Facelift FAQs


    Modern facelift surgery is quite a bit different from the way the procedure was performed in the past, which is also the way many people think it is still done. A facelift is no longer the stretching of wrinkled skin to create a smoother aesthetic. The advanced modern techniques used today look to reshape the layers of connective tissue that sits under the skin.

    The exact process of the procedure will depend on the needs of the patient, namely the ways in which their specific tissue will need to be manipulated, trimmed, folded, and fixed in place. All procedures look to achieve a natural, youthful appearance and discreet incisions which minimise scarring will be required. You will also go under general anaesthetic and twilight anaesthesia during the procedure.

    Ageing in the lower half of the face is often the cause of jowls, which is a commonly noted cause of distress for patients. The ageing process also affects the elasticity of our skin, which, when combined with issues in the underlying tissues and fat, creates a sagging, loose appearance, in the jawline. This loss of definition can lead to a double chin, which a facelift that focuses on the lower two-thirds can elevate.

    To have an effective outcome, this may also require fixation of the tissues underneath to create a long-lasting and natural result.

    facelift for men

    A three-month image of before and after a facelift surgery performed by Dr. Hodgkinson which exemplifies the possible improvements to the neck.

    The most common side-effect experienced by patients as a result of this surgical procedure is swelling. This is a normal part of the healing process that will subside with time and no cause for alarm. In some other cases, patients may experience bruising, another relatively normal side-effect, that will subside each day as your body heals.

    Mini Facelift

    The main goal of the mini facelift is the replenishment of a youthful jaw and neck.

    Our team will keep you well-informed as to the guidelines regarding your aftercare to ensure that you have a pleasant, and quick, healing process. Everyone’s body heals differently, so we cannot offer any exact timeframes. If required, we may prescribe certain medications or wound care, and our team is always on-hand to support you through your healing journey.

    The major risk with a facelift procedure is hematoma or blood collecting under the skin flaps of the face. To ensure this does not happen, a specialised clinic nurse stays with all of Dr. Hodgkinson’s facelift patients in order to stabilise the patients’ blood pressure and reduce anxiety or discomfort. The nurse stays in contact with Dr. Hodgkinson and the anaesthesiologist and can detect if a hematoma forms early on for immediate attention.

    As with any facelift procedure, it is important to time your surgery so that you have ample time off. We recommend a recovery period of at least a few weeks to fully heal before returning to the rigours of daily life, however, the targeted nature of the mid and lower facelift requires slightly less downtime than a full standard procedure. Winter is a popular time of year for a facelift procedure as it will reduce exposure to the sun, which can make the healing process a little more straightforward.

    There are a number of factors that will determine how long the results of this surgery last. Genetics and lifestyle habits such as drinking and smoking will play a part, along with sun exposure and stress. It is essential to keep in mind that you will continue to age after surgery; however, the mid and lower facelift procedure can help set back the hands of time, on average lasting from 8 to 10 years.

    mid lower facelift surgery

    Before and After a Facelift Procedure

    Jowls are usually caused by ageing in the lower half of the face. While this is not always something that affects everyone as they age, it is a common situation we are presented with from patients. As we age, our skin loses elasticity and the underlying tissues and fat pats atrophy. This creates sagging or a loose appearance affecting the definition of the jawline and creating a laxity of the tissues under the chin (causing a double chin). The mid and lower facelift is the best procedure to treat sagging jowls as it will elevate the tissue. By focusing on this area, there is also the benefit of less scarring and down-time while still obtaining a long-lasting and natural result.

    Bruising and swelling are normal after facelifting, but the severity depends on the extent of the surgery and is minimised by bandaging and early ice application to prevent excessive swelling. Most people can go back to work after about two weeks, but the visible signs of surgery will still be evident for several weeks.

    mid lower facelift surgery

    Before and 3 months after Mid Facelift and Necklift by Dr Hodgkinson

    Feeling a bit depressed is quite common during the immediate postoperative period and is more related to the reality of the process rather than the outcome; in fact, as time goes by and your rejuvenated, more youthful appearance settles in, the happier you will feel about it.

    Whilst a facelift can be done at any time, it is important to time your surgery so that you have ample time off (at least a few weeks) to fully heal before returning to the rigours of daily life.  That said, facelifts and other procedures, such as eyelid surgery, brow-lifts, neck-lifts and skin rejuvenation techniques like chemical peeling, laserbrasion and dermabrasion, are especially popular in winter. These procedures require the patient to reduce their exposure to the sun and this is easier to do in the cooler months. This exposure to the sun, however, if controlled does not preclude other seasons. Winter is also traditionally socially quieter than summer when holiday parties tend to take over.



    Before and After Facelift Surgery by Dr Hodgkinson

    Whilst there is nothing set in stone as we all age differently, the age limit for a facelift is probably in the seventies unless the patient has unusually excellent health.  More and more people in their late 60s and 70s and occasionally now into their 80s are still in the workforce and still very active socially and professionally.

    Therefore, if 70 is not the time to give up activities then why would it be the time to give up appearances?


    Before and 6 months after Facelift and Blepharoplasty by Dr Hodgkinson

    No-one wants a double chin (or “turkey neck”) but regardless of your age, you can usually do something about it. From late teens some people notice the hereditary feature of a chubby fat neck. Just looking at your relatives gives you the clue that diet and exercise are not going to fix the problem. Liposuction is generally very effective for these fatty accumulations up to the age of about 40. After 40 years, men and women who are ageing relatively normally, note a laxity of skin and sagging muscles under the chin. A mini-lift is the treatment of choice at this age and can result in a marked “firming” and tensioning of the underlying muscles of the upper neck. After about age 45, fat and sagging skin combine to make the problem more severe and at this stage a neck-lift or a facelift is a better option. To find out the most suitable procedure for you, be sure to consult a surgeon with extensive experience in facelifts. Beware of the “latest”, the “newest”, the “L”, the “S” or “the turbo”! These procedures may have a nifty name but liposuction, a mini-lift and neck-lift have a proven track record of more than 20 years.

    neck lift cost sydney

    Before and After Face Lift & Neck Lift Surgery by Dr Hodgkinson

    Because the Australian environment is especially harsh on the skin and the skin may be sun-damaged, you may need more than just the tightening of the underlying tissues. In combination with a facelift you may benefit from a skin rejuvenation program using laser resurfacing or a chemical peel which can smooth out fine lines and wrinkles and make a great deal of difference to the texture of the skin and your complexion.

    Before and After Facelift & Eyelid Surgery by Dr Hodgkinson

    Men are also feeling the pressure of normal ageing—the sagging of the jowls, the double chin and the aged tired look. Most 50-year-olds, however, do not regard themselves as old and still feel competitive and turn to the gym, nutritional awareness, less smoking, anti-ageing medicines and yes, facelifts. Encouraged by the success of rejuvenation surgery in women, men are now coming forward for surgical procedures and 30 per cent of Dr Hodgkinson’s practice is comprised of men.

    The key to facelifts for men is to concentrate on defining the jaw and eliminating the double chin whilst not taking away all the lines of expression that are a natural part of a masculine face.


    Before and After Male Facelift Surgery by Dr Hodgkinson

    A common concern of men and women in their sixties is that they have loose skin on their face. They want to get a facelift but they do not want that obvious stretched look of a facelift.  The ideal result is a natural looking facelift, with not so obvious changes.

    Fortunately, today’s procedures if done properly do not lead to that stretched, over-operated on “Hollywood” appearance of by-gone years. To achieve an un-operated, natural appearance the focus in the over-60 age group is completely different. Because the bones are degenerating and the mid-face is getting smaller, it is essential to focus on the bony structure of the face and facial volume. Because aged skin has more laxity, more redundant skin will need to be removed, usually resulting in longer scars. I concentrate not only on the skin and muscles, but also on the shape of the face. I re-establish the cheek projection and jaw-line and often put in more than I take out using volume-enhancing procedures such as cheek implants and fat transfer.


    Before and After Facelift & Eyelid Surgery by Dr Hodgkinson

    A common question we hear is if a patient is for example in the forties and they have their first facelift, will they need another on 20 years later in their sixties?

    You will need another lift if you want to keep your youthful look, however it’s unlikely to be the same type of facelift. The second lift is likely to be more of a touch-up procedure at about 8 to 12 years after the first lift. The old incisions are revisited and the sagging tissues re-tightened.

    The over-operated-on “wind tunnel” appearance after two or three facelifts as often seen in the social pages, needs to be avoided. The tight look is avoided with judicious restoration of sagging tissues and by not removing any more skin. Another obvious look to be avoided is the long or distorted earlobes and a stepped or too high hairline.

    If you are committed to staying youthful, budget for later life; look after your first facelift by not smoking or taking drugs and by avoiding excessive sun exposure.

    Before and After Facelift Surgery by Dr Hodgkinson

    Definitely not. As we age, we begin to notice some excess wrinkling around our eyes, jowling and maybe some thickness under our chin and around the neck.

    The whole idea of waiting until 60 for a one-off facelift has gone. There has been a growing trend over the past ten years for people in their late 30s and early 40s to actively seek facelifting. In this age group the skin starts to give way to gravity—the brow may droop a little and the skin around the eyes loosen. However, muscle and ligament tone is still quite elastic and patients usually require less extensive rejuvenating techniques.

    Dr. Hodgkinson will minimise incisions by using less invasive techniques, often using the endoscope or limited incision surgery. Usually some tightening of the underlying muscle and ligament tissue is enough. The jowls and neck area can be tightened and the brow-lift procedure can elevate the corners of the eyes and also tighten the upper cheek area to restore the youthful contours of the face.

    Before and After Facelift by Dr Hodgkinson

    Yes you can.  The mid-face lift is ideal for people who have lost tone and volume in the middle third of their face.  High cheek bones have always been associated with youth and the maintenance of a youthful face as we age. The problem with ageing in the cheek area is that the tissues underneath the eye slide down with the effects of gravity and facial movement, producing nasolabial folds. These can be improved with injections of non-permanent injectibles; however, there comes a point where simply plumping up will not do the job.

    Fortunately, we now have a newer procedure called Mid-Face Lifting which is done without leaving evident scars. Small incisions in the mouth and hairline enable us to endoscopically release these droopy tissues to bring them up higher, recreating the fullness of youth in the cheek area. If a patient has always had a flat cheek, we can add cheek implants using the same manoeuvre.

    Before and After Facelift & Eyelid Surgery by Dr Hodgkinson

    Many patients ask this. The S-Lift is a re-invention of a very antiquated technique of facelifting; one that was abandoned because it did not address the major problems of ageing which include laxity of the soft tissues of the neck and fat accumulation. The S-Lift is described as surgery for beginners and a technique which merely approaches the laxity of skin issue. It is commonly known that tightening the skin alone leads to unacceptable scars and extremely short-term results. Before and after results most often published show patients after only a few days or weeks. The plastic surgical community abandoned the initial facelifting techniques (which were introduced in the 1920s and 1930s and continued into the 1950s) to perform more thorough procedures.


    With these early techniques, patients were dissatisfied with the fact that they underwent a surgical procedure with subsequent visible scarring and very temporary results. In the 1970s and 1980s, with the introduction of the more thorough procedures, it was established that by working first on the fat and the loose tissues underneath the skin to re-establish a youthful contour and then redraping the skin, a longer lasting, more natural and hence cost-effective result without the unwanted scars could be achieved. Dr. Hodgkinson states I am still following up the first facelift I did for a patient upon my return to Australia in 1990. This patient is still satisfied with her result almost 30 years later, because the issues and tissues of the ageing face were dealt with properly at the outset. I hope this explains to you what the S-Lift is and why I would never revert to a procedure which I know is a waste of a patient’s time, energy and money.

    Jowls are commonly associated with ageing in the lower half of the face. Everyone ages differently but jowls are a common complaint of patients that present at the clinic to find out what their options are and what is the best procedure to correct their sagging jowls.  As we get older, not only does our skin lose elasticity but the underlying tissues and fat pats atrophy as well.  This ageing process creates this sagging, loose appearance, wherein the jawline loses its definition and often there is also a laxity of the tissues under the chin, giving the person a double chin.

    The best procedure or treatment for sagging jowls usually involves a facelift of just the lower two-thirds of the face, which is enough to elevate these tissues combined with some fixation of the tissues underneath (not just a skin lift or S-Lift). It is not possible to create natural looking results when the skin is stretched and tightened like cling wrap to hold the sagging tissues in place. The advantage of the facelift combined with the fixation of the underlying tissues over more traditional procedures is that there is less scarring and “down-time” while still providing for a long lasting and more natural result. This is referred to as a SMAS lift.

    neck lift surgery sydney

    Before and After Face Lift and Neck lift Surgery

    Everyone heals differently, so whilst there is no one answer to this question, there are of course guidelines to help you plan for your surgery and an uneventful recovery.

    The less invasive nature of today’s facelift procedures means that most people can be back at work after two weeks. There will be bruising and swelling after the operation but even the most severe swelling should be gone by the third week. Heavy work, stress and sudden movements should be avoided for the first ten days so as not to aggravate swelling or put any stress on the stitches.

    Before and 3 Months After Facelift by Dr Hodgkinson