The Comprehensive Guide To Facelifts

Dr Darren Mckeown

Published by Dr Darren McKeown

Date posted — 12.06.24

Introduction to Facelifts

Facelifts are often considered the gold standard in facial rejuvenation, yet the term encompasses a variety of procedures, each with distinct outcomes and implications. A surgical facelift typically focuses on the lower face and neck, aiming to remove loose skin and reposition facial tissues for a refreshed appearance.

Volumetric, full, and non-surgical facelifts, as well as lower face and neck lifts, are all part of the options, each addressing specific targets of the face. It’s essential to understand these variations to choose a treatment that aligns with your aesthetic goals, recognising that facelifts often target certain areas rather than the full face and may be combined with other procedures to achieve comprehensive facial rejuvenation.


Key Takeaway Facts

  1. Variety of Facelift Options: Facelifts are not one-size-fits-all procedures. They range from full surgical facelifts, addressing significant sagging in the lower face and neck, to less invasive options like volumetric and non-surgical facelifts. The choice of procedure depends on individual needs, the degree of ageing signs, and specific aesthetic goals.
  2. Realistic Expectations and Longevity: A facelift can effectively rejuvenate the face and neck, offering results that typically last about 10 years. However, it does not stop the ageing process. Maintaining the results involves a healthy lifestyle, good skincare, and potentially minor touch-up procedures in the future.
  3. Importance of Choosing the Right Surgeon: The success of a facelift heavily relies on the skill and experience of the surgeon. Choosing a qualified surgeon who understands your aesthetic goals and has a proven track record is crucial. This ensures not only the effectiveness of the procedure but also your safety and satisfaction with the results.


The Ageing Process and Its Impact on the Face

Facial ageing is characterised by skin laxity, loss of collagen, and reduced facial fat, leading to wrinkles, sagging, and changes in facial contours. This natural process can be accelerated by lifestyle factors such as sun exposure and smoking. As the skin becomes lax and the facial structure alters as a result of bone resorption, the ageing signs become more pronounced, particularly in the face and neck.


Different Types of Facelift Procedures

Facelifts have evolved significantly, offering a range of options tailored to individual needs and aesthetic goals. Understanding these variations is crucial for selecting the most suitable procedure.


Volumetric Facelifts:

These non-surgical treatments focus on restoring lost facial volume, often using dermal fillers. They are ideal for those seeking subtle improvements without undergoing surgery.

Find out more about Volumetric Facelifts.


Full Facelifts:

As the most comprehensive option, full facelifts address sagging skin and deep folds around the lower half of the face and neck. This surgical procedure involves repositioning underlying tissues and removing excess skin to achieve a more youthful contour.

Find out more about Full Facelifts.


Non-Surgical Facelifts:

These procedures use advanced technologies, like ultrasound or radio frequency, to tighten skin and stimulate collagen production. They are best suited for patients with mild to moderate skin laxity.

Find out more about Non-Surgical Facelifts.


Lower Face and Necklifts:

Specifically targeting the jawline and neck, this surgery combats sagging in these areas, resulting in a more defined jawline and smoother neck.

Each type of facelift offers unique benefits and addresses different concerns, making it essential to discuss options with a qualified surgeon to determine the best approach for your facial rejuvenation.

Find out more about Lower Face and Necklifts.


Mini Facelift:

Ideal for those who show early signs of aging, a mini facelift is less invasive than a full facelift. This procedure typically focuses on the lower face, addressing areas like the jawline and the upper neck. It involves smaller incisions and a shorter recovery time, making it a popular choice for younger patients or those seeking less dramatic changes.


Deep Plane Facelift:

A deep plane facelift goes deeper than the traditional facelift, targeting the layers beneath the SMAS (superficial musculo-aponeurotic system). This technique allows for more significant lifting and repositioning of facial tissues, leading to more natural-looking results, especially in the midface and neck regions. It is often recommended for patients with more pronounced aging signs who require comprehensive rejuvenation.


Additional Facelift Variations

As well as the procedures we have gone through above, see some further additional facelift surgery variations:


Vampire Facelift:

The Vampire Facelift is a non-surgical cosmetic procedure that combines the use of hyaluronic acid dermal fillers with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) derived from the patient’s own blood. The process involves injecting the PRP into specific areas of the face, stimulating collagen production and cell turnover. This procedure is designed to restore facial volume, improve skin texture, and result in a rejuvenated, natural appearance. It’s particularly favored for its organic approach and minimal downtime.


One Stitch Facelift:

The One Stitch Facelift, as the name suggests, is a minimally invasive procedure that involves a single stitch or suture on each side of the face. It’s designed for those seeking a subtle lift to counter early signs of aging, particularly around the jawline and neck. The procedure typically involves a local anesthetic and is known for its quick recovery time. Although the results are more modest compared to more extensive facelift surgeries, it’s an attractive option for individuals looking for immediate improvements with minimal intervention.


The Facelift Procedure: What to Expect

The journey towards a rejuvenated appearance begins well before the surgery. During the initial consultation, your surgeon will evaluate your facial structure, skin quality, and discuss your aesthetic goals. This conversation ensures that both you and your surgeon are aligned in expectations for the outcome.

On the day of the surgery, the procedure typically involves:



Anaesthesia is administered to ensure comfort and safety during the face lift surgery. Most of our surgical procedures are performed under local anaesthetic, which helps to reduce some of the risks associated with surgery. This means you are free to go home immediately after your treatment, although you will need to be accompanied by a responsible adult for the first 24 hours after your surgery



Strategic incisions are made, usually around the hairline and ears, to minimise visible scarring. The specific pattern of incisions will depend on the areas being targeted and the degree of change you’re looking for. These incisions allow the surgeon to access the underlying facial tissues.


Lifting and Tightening:

Once the incisions are made, the surgeon will proceed to lift and tighten the underlying tissue. This step is crucial in addressing loose skin and reducing the appearance of excess fat. The surgeon carefully reshapes the deeper layers of the face, enhancing the bone structure and contour. During this process, great care is taken to avoid nerve injury, ensuring the facial muscles function properly post-surgery.


Closing Incisions:

After the lifting and tightening are completed, the facial skin is re-draped, and any excess skin is removed. The incisions are then meticulously closed with sutures. This step is crucial for minimising scarring and ensuring a natural-looking result. The incisions are typically closed in a way that follows the natural contours of your face, further enhancing the procedure’s aesthetic outcome.


What Are The Benefits?

1. Youthful Appearance

2. Improved Confidence

3. Long-Lasting Results

4. Reduction In Excess Skin

5. Reduction Of Deep Wrinkles


Recovery and Post-Operative Care

Recovery from a facelift is a critical phase. The initial recovery period typically spans 2 to 4 weeks, during which patients may experience swelling, bruising, and discomfort. Key guidelines for a smooth recovery include:

  • Rest and Elevation: Keep your head elevated, even while sleeping, to reduce swelling.
  • Activity Restrictions: Avoid strenuous activities, saunas, and massages for at least 2 weeks.
  • Wound Care: Follow the surgeon’s instructions for caring for the incision sites, which often involve keeping them clean and dry.
  • Medications: Take prescribed medications, including pain management and possibly antibiotics, as directed by your surgeon.

Most patients can return to work and normal activities within a few weeks, but it may take several months to see the full results of the surgery.


Potential Risks and Complications

Like any surgical procedure, facelift surgery carries certain risks and potential complications. Patients may face risks such as infections, bleeding, or adverse reactions to anaesthesia. Specific to facelifts, there is a possibility of nerve injury, which can affect facial muscle movement or sensation. Scarring, although typically well-hidden, can vary in severity. Asymmetry in facial features and dissatisfaction with the aesthetic outcome are other potential risks. We will discuss these risks in depth to help you make an informed decision and understand the measures to mitigate them.


Alternative Treatments and Complementary Procedures

Facelift surgery is not the only option for facial rejuvenation. There are several non-surgical alternatives and complementary procedures that can enhance or, in some cases, substitute for a facelift:


Non-Surgical Options:

  • CoolSculpting®: A non-invasive treatment targeting fat reduction.
  • Volumetric Facelift & Anti-Wrinkle Injections: Methods for enhancing facial volume and reducing wrinkles without surgery.
  • Dermal Fillers & One Stitch Facelift: Provide facial contouring and lifting effects.
  • Non-Surgical Facelift, Eye Lift, Nose Reshaping, and Chin Augmentation: Techniques that remodel and rejuvenate the face without incisions.
  • Lip Fillers, Wrinkle Fillers, and Cheek Filler Treatment: Target specific areas for volume and wrinkle reduction.
  • PROFOUND RF & CO2RE Laser Skin Resurfacing: Advanced technologies for skin tightening and texture improvement.
  • IPL Photorejuvenation & Vampire Facelift: Procedures for skin revitalisation and anti-aging.


Complementary Procedures:

  • Chin/Neck Microliposuction: Enhances facial contouring by removing excess fat.
  • Sciton Contour TRL, HALO Laser Treatment, and BBL Treatment: Laser therapies for skin resurfacing and rejuvenation.
  • Chemical Peels & Thread Vein Removal: Improve skin texture and tone while treating specific skin issues.
  • Pigmentation Removal & Crow’s Feet Treatment: Targeted treatments for common facial concerns, complementing overall facial rejuvenation.
  • Laser Hair Removal & Excessive Sweating Treatment: Supportive treatments that enhance comfort and aesthetics in conjunction with facial procedures.


Long-term Outcomes and Maintenance

The results of a facelift can significantly rejuvenate your appearance, but it’s important to have realistic expectations about longevity. Typically, a facelift can last about 10 years, but this varies depending on individual factors like skin quality, lifestyle, and genetics. Aging continues, so the effects of the facelift will gradually diminish over time. To maintain the results as long as possible:

  • Skincare Routine: Implement a rigorous skincare regimen that includes sun protection, moisturising, and possibly age-specific treatments recommended by your dermatologist.
  • Healthy Lifestyle: A balanced diet, regular exercise, and avoiding smoking can significantly impact the longevity of facelift results.
  • Follow-up Procedures: Some patients opt for minor touch-up procedures in the years following a facelift to extend its aesthetic benefits.



Facelifts encompass a range of surgical and non-surgical options. Choosing the right procedure for you, whether it’s a full, deep plane, Vampire, or One Stitch Facelift, depends on individual ageing concerns and aesthetic goals. The process involves a detailed consultation, careful planning and understanding of each option. Post-operative care and recovery are crucial for achieving the best results, and maintaining these through a healthy lifestyle and skincare routine is essential. If you’re interested and wish to book a free no obligation consultation, our team of cosmetic surgeons in Glasgow are ready to help you with any questions or concerns relating to facelifts or any other treatments.


Our Doctors


Dr Darren McKeown

Medical Director

Our founder, Dr Darren McKeown, is renowned for his expertise and artistry with dermal fillers. As a peer-reviewed medical author, he is passionate about treatments that stand up to scientific scrutiny. Above all, Dr McKeown believes in a global approach; delivering flawless results – and rejuvenation that lasts.


Dr Russell Bramhall

Consultant Plastic Surgeon

Dr Russell Bramhall is regarded for his facelifts and blepharoplasties, our specialist plastic surgeon strives for an elegant, “invisible” result. His surgeries are complemented by the work of our non-surgical specialists: for a wholly holistic rejuvenation.



Dr Rhona Cameron

Aesthetic Doctor

Dr Rhona Cameron is a skilled injector who has been extensively trained in Dr McKeown’s signature intuitive technique. Her treatments blend advanced facial optimisation with powerful, energy-based devices – such as lasers, BBL and radio frequency – energising the appearance and enhancing skin health. approach; delivering flawless results – and rejuvenation that lasts.



Choose Dr Darren McKeown For Expert Care

Choosing McKeown Medical for a facelift offers a range of expertly tailored treatments designed to rejuvenate and restore a youthful appearance with a focus on natural results. Dr. McKeown’s approach to facelifts is informed by a deep understanding of facial anatomy and the ageing process, ensuring treatments that are both effective and harmonious with each individual’s unique features.


Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s answer some of your frequently asked questions about facelifts.


How Do I Prepare For A Facelift Surgery?

A few weeks leading up to your facelift surgery is a good time to start ensuring your body is as healthy as possible. The best way to do so is to eat healthily, eat balanced, limit your alcohol intake, and drink plenty of water.


What Is The Best Age To Have A Facelift?

Typically, patients in their mid-40s to early 50s are most likely looking to get a facelift. However, the right time depends more on the individual’s skin condition and ageing signs, not just age alone. Consulting with our qualified surgeons can help you determine the ideal timing based on your needs.


How Does A Facelift Look After 10 Years?

Ten years after a facelift, you can still expect to see noticeable improvements in your facial appearance compared to if you hadn’t undergone the surgery. However, it’s important to remember that a facelift doesn’t halt the ageing process. Factors like skin care, lifestyle, and genetics can influence the longevity of results.


What Is The Best Procedure For Face Lifting?

The best facelift procedure depends on individual concerns and desired outcomes. Surgical options like full and deep plane facelifts offer more comprehensive results for pronounced ageing signs. Procedures like the Vampire Facelift or One Stitch Facelift might be suitable for less invasive treatment. Discussing with a surgeon can help identify the most appropriate method for you.

Dr Darren Mckeown

Dr Darren McKeown

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