Facelift (Rhytidectomy) Surgery

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Facelift (rhytidectomy) surgery may be considered for many reasons and is a cosmetic procedure that requires a lot of consideration and research by the patient. Facelift (rhytidectomy) surgery may address a range of features, including the cheekbones, neck, and jawline. Patients also often seek to address the areas below the eyes and even the forehead.


Non surgical treatments may be considered by patients in the 30 to 45 year age group but do become less effective as you age. “Gravitational effects” of skin looseness and sagging become noticeable as we age and the role of surgery to address this may become present.

Facelift (rhytidectomy) surgery is an operation designed to address the effects of ageing to the face. This may also include the effects of sun damage, as well as the skin of the face losing its elasticity and tightness.

Facelift (Rhytidectomy) Sydney

Operative procedures, such as a face (rhytidectomy) and neck lift (platysmaplasty), brow lift (browplasty) and blepharoplasty (eye lift) are all cosmetic options available to patients. These procedures include removing and tightening loose skin as well as underlying tissue of the lower face, eyes and brow.  Facelifting (rhytidectomy) performed by Dr Drielsma involves tightening of the structural deeper layer of the face known as the SMAS layer as well as the skin layer.   The judicious use of fat grafting to the cheeks, eyelids and temple is also used. Fat grafting of the face either alone or in combination with lifting procedures is also an available option.



Facelift FAQ

How long does the operation take?

The operation takes 3-5 hours depending on the extent in each case and is done under general anaesthesia. One nights hospitalisation is generally required. Following the operation your face will be covered by a well padded dressing for 24 hours.  Your face may feel strange and a little tight and pain along the incision lines is minor. Simple pain relief prescribed should adequately deal with this.

How long do I have to stay in hospital?

Generally you will require 1 nights in hospital.  In some cases surgery can be performed on a day stay basis.  The first night is usually spent with the face bandaged but a day or so later the bandages are removed and the operation inspected and redressed.

When can I return to activities?

Considerable bruising and swelling over the first week or so may be encountered. Expect this to settle rapidly at least by the second week. You will have stitches along the incisions. Dr Drielsma will remove these at about 7 days. Generally speaking you will be confident and happy to engage in social contact 3 weeks post-operatively.

How long does it last?

About 10 years. After the surgery the ageing process continues at its natural rate. Some patients do request a repeat operation some 10 years later – it is usually no more difficult than before.

Are there any risks?

As with any surgical procedure, there is a small risk of complications.  Surgery and anaesthesia is very safe and it is most unlikely you will experience any difficulty. However, there is a small chance that a minor complication such as bleeding or infection may occur.


Expect scarring following surgery to be minimal and take up to two years to mature. It is possible for scarring around the earlobe to result in tightness and tethering. Scarring behind the ear can become lumpy and uncomfortable for a number of months.  Scarring in front of the ear may cause tightness.  These are all uncommon. Swelling and bruising: Bruising and swelling is usual and varies with each patient from being virtually invisible to extensive. Most bruising and swelling settles over 1 to 2 weeks, although some take longer.

You will notice some relaxing in the tightness of the face as the final swelling settles.  Stretching of the skin by post-operative swelling is an inevitable minor consequence and is usually complete within about three months. Fine wrinkles may return during this time.

Nerve injury

Facelift (rhytidectomy) involves facial dissection very close to the course of the facial nerve. This major nerve of the face is responsible for movement of the face, particularly around (rhytidectomy).


You will be receiving a general anaesthetic and your anaesthetist will be discussing with you possible discomforts following anaesthesia. Your anaesthetist will answer any questions you have regarding your anaesthetic at the time of surgery.

What about costs?

Costs of surgery will always differ from surgeon to surgeon. There is a range from “cheap and nasty” to ridiculously overpriced in the market place. Do your homework. This way you will be happy with the quality of service and experience on offer. Beware of the pitfalls of shopping around for the cheapest costs for this operation as this is the wrong way to choose your surgeon and may leads to disappointment with results.  Remember surgery is not like purchasing a TV or a computer.  The product is not a commodity and what you get will differ depending on who you choose to perform your surgery.

**Individual results may vary. All surgery carries risks. 

You should get a second opinion from an equally qualified Specialist Plastic Surgeon before proceeding with surgery.