Degeneration of skin cells with aging results in loosening of the skin of the face and neck. Facelift, also known as meloplasty or rhytidectomy, involves surgical procedures that tightens and removes drooping skin. This surgical tightening of the facial muscles improves the tone of the skin. These procedures also involve the removal and repositioning of the excessive fat present beneath the skin.

Face lift is more commonly performed in the age group between 40-65 years, but people with the higher or lower age group can also go for it. The results of a facelift usually last for 5-12 years.

Purposes of face lift surgery

The objective of face lift surgery is as follows:

  • Reduces the signs of ageing
  • Improves the contours of the face and neck
  • Make the skin younger and smoother
  • May be combined with other cosmetic surgical procedures such as brow lift, eyelid surgery or skin reconstruction
  • May be undertaken along with non-surgical treatments such as chemical skin peel, dermabrasion or skin resurfacing

Face lift surgery does not involve the alteration of the bone structure of the face. 


Face lift surgery is performed under general anaesthesia or local anaesthesia. The type of facelift surgery depends upon the age, type of skin (dry, thick etc.), condition and requirement of the individual person.

Depending upon the general health and the extent of the procedure, facelift surgery can be performed with a short stay in the hospital. In some cases, a small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin for the drainage of excessive fluid.

Post-operative care

The basic post-operative instructions for the person’s undergone facelift are as follows:

  • One can have light meal and can drink fluid 2-3 hours after the surgery
  • Elevate your head while sleeping that reduces swelling
  • Take the prescribed medications for pain and swelling
  • Take rest for few weeks as recommended
  • Avoid heavy lifting, strenuous exercise, swimming and strenuous sports

Risks and complications

Face lift surgery is generally a safe procedure. Smokers are having increased risk of complication. The associated risks and complications with face lift surgery are as follows:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Allergic reactions
  • Formation of large blood clot or hematoma
  • Pain and numbness
  • Bruising and swelling
  • Scar formation
  • Hair loss around the scar
  • Loss of skin
  • Deformity of the earlobe
  • Damage to the facial nerve

Revision surgery may be recommended for correcting the complications.


S-lift is a type of facelift procedure that corrects the sagging of skin in the lower two-thirds of the face. The procedure removes fat and tightens muscles in the cheeks, jowls, and neck to give the face a more defined and youthful look. The surgery is called as S-lift due to the ‘S’ shaped incision made in front of the ear.

Advantages of S-lift over traditional facelift

  • Minimally invasive
  • Faster recovery
  • Does not require general anaesthesia
  • Can be performed with other procedures
  • Incision is about half the size of traditional facelift
  • Incision hidden inside ear
  • Better aesthetic value
  • Does not disrupt hairline


S-Lift is indicated for men and women who are healthy, between ages 45 to 55 years, and have firm, elastic skin with mild to moderate laxity in lower facial and/or neck.

Surgical procedure

Under the influence of local anaesthesia, your surgical practitioner will operate on one side of your face at a time, making an S-shaped incision running from your temporal hairline to the front of the ear. The skin is separated from the underlying fat and muscle, excess fat around the chin and neck is trimmed, and muscles are tightened. Your surgical practitioner will pull the skin back, remove the extra skin and close the incision.

After the surgery, your surgical practitioner will insert drain tubes under the skin to drain out excess blood and fluid, and wrap your head with bandages to support, and reduce swelling and bruising. The procedure takes about 2 hours to complete.

Post-operative care

You may need to recover in the hospital for one or two hours and will have to rest for 24 hours at home. The day after the surgery, an elastic face garment will replace the bandage. It is important to keep your head in an elevated position as much as possible to lower swelling. You can resume work after 4 to 5 days. You may have minor swelling and bruising for 1 or 2 days, and will be prescribed medication for pain. The site of incision will be covered with a small bandage for 2 to 3 days. Your stiches will be removed after 6 to 7 days. You should avoid exposing your face to the sun for couple of weeks.

Risks and complications

As with any surgery, S-lift involves risks and potential complications. These include:

  • Skin gathering behind the ear
  • Pain
  • Infections
  • Skin loss as seen in smokers, diabetics and those who have undergone facial radiation
  • Collection of blood below the skin
  • Keloid scarring
  • Alteration in hairline especially in men where facial hair is pulled closer to the ear
  • Areas of numbness
  • Facial nerve damage