What is a face lift or rhytidectomy?

The face lift is a surgical procedure for facial rejuvenation by recovering the natural position of facial volumes that have moved over time. It is sometimes combined with other surgeries, such as the blepharoplasty, to remove the bags from the under the eyes or sagging eyelids, or facial liposuction (Coleman fat transfer), which is ideal for recovering fat volumes lost over time.

Who can have a face lift?

Very old, elderly people come to mind when you think of face lift surgery, but in fact there is no ideal age, as each individual ages at a different rate. Although the best results are achieved when the skin on the face and neck start to sag but still preserve a certain degree of elasticity, i.e. between the ages of 50 and 60, IM CLINIC has actually performed successful face lifts on health patients who are 70 and 80 years of age.

The face lift is for people with ageing, flaccid and wrinkled skin over the entire face who have a real need to rejuvenate their face and in whom the surgeon believes there is a reasonable margin for improvement.

There are different types of face lift

Depending on the parts of the face to be treated, these include:

  • Brow or forehead lift, which raises sagging eyebrows and eliminates wrinkles from the forehead.
  • Cheek or mid face lift, which removes accumulated fat from cheekbones and raises the cheeks.
  • Neck or lower third lift, which reduces the fat from around the lower jaw and the neck to recover the shape of the face.
  • There is also the full face lift, which rejuvenates the entire face.

What does a face lift rhytidectomy involve?

The precise location of the incisions and the steps of the surgery vary depending on the structures of the face. The technique basically consists of repositioning the layers of muscle, the skin and the fat, removing excess tissue through an incision that normally starts at the temples (above the hairline) and runs along the inside of the natural lines in the ear before continuing around the earlobe, behind the ear and the scalp. This ensures that any scars are correctly hidden. When the neck requires special treatment, an incision is made just below the chin.

Duration, anaesthesia and hospitalisation for face lifts

Depending on the intensity of the treatment and the type of lift performed, the procedure normally takes three to five hours. It is performed under general anaesthesia and requires one overnight stay, although at IM CLINIC we recommend two nights for patient comfort.

The results of the lift or rhytidectomy

Recovery from a face lift is very fast and relatively painless. The scars are almost unnoticeable and become invisible over time. Results can be seen 10 to 15 days after surgery and are excellent and lasting. Although time will not stand still, you will always look younger than your chronological clock.

Recommendations after a face lift

People who have undergone a face lift tend to become more tired than usual for the first few days after surgery. We therefore always recommend having someone nearby to look after you. Furthermore, your initial appearance will not be what you expect: your face might be swollen and even bruised, and your skin might feel numb. Everything will improve in a few days and, in most cases, you can return to work within 10 days to 2 weeks.


You can return to a normal diet after surgery. However, try to eat smaller meals more often for the first few days until your rhythm of digestion has returned to normal.

Wherever possible, you should avoid eating salty, bitter or difficult-to-chew foods for the first few days.

You should sleep and relax with your head raised for the first few days.

It is important to ensure relative rest for the first few days. Avoid lifting heavy weight and bending down.

During the first few days, you might have a tendency towards low blood pressure (dizziness), in which case you should have a stimulating drink such as tea, coffee, coke, etc.

You can shower normally three days after surgery. Make sure your wounds are dried properly after showering. We advise applying cold air (never hot) from a hair dryer. In the event of incisions in the scalp area, you should also avoid damp hair.

Wash your eyes with saline solution for the first few days.

If you smoke, you must stop smoking before surgery and cut back drastically afterwards. Smoking has a negative effect on tissue healing.

Does your expression change after a face lift?

No. This surgery removes any excess skin and repositions the facial muscles, but always strives to maintain the patient’s natural expression. It is true that some famous people (actresses, singers, etc.) have been left with an artificial expression, but this is especially due to abusive rejuvenation surgery and not to the technique.

What other techniques are normally combined with a face lift?

This depends on the unique characteristics of each individual. The most commonplace is the blepharoplasty, which eliminates sagging eyelids, the bags under eyes, and raises the slant of the eye to give a more youthful appearance. The Coleman or lipofilling technique can also be used to give volume to parts of the face that have lost this volume.

There are also cosmetic medicine procedures that improve the quality of the skin, making it brighter and eliminating wrinkles and spots, such as laser, regenerative medicine, vitamin mesotherapy, carboxytherapy or medical peels.

What is best, a face lift or Botox treatment?

This is a very common question, up to the point that you will often hear of “a face lift with Botox”. These are, however, two completely different procedures and, therefore, entirely different results must be expected.

When we laugh, cry, are surprised, drink, smoke, eat, sleep… in other words, whenever we gesticulate, wrinkles are formed that, as youngsters, with a relaxed face, are not seen. The elasticity of the skin ensures that it returns to its original position when the muscle is not contracted. The continued repetition of these expressions over years ends up “breaking” the skin to form persistent wrinkles, even when the face is relaxes. This is where Botox comes to the fore: to make sure you do not reach this point or to delay it by smoothing out expression lines. It does not, however, eliminate the skin’s flaccidity or tighten the muscles, nor does it reshape the face or redistribute facial fat.

These are two treatments that can be used together, but one cannot replace the other.

The results obtained with the face lift are much more overall and lasting than those with Botox.

Will my face always look youthful after a face lift?

You must remember that this operation provides a more youthful appearance but that time does not stand still, and you face will continue to age gradually after surgery. Although you will always look younger than what your birth certificate says, you must remember that a face lift does not freeze your face at a specific age.

Does regular smoking have an impact on the results?

Yes. Smoking particularly has an impact on healing and postoperative recovery. Therefore, you should cut back as much as possible or, better still, stop smoking before any plastic surgery, particularly on the face.

Do you know what IM Care is?

IM Care is the commitment of IM CLINIC to care for you for the first year after your face lift. You will have a 24-hour hotline for your peace of mind, and our medical team will visit you regularly to ensure the results are as expected.