and / or soreness;
  • Swelling;
  • Ache;
  • Bruising.

Generally, these effects can be easily monitored and tend to resolve within a few weeks of surgery.

More rarely, on the other hand, complications such as:

  • Temporary or permanent lesions of the facial nerve and / or auricular nerve ;
  • Infections ;
  • Necrosis of the cutaneous tissue in correspondence of the incisions (this complication arises above all in those patients who do not interrupt the habit of smoking in good time before the intervention);
  • Keloid scar formation;
  • Skin sagging ;
  • Asymmetry of facial features .

In principle, most of the aforementioned complications can be avoided if the indications provided by the physician are respected before performing the facelift and if an expert and qualified surgeon is contacted.


The results of the facelift are really noticeable only two or three weeks after the operation, when swelling and ecchymoses have disappeared.

Generally, the results obtained satisfy the patients and - if the intervention has been carried out correctly - the scars are almost invisible.

Unfortunately, however, despite the excellent results that can be achieved with facelift, it is impossible to stop skin aging that progresses even after the operation. For this reason, the use of the secondary facelift is not unusual. On the contrary, in many cases the second facelift is absolutely necessary to avoid an unnatural effect in which some areas of the face are less relaxed than others.

Furthermore, the duration of the results of a facelift depends very much on the type of intervention performed (more or less extensive and more or less deep facelift) and on the patient's life habits. In fact, smoking, excessive and uncontrolled exposure to the sun and an unbalanced diet are all factors that negatively affect the beauty of the skin, accelerating its physiological aging.

Complementary Treatments

What treatments can be carried out in association or as an alternative to lifting?

The facelift can be performed either alone or in association with other aesthetic medicine treatments / interventions. For example, it is not uncommon for a facelift to be performed together with a blepharoplasty, a rhinoplasty or a facial lipofilling.

As an alternative to facelift - or after recovery from surgery - it is also possible to use other aesthetic treatments, such as chemical peels or filler injection.