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Facelift Procedure in Brisbane with
Plastic Surgeon Dr David Sharp

Using advanced plastic procedure skills and techniques, Dr David Sharp utilises his experience with deep plane and SMAS facelift principles. Each procedure is tailored to the patient and their natural facial structure. Scroll down to learn more about benefits, risk and the recovery involved.

Using advanced plastic procedure skills and techniques, Dr David Sharp utilises his experience with deep plane and SMAS facelift principles. Each procedure is tailored to the patient and their natural facial structure. Scroll down to learn more about benefits, risk and the recovery involved.

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What is Dr Sharp’s approach to facelift procedure?

A surgeon’s approach to facelift procedure is a culmination of their formal surgical training, mentoring, ongoing professional development as well as their operating experience in theatre. Dr Sharp takes a holistic approach to facelift, using contemporary plastic procedure techniques to create changes that work in harmony with your natural facial anatomy. Where appropriate, he integrates other modalities such as Fraxel laser, autologous fat grafting or liposuction into his facelift procedures to achieve the patient’s desired changes. View clinical before and after photos of patients who have undergone facelift procedure with Dr Sharp below.

The benefits of having procedure with Dr Sharp extend past his clinical credentials and the procedure itself. Our integrated pre and postoperative care approach is a cornerstone of our facelift journey, ensuring our patients make well-informed decisions and receive diligent and compassionate care during their recovery – as well as ongoing support to maintain their results. Read on to find out more.

From our extensive preoperative education process through to our LED and laser program postoperatively for bruising, swelling and scaring – we take great pride in our quality of care, investing in our patients’ long term results.

When viewing before and after photos on this page, please note that results may vary due to many factors including the individual’s genetics, natural body habits, skin condition, diet and exercise. 

What is the best age to have a facelift?


Because we each age differently, and feel differently about the changes we see, there is no ideal age to have a facelift. The right time is when you are doing it for you – not to meet other people’s expectations or a perceived social standard.

Some patients have their first facelift in their 40s, going on to have another in their 60s or 70s. Other patients have their first facelift in their 70s. We recommend that patients are healthy, at a stable place in their lives, well informed and have reasonable expectations about what the procedure can achieve before undergoing any procedure.

Dr Sharp is always honest with his patients and, after examining their face, he will advise if he believes they would not yet benefit from facelift procedure. Although it can be the cause of disappointment, ethically a surgeon must only offer cosmetic procedure if they believe it will achieve a satisfactory result.

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What does facelift procedure involve?


As we age a number of normal signs develop. Some of us – especially those exposed to high UV rates in Queensland – can experience premature ageing. That is, the signs of ageing are accelerated due to environmental, lifestyle or genetic factors.

Normal signs of ageing including collagen and elastin depletion in the skin, bone and soft tissue loss, fat pad depletion, jowls, wrinkles, lines and deep folds.

Click on the videos to view before and after photos following facelift, facial fat grafting or lip lift procedure with Dr Sharp. If videos do not play, please sign in to YouTube to confirm your age, or scrol down to view images.

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Feel confident in your choices, supported by gold standard procedure care

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As fat either disappears – or moves lower on the face due to gravity – loss of skin tone in the mid and lower face creates jowling and additional skin. It is important to remember that while these are the aspects of ageing that facelift procedure alters, the operation does not seek to perfect or make the face appear unnatural. Facelift procedure will not improve your skin quality or pigmentation; we use conservative non surgical therapies to improve skin function and quality.

Facelift procedure has evolved in recent decades, and contemporary facelift techniques that Dr Sharp uses, tightens the underlying facial structures – and removes some skin on the mid to lower face and upper neck. The incisions run within or adjacent to the hairline, from the nape of the neck up to the ear folds, and to the temples.

Facelift procedure can also utilise micro fat grafting or liposuction to address a patient’s specific concern, such as fat deposits under the chin or reduced mid-face volume. At the time of your initial consultation with Dr Sharp he will assess your face, discuss your motivations and expectations, and explain the reasons behind his recommended surgical plan.

Importantly, all of your preoperative consultations will be directly with Dr Sharp. We do not outsource the consultation process to other healthcare professionals in our clinic, as we believe at least two consultations with the operating surgeon is essential in order to make a confident and education decision, prior to such a significant procedure.

Will I still look like ‘me’ after facelift procedure?

Dr Sharp’s approach to facelift procedure respects the aspects of your appearance that are unique to you.

Utilising his training as a plastic surgeon and facial anatomy knowledge, Dr Sharp is able to tailor each facelift to suit his patients’ individual anatomy – and aesthetic concerns.

During the procedure, Dr Sharp surgically tightens facial muscles to improve their tone. Excess fat may also be removed or repositioned as part of the procedure – or fat grafting used – to create or replace volume in the mid face.

A facelift can change how you look, but it won’t give you a totally different look – nor can it restore your appearance to that of your youth.

Facelift procedure with Dr Sharp involves:

Dr Sharp performs facelift procedure under general anaesthetic at private hospitals in Brisbane.

The procedure can be performed as an inpatient with overnight stay, or as a day procedure, whereby you return on the same day as procedure if you have appropriate support at home and live within close access to Dr Sharp’s clinic. 

Why have a facelift?

Individuals’ motivations for having facelift procedure are deeply personal and varied. Common clinical aims of facelift procedure include:

  • reduce lines and deep facial folds
  • reduce jowls by removing skin and tightening underlying facial structure
  • create a straighter jawline
  • reduce lax skin on the upper neck

As people age, the effects of gravity, exposure to the sun, and the stresses of daily life can be seen in their faces. Fat pads deplete and migrate lower in the face, or under the chin. This is normal and not something we seek to pathologise or convey as abnormal. Some people are satisfied with these signs of ageing, and that’s okay.

Some people are very comfortable with their appearance, but if given the opportunity, would still like to change some of theses aesthetic aspects of ageing. That’s also okay.

A facelift can’t stop the ageing process. What it can do is reduce the signs of ageing. A facelift can be performed alone, or in conjunction with other procedures such as a brow lift lip lift or eyelid procedure (blepharoplasty).

Non-surgical treatments, such as peels, platelet rich plasma (PRP) microneedling or lasers, may be undertaken preoperatively to improve skin health and circulation in preparation for procedure. Postoperatively these treatments may assist in maintaining the investment you have made in your results. These treatments can also target areas that are not changed by facelift procedure, including sun-damage, pigmentation, thinning skin, lines around the eyes, mouth and across the forehead. 

Before you decide to have procedure, think carefully about your expectations, the recovery process and how you might feel if your results do not meet your expectations. Dr Sharp will provide you with advice regarding these factors, as well as written information for consideration.

WHY WE COMBINE FRAXEL WITH OUR FACELIFTS

All of Dr Sharp’s facelift patients receive  Fraxel non ablative laser resurfacing treatment, as part of their facelift journey.

This is because facelift procedure reduces the signs of ageing by changing the underlying structures of the face and neck and removing skin – but it does not improve skin condition or pigmentation, in the way that laser resurfacing treatment can. This ‘dual’ medical grade laser stimulates collagen production while also resurfacing and removing pigmentation, sun damage and some pre cancerous skin growths. When combined with facelift procedure, we are able to effect change both above and below the skin’s surface. Contact us for more information!.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT
FACELIFT PROCEDURE

with Dr David Sharp, Specialist Plastic Surgeon

Is a facelift right for me?

The best candidate for a facelift is a person whose skin still has some elasticity – and whose bone structure is strong and well-defined. Most patients are in their forties to sixties, but Dr Sharp has experience performing facelifts for healthy patients in their seventies or eighties as well. Facelift may be suitable for you if:

  • You would like to reduce deep lines, jowls and lax skin in the mid and lower face and upper neck
  • Facelift procedure is something you have wanted to do for some time
  • You have given serious consideration and thought to the procedure, weighing its risks and benefits
  • You have a good support network at home to assist with your recovery
  • You can afford to take time off work, leisure or family commitments to recover; and you understand recovery periods vary between patients
  • If you currently have good body image and life satisfaction / stability
  • You have reasonable expectations about what facelift procedure will achieve and understand that a specific outcome cannot be guaranteed
  • Your financial and mental wellbeing position can support the risk potential involved in (any) procedure. This may mean extended time off work, social activities or exercise during the recovery period.

This is not an exhaustive list, but being able to answer positively to these preoperatively gives you a greater chance of being pleased with your result postoperatively, and might mean that now is a suitable time to consider facelift procedure.

Physically, facelift procedure can be performed when you are:

  • Healthy – ie not suffering from disease or chronic illness that may impact your anaesthetic safety profile, healing or recovery.
  • At your personal ‘ideal’ weight, with a stable BMI under 30.
  • Have lost volume in the mid-face
  • Have deep creases in the mid face, along the nose extending to the corner of the mouth
  • Have fat that has depleted or descended lower on the face or jawline
  • Have loss of muscle tone in the lower face
  • Have loose skin and excess fatty deposits under the chin and jaw (submental and upper neck area)
  • You have realistic expectations of what face lift procedure can achieve
  • You are a non-smoker/vaper or have stopped smoking

These factors improve your chances of having a safe anaesthetic and good surgical outcome.

What a facelift won't do

A facelift does not change your fundamental appearance and cannot stop the ageing process.

If you experience low self esteem, poor confidence or anxiety about your appearance, you may be at a higher risk of feeling dissatisfied with the results of facelift procedure, irrespective of the aesthetic changes that the procedure brings about for you. If you think this may apply to you, we recommend talking to your GP about your concerns, and the options available to you.

A facelift can only be performed surgically; non-surgical rejuvenation treatments cannot achieve the same results, but may help delay the time at which a facelift becomes appropriate. Non surgical therapies complement the results of procedure postoperatively, especially those that target ongoing solar damage and UV-induced premature ageing such as laser.

If you like the effect of dermal fillers or muscle relaxing wrinkle injections, having a facelift will not replace the need to have cosmetic injectables in the future.

Pictured below, before and 5 months after neck liposuction and facelift procedure with Dr Sharp.

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How do I choose my surgeon?

Facelift procedure should be performed by specialist plastic surgeons. It carries low mortality and morbidity rates when performed by specialist plastic surgeons in accredited facilities.

However it is a major procedure – and therefore, choosing the right surgeon is of utmost importance. Facelift procedure should be performed by a qualified specialist plastic surgeon who is registered as a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

You can confirm your surgeon’s credentials here.

Dr David Sharp is a qualified specialist plastic and reconstructive surgeon with a special interest in facelift procedure. His personalized approach means that you receive plenty of preoperative time with him to discuss your specific facial procedure goals and ask any questions.

It’s normal to feel both nervous, and an excited sense of anticipation when planning your facelift. Dr Sharp takes the time to ensure you have as many consultations as you require, to ensure your treatment is customised to suit your face, age, and expectations – and address any concerns you may have.

When choosing your facelift surgeon, please consider:

  1. Check your shortlisted surgeons’ credentials. Facelift procedure should be performed by a qualified specialist plastic surgeon as they have advanced surgical training in facial anatomy.
  2. Also, confirm that your surgeon consults her/his patients directly – in our clinics, your first consult and second preoperative consult are with the surgeon who is performing your procedure, not an allocated patient coordinator, nurse or another doctor who will not be operating on you.
  3. Check whether they perform the operation at an accredited hospital facility
  4. Confirm whether they have admitting rights to an inpatient hospital facility (for example, Greenslopes Private Hospital) where your care can be managed by them should you have a complication requiring readmission or further procedure, and admission to an on-site ICU in the case of a rare emergency. 
  5. Ask about their postoperative care program to support your recovery

What kind of anaesthetic will I have?

Standard facelifts are performed by Dr Sharp under a full general anaesthetic. A qualified specialist anaesthetist performs the anaesthetic and is present during the procedure. A specifically selected range of medications are administered by them, to ensure your post-operative comfort. Dr Sharp works with an experienced team of trusted anesthetists.

The procedure is performed in accredited hospital with appropriately equipped theatres. Some patients go home a few hours after procedure, while others stay in hospital for a day or two following their procedure. The suitability of inpatient or day procedure is discussed between patient and surgeon during the initial consult.

Facelift risks and complications

When performed by a specialist plastic surgeon in an accredited Australian hospital facility, facelift procedure carries very low morbidity and mortality rates. But unfortunately, procedure is not an exact science. Like any procedure, you must weigh up whether the benefits outweigh the risks for you.

Possible complications of procedure in general include:

  • Acute medical event such as stoke, heart attack, pneumonia
  • The need for revision or further procedure
  • Pain which does not respond to pain relief
  • Nerve damage, causing altered sensation or loss of sensation – temporary or permanent
  • Haematoma (collection of blood), oedema (collection of fluid) and abscess
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolisms (PE)
  • Damage or or loss of loose teeth during placement of anaesthetic apparatus
  • Sore throat, swelling or discomfort following placement of breathing tubes during anaesthetic
  • Breathing difficulties following anaesthetic
  • Allergic reaction to medication
  • Allergic reaction to sutures, dressings, tapes or intraoperative solutions
  • Heavy bleeding from the wound, which may require further procedure
  • Poor or slow skin healing, wound infection, breakdown or necrosis (skin death)
  • Wound dehiscence (incision separation)
  • Adverse scarring
  • Psychological impact of procedure, recovery or altered appearance
  • Death

While facelift procedure is commonly performed by Dr Sharp, it also carries risks. Your preoperative consultations with Dr Sharp will enable him to discuss potential complications with you, and help you determine whether the procedure is right for you. Before you meet with Dr Sharp, we will send you detailed information about these risks and the recovery involved. Please read through it before your first consult, to provide foundation knowledge. It also might help you think of some specific questions to ask Dr Sharp.

Facelift risks include the above, as well as:

  • Poor wound healing and skin loss
  • Facial nerve injury with weakness
  • Temporary or permanent hair loss at the incisions
  • Numbness or other changes in skin sensation
  • Persistent pain
  • Unfavorable scarring
  • Prolonged swelling
  • Skin irregularities and discoloration
  • Sutures may spontaneously surface through the skin, become visible or produce irritation that require removal
  • Unsatisfactory results may include: asymmetry, unsatisfactory surgical scar location and unacceptable visible deformities at the ends of the incisions. It may be necessary to perform an additional procedure to improve your results.
  • Cardiac and pulmonary complications

Complications do not occur often, and Dr Sharp and his team manage each of these risks with the upmost care to reduce the likelihood of them occurring. In the rare event they do occur, most can be treated promptly in our clinic, or upon re-admission to Greenslopes Private Hospital, where Dr Sharp has inpatient admitting rights, if needed.

Everyone’s body responds differently to procedure. In some cases, post-operative revision procedure might be required.

Some factors, such as weight, lifestyle or health problems can increase the chance of a complication occurring. Dr Sharp will take time to learn about your potential risk factors during your pre operative consultations, and will determine if they are relevant to your procedure.

Before undergoing facelift procedure it is very important to consider how you might feel should a complication occur. Complications can impact your results, can cost additional hospital or anaesthetic fees or require more time of work. They can also have an impact on your emotional and mental wellbeing.

Three ways to prepare for your procedure and any risks or complications:

  • Have a good support system around you postoperatively to provide a positive healing environment. The power of positive thinking has been scientifically proven to impact surgical outcomes
  • Have a strong and open rapport with your surgeon – if you have a concern or question, promptly get in touch
  • Read the documentation provided by your surgeon and ask questions if you don’t understand anything. Then re-read again just prior to your procedure to refresh the information. An understanding of the potential risks and how to avoid complications postoperatively is immensely helpful.

 

What happens if I am not satisfied with my results?

Cosmetic procedure aims to improve, but not perfect. There is a possibility that you will be dissatisfied with your aesthetic results or physical appearance following procedure. This does not refer to a surgical complication or risk that poses a threat to your health or wellbeing, but aesthetic dissatisfaction occurs more commonly in cosmetic procedure due to the subjective nature of the procedures being performed.

Before undergoing a cosmetic procedure its important to consider whether you are likely to experience anxiety, depression or aggression if your results do not meet your expectations. Cosmetic procedure is not suitable for everyone, and all patients undergo this procedure knowing this.

Ultimately, Dr Sharp and his team wants each patient to have the best possible outcome for their procedure. We are committed to assisting patients through all stage of their recovery and care, navigating this process with reasonable expectations and respectful communication.

Before you undergo procedure with Dr Sharp, you will be provided with a copy of our complaints process, which guides the process involved if you are unhappy with your care.

How can facelift risks be reduced or managed?

Everyone’s body responds differently to procedure. In some cases, post-operative revision procedure might be required.

Some factors, such as weight, lifestyle or health problems can increase the chance of a complication occurring. Dr Sharp will take time to learn about your potential risk factors during your pre operative consultations, and will determine if they are relevant to your procedure.

Before undergoing facelift procedure it is very important to consider how you might feel should a complication occur. Complications can impact your results, can cost additional hospital or anaesthetic fees or require more time of work. They can also have an impact on your emotional and mental wellbeing.

Three ways to prepare for your procedure and any risks or complications:

  • Have a good support system around you postoperatively to provide a positive healing environment. The power of positive thinking has been scientifically proven to impact surgical outcomes
  • Have a strong and open rapport with your surgeon – if you have a concern or question, promptly get in touch
  • Read the documentation provided by your surgeon and ask questions if you don’t understand anything. Then re-read again just prior to your procedure to refresh the information. An understanding of the potential risks and how to avoid complications postoperatively is immensely helpful.

What happens if I am not satisfied with my results?

Cosmetic procedure aims to improve, but not perfect. There is a possibility that you will be dissatisfied with your aesthetic results or physical appearance following procedure. This does not refer to a surgical complication or risk that poses a threat to your health or wellbeing, but aesthetic dissatisfaction occurs more commonly in cosmetic procedure due to the subjective nature of the procedures being performed.

Cosmetic procedure is not suitable for everyone, and patients who experience anxiety and perfectionism are more likely to be disappointed with their results, even when a visible improvement has been achieved and no complications have occurred. Before undergoing a cosmetic procedure its important to consider whether you are likely to experience anxiety, depression or aggression if your results do not meet your expectations. 

Ultimately, Dr Sharp and his team wants each patient to have the best possible outcome for their procedure. We are committed to assisting patients through all stage of their recovery and care, navigating this process with reasonable expectations and respectful communication.

Before you undergo procedure with Dr Sharp, you will be provided with a copy of our complaints process, which guides the process involved if you are unhappy with your care.

Facelift recovery: what to expect

During your facelift recovery, a support garment will be in place around your face. It will minimise swelling and bruising. Thin tubes will also be present to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect under the skin.

Your anaesthetist will prescribe pain medication at the time of procedure. Severe or persistent pain or a sudden swelling of your face should be reported to Dr Sharp immediately. Some numbness and strange sensations under the skin is normal; it will resolve over time.

Dr Sharp will ask you to keep your head elevated and as still as possible for a couple of days after procedure, to keep the swelling down. Sleeping propped up on pillows for the first few weeks – up to a month – after procedure is recommended.

If you’ve had a drainage tube inserted, it will be removed approximately one to two days after procedure. Support garments, when used, are usually removed after 14 days (or in the interim only to wash). Don’t be surprised by your bruised and puffy appearance; it is only temporary – in a few weeks this will have subsided significantly.

Most of your stitches will be removed after about five to seven days. Your scalp may take longer to heal, and the stitches in your hairline could be left in for longer.

You will begin to return to activities within two to three days, with just gentle activity around the home, slowly increasing over the first post operative week. Take special care when touching your face and hair; your skin will be tender and numb, and may feel strange. Resist the urge to itch or touch the incision areas – remember these are wounds that can become infected if strict hygiene standards are not followed.

Dr Sharp will give more specific guidelines for gradually resuming your normal activities. These include avoiding strenuous activity, including exercise and heavy housework, for at least six weeks (walking and mild stretching are fine); avoiding alcohol and vigorous exercise for several months. Most importantly, eat healthy nutritious food to fuel optimal healing and get plenty of rest.

In the weeks following procedure your face may look and feel strange. Your features will be distorted by swelling and bruising, your facial movements may feel unusual, you will most likely experience some numbness and you will feel self-conscious about your scarring. Some bruising may persist for two or three weeks, and you may tire easily. You may experience mood swings and fluctuate between feeling energetic and happy, then tired and anxious. This is very normal, and part of the ‘postoperative rollercoaster’ that most patients experience after major procedure.

By the third week, you’ll look and feel some improvements. Most patients are back at work about ten days to two weeks after procedure. If you need it, special camouflage makeup can mask most bruising that remains.

As nerve endings heal and recover, patients notice tingling, tickly feelings under their skin – or quick, sharp sensations. This is part of your swelling subsiding and nerves regenerating after procedure, and is very normal.

Healthy nutrition and regular physical activity, including gentle core strength exercises and practicing good posture, are integral to obtaining and maintaining optimal long term results.

During the first 6 weeks postoperatively, you are invited to attend the clinic as often as you can, for 20 minute LED therapy sessions to help reduce bruising, swelling and scar development.

We also recommend patients undertake lymphatic drainage massage from 2 weeks post op, to assist with swelling, healing and the sense of tightness and fullness that is common immediately after procedure.

When you book your procedure, our team pre-books appointments for you to return to our clinic at 1 week post op for a routine check, and again at 6 weeks, 12 weeks (at this visit you will have your Fraxel laser) and again at 14-18 weeks for a final review with Dr Sharp.

Contact our experienced clinicians on 07 3202 4744 to find out more.

How much time should I take off work after facelift procedure?

You should avoid physical exertion for at least six weeks; that includes not lifting anything over 2kg, including shopping, pets, most laptops or household work. You will require support with all of these activities! Depending on your work, you could need to take anywhere from 2-6 weeks off work, although many people return to work – particularly if it involves sedentary activity – after 2 weeks.

How much do facelifts cost in Brisbane?

Potential costs include:

  • Dr Sharp’s fee
  • Anaesthetist fee
  • Assistant’s fee
  • Theatre costs
  • Support garments

Facelift is not covered by private health insurers or Medicare.

After your consultation with Dr Sharp, you will be provided with a written estimate of fees.

It is important to understand that, in the case of complications or revision procedure, the cost of your facelift might extend to future surgical procedures and hospitalisations.

As with all uninsured procedures performed in a private hospital, it is impossible to accurately predict what the cost of a postoperative complication may entail, as many variables are involved with the types of care that may be required.

We encourage patients to think about how they would fund further treatment beyond the immediate costs expected.

Can I improve facelift scars?

Scarring is dependent on many factors, but the key ones are:

  1. the position of the scar on the body
  2. postoperative scar care
  3. time since procedure
  4. skin type/quality and genetics 

Scar position and tension

Scars that are located on parts of the body that are under tension or frequent movement are more likely to be stretched, and thicker. This is why it is important to wear postoperative compression garments after facelift procedure and limit movement. It’s especially important to avoid pulling on your ear lobes or wearing your hair pulled back tightly during the scar formation phase, as this area is fragile and under pressure from swelling postoperatively.

Postoperative scar care

Our patients go home with extensive postoperative instructions. These feature evidence-based, best practice scar care recommendations; when followed, they give patients the best possible scar outcome.

It is therefore essential to wear your support garment correctly (our team are always on hand to clarify if you are unsure of the correct positioning, or watch our helpful video here), observe physical activity restrictions, practice good nutrition and only use approved products on incisions for the recommended amount of time. We also advocate for twice-daily scar massage once Dr Sharp indicates to do so in the instructions provided.

When we see poor scarring in otherwise healthy patients, it is usually because one or more of the above recommendations have not been followed.

For example, failure to wear compression garments properly can place additional pressure on the scar, or result in excessive swelling, haematoma or seroma, which can require further procedure, in turn causing more incisional tension and unfavourable scarring.

Essential oils, bleaching creams or any products not supplied or recommended by the clinic can be detrimental to healing and cause wound breakdown, infection, delayed healing and poor scarring.

Time since procedure

It is inevitable that patients will monitor, observe and worry about their scars most closely during the exact phase of natural scar healing when it is always going to be looking its worst; the first 3-12 months postoperatively. This maturation process takes the scar approximately 24 months in total, so patience is needed in order to see the final result! While it might be annoying to hear ‘be patient’ during this period, it is important to give your body time to fully heal.

Rest assured that if postoperative instructions are closely followed, patients usually find their facelift scars mature into soft, lightly-coloured scars, which are not anywhere near as prominent as they appear to be in the first 3-12 months.

Skin condition, quality or genetics

Some skin types or ethnicities are more predisposed to poor scarring. Sun damaged, aged or thin skin can also scar badly or experience delayed healing. Even if you are genetically predisposed to poor scarring, good scar care can go some way to improving the appearance of the scar.

Following your procedure, you will be given a scar care pack and post op instructions. Patients also have a Fraxel laser treatment (included in the cost of their facelift) a few months after procedure, to assist with scar optimisation.

Lymphatic drainage massage

Preoperatively, all patients are informed about the benefits of lymphatic drainage and advised to pre book postoperative treatments with a qualified therapist, in preparation for their recovery. These can commence 1-2 weeks following procedure and while optional, they are highly recommended.

 

How long do the results last?

Your result will not last forever, as facelift procedure does not stop the ageing process. You may need to undergo further facelift procedure in the future in order to maintain your results.

Dr Sharp’s experienced team of healthcare professionals can assist you in maintaining and complimenting your results with a range of non surgical solutions, including:

How do I know if I need a necklift or facelift?

Often, patients think they need a neck lift to address their jowls and sagging skin in this area, however the cause of their lower face concerns actually began with the loss, and migration of their fat pads, skin and underlying facial support in their mid face – causing skin and tissue to gather around the lower face. In this case, a facelift may address these issues and a neck lift might not be required.

If there is excess skin below the jawline, on the neck – or small deposits of fat accumulated under the chin area – a neck lift procedure may also be required. This procedure is tailored to the patient’s surgical objectives. In some cases, liposuction may be used to remove fat, while in others only the platysma muscle is tightened and excess skin removed. The neck lift incision is made across the front of the neck, and the scar is often integrated into the lines of the skin to reduce its appearance.

What is involved in facelift procedure?

A facelift procedure includes the following steps:

Step 1 – Anaesthesia

Facelift procedure is performed under a general anaesthetic with a specialist anaesthetist; you will be asleep during procedure.

A variety of other procedures may be required, in combination with facelift, to attain your surgical objectives. They include:

Step 2 – The incision and procedure

Incisions usually begin above the hairline at the temple, extending in a natural line in front of the ear – or inside the cartilage at the front of the ear – and continuing behind the earlobe to the lower scalp.

If a neck lift is also required, a small incision may also be made under the chin. Dr Sharp separates the skin from the fat and muscle below. Fat may be trimmed or suctioned from around the neck and chin to improve the contour. Dr Sharp then tightens the underlying muscle and removes excess skin.

Step 3 – Closing the incisions

Once healed, the incision lines from a facelift are usually well concealed by the hairline; Dr Sharp aims to integrate these into the natural contours of the face and ear. This article by Dr Sharp explains more about facelift incisions and scar positioning.

Step 4 – See the results

The visible improvements of a facelift appear as swelling and bruising subside over several months following procedure. Your final result will be apparent 6-12 months after procedure. Scars take up to 24 months to mature.

Facelift results and expectations

It is important that your surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, abrasion or movement during the healing period.

It may take a few months for swelling to fully dissipate and up to 2 years for incision lines to mature. As swelling and bruising subside, the results of a facelift appear.

Remember that facelift results may not be immediately apparent; even after swelling and bruises have dissipated, your face may not feel ‘settled’ for months. Men whose beards or skin have been repositioned may find they have to shave in new places, behind the earns and on the neck. In some areas, hair may not grow back completely and it is important to think about how you might feel about this, before undertaking the procedure.

You will have scars from your facelift, however, Dr Sharp endeavours to place these near or within the hair or natural creases of the face and ears. Sometimes, the natural hairline, thinness of hair coverage or skin laxity means this is not possible.

With good care and patience, scars will improve. Talk to our skin team if you have any concerns regarding scaring, as our scar optimisation protocol can assist with accelerating your scar healing and improve its appearance.

Having a facelift does not halt the ageing process. Your face will continue to age with time, and you may wish to repeat the procedure one or more times ten or more years down the line.

Ongoing sun protection and a healthy lifestyle will help extend the results of your procedure.

Important considerations: facelift recovery and mental wellbeing

While we appreciate that most patients have planned their facelift for many years and are looking forward to finally having it done, ensuring that you have procedure at the right time for your overall wellbeing is more important than just ‘getting it done’ now. Facelift procedure is not appropriate for everyone, and it is important to consider this preoperatively when weighing up the pros and cons of having procedure at all. 

Postoperatively, some patients experience very tight or altered sensations around their lower face and upper neck, which can be distressing or triggering if they are prone to anxiety, panic attacks or suffer from PTSD.

If you have experienced any of these in the past, your preparation for procedure should include: 

  • Consulting your mental healthcare team (GP, counsellor or psychologist) before undergoing procedure, even if you are currently feeling well
  • Telling Dr Sharp about your mental health history and whether you have experienced any depression, anxiety, panic attacks or disordered eating recently 
  • Discussing the potential outcomes, risks and recovery of procedure with trusted family or friends who will be involved in your postoperative support team at home 

If you and Dr Sharp both decide that you are a suitable candidate for procedure, we recommend planning ahead and having good mental health support in place postoperatively, to assist you through this period and any feelings that may arise.

Things to keep in mind before deciding on facelift procedure

Before you decide on facelift procedure, there are some important considerations to keep in mind:

  • While a facelift will change your facial appearance, it will not raise your eyebrows, remove deep frown lines in the forehead, change your upper or lower eyelids, or remove lines around the mouth (perioral lines). Other forms of treatment may be more appropriate for you and the surgeon will discuss this with you at your initial consult.
  • The results of a facelift do not last forever and it can be difficult to accurately predict how long they may last for each individual, as many factors are outside our control.
  • Some people choose to have more than one facelift in a lifetime, depending on the extent of each procedure and the amount of scarring that occurs with each facelift. It’s worth noting that some complication risks increase with repeated facelift, however rare – such as nerve injury.
  • Facelift procedure does not ‘stop the clock’ of ageing. The normal ageing process will continue after the procedure.
  • Smokers and people with a BMI over 30 are at increased risk of complications. If you are serious about undergoing procedure, you must quit smoking and be at your ideal body weight.

Generally, our facelift patients are preoperatively healthy, body-positive men and women in their late 40’s to late 70’s who don’t want to look 21 again (despite stereotypes perpetuated in the media). They’re grateful for the wisdom those extra decades have given them –  they just want to look good for their age!

Facelift and filler: do I need to dissolve prior to procedure?

Is it important to remove dermal filler before facelift procedure?

Patients considering facelift procedure often ask us whether they need to dissolve their filler prior to procedure. There is no one-size fits all answer to this question, as it will depend upon how much filler has been placed, and where the filler is located.

Provided the area has not been over-filled, usually areas such as the lips, temples and mid cheek may not require dissolving.

However, often, high volumes of filler have recently been placed, and this can obstruct the patient’s own anatomy. But the filler could also be unexpectedly old.

Research also shows that filler may be present in tissue for much longer than expected. In our experience, this is more common in the tear trough (under eye), temporal and jaw areas. While MRI investigations have identified filler migration and longevity varies between products and injecting location.

Dr Sharp occasionally finds deposits of dermal filler extruding from sections of the face while performing facelift procedure, in areas where patients have reported having fillers placed 3-4 years prior. This does not result in an adverse outcome for the patient, but highlights that we may not know how long after filler treatment our facial appearance continues to be altered.

Should I have my filler dissolved before my facelift consult?

Dr Sharp does not recommend dissolving filler before your initial facelift consultation with him.

During the initial consultation, Dr Sharp conducts a thorough examination of the face and is able to see, and palpate, filler – distinguishing it from the patient’s natural tissue. If he determines that facelift procedure is suitable, and the dermal filler is obscuring the patient’s natural facial anatomy, proportions, contours and skin laxity, he will ask them to dissolve the filler before their next preoperative consultation with him. This can be performed by our plastic procedure nurses or any doctor-led cosmetic injectables clinic near you.

At the second preoperative consultation, clinical photos will be taken to record your facial anatomy ‘baseline’ and Dr Sharp will perform a second, accurate, assessment of your face for surgical planning purposes.

How long before my facelift procedure should I have my filler dissolved?

If Dr Sharp has indicated that you need to have filler dissolved, he recommends leaving as much time as possible between dissolving and having procedure. This is because the TGA regulated drug that is used to dissolve filler can also diminish the levels of naturally-occurring hyaluronic acid in the dermis. If you are otherwise healthy and do not have underlying health conditions, this is usually temporary and the skin restores its hyaluronic acid levels in the months after dissolving. We recommend getting your skin into its best possible shape before heading into facelift procedure, as this will aid the healing process, which means having your filler dissolved as soon as possible once you have made the decision to proceed with procedure.

My surgeon has told me that I need to dissolve my filler, but what could happen if I don’t do it before my facelift procedure?

Your face is filled with a network of drainage points, known as lymphatic nodes. They help blood flow and eliminate swelling in the face. However, large amounts of fillers, when placed adjacent to the nodes, can cause lymphatic congestion, or poor drainage of the fluid in the face. Lymphatic function is an important part of healing after procedure and so patients with filler in their tissue may feel that swelling takes longer to dissipate after procedure, which can result in slower healing.

It is also important to note that the fillers commonly used in Australia are hydrophilic, meaning they absorb fluid and expand after placement – so the significant facial swelling experienced after facelift procedure can cause remaining filler to be puffier and more prominent than usual.

Patient safety and risk reduction is paramount in plastic and cosmetic procedure. Having any prosthesis or foreign body in our tissue can also increase the risk of postoperative infection, even if it was placed prior to the procedure itself.

Everyone’s face has some degree of asymmetry, and while facelift procedure does not create perfectly symmetrical faces, fillers can dissolve at different rates, creating uneven distribution of volume in the face. Hence when a facelift is performed with a significant volume of filler still present, it may result in facial asymmetry.

And finally, if the procedure displaces or reposition tissues that contain filler, the filler may look more prominent or out of place. If this occurs, we wait until facial swelling has dissipated (this can take a few weeks for some patients, or a many months for others) and then determine whether or not some of the filler may need to be dissolved to reduce its prominence, in its new position.

If you don’t dissolve your filler when recommended, some of these thing may happen – or none of them may happen! Such is the unpredictability of each individual’s surgical recovery, which is also dependent upon their overall health, nutrition, adherence to post operative instructions and state of mind, among other factors. Ultimately having procedure involves receiving advice and determining whether or not you will adhere to it in order to reduce risks and achieve a satisfactory result.

Should I avoid having filler right now, if I might consider a facelift one day?

If you are considering a facelift in the near future, we do not recommend having filler prior. Book a facelift consultation with an experienced specialist plastic surgeon and discuss your concerns and surgical objectives. They will develop a holistic plan for your face, which may include procedure, non surgical therapies or a combination of both. A good plastic surgeon will also tell you when it is too early to have a facelift, or when the risks may outweigh the benefits in your specific case.

If you are considering a facelift down the track (as in, years into the future) we do not insist that patients hold off on having dermal filler treatments now. The vast majority of people who have filler will never have a facelift – primarily due to the risks, very high cost and significant recovery. Abstaining from fillers now ‘just in case’ you have a facelift down the track is not necessary.

Read more in Dr Sharp’s comprehensive article about fillers and facelift procedure here. 

Facelift: words to know

Facelift: words to know

  • General anesthesia: Drugs and/or gases used during an operation to relieve pain and alter consciousness.
  • Hematoma: Blood pooling beneath the skin.
  • Intravenous sedation: Sedatives administered by injection into a vein to help you relax.
  • Tear trough: Deep creases below the lower eyelids.
  • Nasolabial fold: Deep creases between the nose and cheek
  • Jowls: A jaw line that sags into the neck, usually caused by loss of muscle tone in the lower face.
  • Local anesthesia: A drug injected directly to the site of an incision during an operation to relieve pain.
  • Rhytidectomy or meloplasty: A surgical procedure also known as facelift, to reduce sagging of the mid-face, jowls and neck.

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