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I’m interested in having a facelift but I’ve heard they are very expensive - and involve a long recovery.

How much do they cost, and how long will I need to take off work?

- patient

Dr David Sharp

Dr Sharp:

In contemporary plastic surgery, facelift procedures fall on a spectrum of operations that can be performed to reduce deep folds around the mouth, mid face excess skin, an undefined jawline and sagging in the lower face and upper neck.

Therefore some patients with early lower face aging only require a small amount of excess skin to be removed in front of - or below - the ear to see an improvement in the jawline definition they seek. These are commonly called ‘S’ lifts or mini lifts and are sometimes performed under local anaesthetic, or under general anaesthetic as day surgery. The procedure takes 1 to 1.5 hours and patients can return to work the following day, but most take a week off work until their sutures are removed.

Generally, most facelifts involve some plication or detachment of the SMAS layer, so the underlying facial structure can be lifted and tightened. When this occurs, the surgery is performed under general anaesthetic and takes anywhere from 2.5 to 4 hours. Small drains are required for 24-48 hours and a support garment is worn following surgery.

Most patients take at least 2 weeks off work to allow bruising and initial swelling to dissipate. Patients return to our clinic at intervals during the first 6 months for diligent post operative care.

The total cost factors in the surgeon, surgical assistant, anaesthetist, hospital and theatre fees - as well as post operative compression garment and multiple post operative appointments. Each facelift procedure is tailored to suit the patient, so the cost can vary. 

Mini facelifts performed under local anaesthetic start from $4,500.

Full facelifts (including upper neck) costs around $19,500. This includes post operative laser resurfacing/scar optimisation treatment (valued at $1,000).

Facelift is ideal for patients who are at a healthy weight, and is often teamed with fat grafting and blepharoplasty surgery. When other procedures are added, the total cost increase, due to the additional time required in theatre. 

As with all cosmetic surgery, our patients are provided with a comprehensive estimate of fees document following their initial consultation, detailing all inclusions.

Cost is an important consideration when undergoing surgery, but its also important to weigh up:

  • whether your surgeon performs this procedure frequently
  • the information provided to you at your consultation; was your surgeon transparent about the risks and expected results. Honesty (even the bits you don’t want to hear) is very important
  • how your surgeon makes you feel during your pre operative process; feeling respected and heard is paramount when embarking upon a surgical journey. It can be an emotional process, so you need to resonate with your surgeon and their interpersonal approach.

Facelifts are expensive, but please keep in mind that this is a lengthy, complex procedure that requires advanced anatomical knowledge, many year of specialist surgical training and skilled post operative support. Ask lots of questions at your pre operative consultations, and seek the opinion of more than one specialist plastic surgeon when planning this procedure.

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