Rhytidectomy (Facelift Surgery) - Recovery, Risks & Results

Facelift Surgery

Treatment Duration


3 Hours

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6 Hours

Treatment Cost



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Facelift Surgery

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Are you considering cosmetic procedures? You're not alone! According to a study by Sangeeta Thakurani and Samarth Gupta,  India ranks fifth globally for aesthetic treatments. Facelift surgery is one such procedure that makes your face look younger.

Ageing, a natural process, can be aggravated by the weakening of tissues and loss of skin elasticity and fat, resulting in wrinkles and a sagging face. Rhytidectomy can address it by tightening underlying tissues and removing excess fat.  Keep reading to learn more about it, its results, and its recovery.

Procedure Name


Alternative Name

Facelift surgery or meloplasty 

Conditions Treated

Sagging skin on the face and other facial ageing signs

Benefits of the Procedure

Youthful appearance, self-esteem boost

Performed  By

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon

You can check Facelift Surgery Cost here.

What is a facelift (rhytidectomy)?

Facelift surgery is used to tighten underlying muscles, remove extra fat, and smooth loose skin on the face and neck. This can reduce wrinkles and skin sagging, thus giving patients a more youthful appearance.

It's essential to understand its limitations. It won't entirely reshape your face, halt ageing, or address concerns like fine lines, sun damage, or uneven skin tone. Each facelift is tailored for your unique facial structure and desired results.

Types of Facelift Surgery  

Understanding the different facelift procedures is crucial before opting for the same. It will also help to choose the procedure that best addresses individual needs and desired outcomes.

Different facelift procedures are as follows:

  1. Traditional Facelift: This procedure addresses moderate to significant ageing concerns and helps with muscle tightening, fat removal, and skin smoothing.

  2. SMAS Lift (SMAS Rhytidectomy): It targets the lower two-thirds of the face, focusing on removing excess skin and fat in the cheeks and lower face. 

  3. Deep Plane Facelift: Involves lifting of the muscular layer, Superficial Musculoaponeurotic System (SMAS), fat, and skin as a single unit. It addresses broader areas of concern simultaneously.

  4. Mid-Facelift: Focuses solely on the cheek area, repositioning fat and tightening skin for a more youthful appearance.

  5. Mini-Facelift: A quicker and less invasive option, ideal for younger people with early signs of sagging.

  6. Cutaneous (Skin) Lift: This minimally invasive approach focuses on tightening the neck and lower facial skin.

  7. Combination Procedures: Often, facelifts are combined with other cosmetic procedures to achieve a complete revival:

  1. Eyelid Lift (Blepharoplasty): Refreshes the eye area.
  2. Rhinoplasty (Nose Job): Reshapes the nose.
  3. Facial Implants: Adds volume to specific areas.
  4. Brow Lift: Lifts and rejuvenates the brow area.
  5. Liquid Facelift: Uses injectable fillers for non-surgical rejuvenation.
  6. Jawline Rejuvenation: Improves jawline definition.
  7. Chemical Peel or Laser Skin Resurfacing: Improves skin texture and tone.

Who is eligible for a facelift?

Rhytidectomy, or facelift, can rejuvenate an individual’s look, but it's not for everyone. Here's a list of people who might opt for facelift surgery.

  1. Minimum Age of 18.

  2. Absence of conditions like diabetes, heart problems, or poor immune systems. 

  3. Noticeable drooping skin on their face and/or neck.

Benefits of Facelift Surgery 

Facelift surgery offers the potential for long-lasting aesthetic improvements, typically lasting 5 to 10 years. It gives a confidence boost due to feeling better about one's appearance. However, it's important to remember that these are cosmetic benefits, and facelift surgery doesn't provide any major medical advantages.

Before and On the Day of the FaceLift

A facelift requires specific steps of preparation before and on the day of surgery. The below section shall discuss what to expect in the days leading up to and on the day of the surgery. 

Before the Face Lifting Treatment 

To optimise recovery, one needs to adhere to any specific instructions the doctor gives before the surgery. Pre-surgery measures are key for a smooth facelift experience. This includes:



Pre-op Assessments 

1. Medications

2. Blood tests

3. Skincare

Risk Evaluation 

1. Allergies 

2. Benefits vs risks 


Smoking and blood-thinning medications

Anaesthesia Selection 

General anaesthesia or lightly sedated with IV sedation

Fasting Period

6-8 hours 

On the Day of Facelift Surgery 

A little preparation goes a long way. The final steps to take just before the facelift surgery to ensure a successful procedure are:





Surgical Preparation

Remove all jewellery and change into a hospital gown

Physical Evaluation

Vitals checkup (blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, etc.)

IV Line

Yes, for medicines and fluids 

Facelift Surgery Procedure

The best facelift approach depends on the individual's specific needs, as determined during the preliminary consultation. The surgery usually takes 3 to 6 hours and involves the following steps: 

  1. Anaesthesia: The patient will be asleep under general anaesthesia or lightly sedated with IV sedation as prescribed by the doctor. 

  2. Rhytidectomy Incisions: The surgeon will cut specific areas based on the facelift type. These areas could include the temples, hairline, around the ears, lower scalp, chin, or mouth.

  3. Face Lift: Facelift surgery involves adjustments to facial skin, fat, and muscles, including repositioning, removal, or tightening, to achieve the desired outcome.

  4. Closing the Incisions: Once complete, the surgeon will close the cuts using dissolvable/regular stitches or skin glue.

After Facelift Surgery and Recovery 

The first month after a facelift is all about healing. In this section, we have covered the hospital and week-by-week recovery process for the first 30 days.

In-Hospital Recovery 

Facelift surgery is a big decision. Understanding the initial stages of recovery is crucial. Here's what to anticipate in the early stages. 

  1. The patient will be monitored in a recovery room until deemed stable for discharge.

  2. The face may be bandaged to minimise swelling and bruising, and drainage tubes will be placed to remove excess fluids.

  3. Patients likely experience some pain, swelling, bruising, and numbness. 

At Home Recovery 

Post-surgical care is crucial to prevent infection. Keep the incisions clean and strictly follow the doctor's instructions.

  1. Pain medication will be prescribed to manage discomfort, typically needed for 1-2 weeks.

  2. Expect swelling and bruising to peak around the third day, gradually subsiding over the next two weeks.

  3. Temporary numbness and tightness around the surgical site are common and will improve as the patient heals.

  4. They will feel progressively better with increased mobility as the weeks progress. Most social activities can be resumed within 4-6 weeks.

  5. Significant improvements in facial contours become more noticeable by week four, with most surgical signs fading entirely within 1-2 months.

Note: This is a general guideline. Always follow the doctor's specific instructions for optimal healing after a facelift.

Follow-up Appointments after Facelift Surgery 

Expect follow-up appointments over the next two months to monitor. The doctor will also address any issues or concerns one might have:

  1. Day 1: The surgeon will likely remove drainage tubes, clean the incisions, and apply new bandages.

  2. 2-3 Days: The individual might transition from bandages to a supportive facial sling.

  3. 1 Week: Stitch removal and wound evaluation will be done.

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Risks and Complications of Facelift

The facelift procedure is generally safe, but some things can go wrong. The possible complications are as follows:

  1. One could injure a nerve that controls the facial muscles. This might cause weakness, numbness, or tingling in the face, which could be temporary or permanent.

  2. Rare but potential risk of infection or reaction to the anaesthesia.

  3. Blood pooling, called hematomas, can happen, but doctors can usually remove them.

  4. Scars from facelift surgery may not heal and could be noticeable. In some cases, it is eliminated with additional treatment. 

When to call a doctor after a facelift?

After a rhytidectomy, it's natural to experience some swelling, bruising, and discomfort. But it is important something that requires a doctor's attention? One should call the doctor right away if experiencing:

  1. Heavy bleeding

  2. Excessive swelling

  3. Severe pain

  4. Fever

  5. Pus drainage from the incision

Costs of Facelift

The facelift surgery cost in India can vary widely depending on several factors. Generally, it starts at ₹ 12,000 and can go up to ₹ 50,000. The average price of the procedure is ₹35,000. 

Procedure Name

Estimated Cost Range

Facelift (rhytidectomy)

₹ 12,000  to ₹ 50,000

Note: These cosmetic surgery costs are approximate. Talk to HexaHealth consultants for an updated price. 

Factors that can affect the expenses of the procedure include: 

  1. Consultation Fee: This includes the initial meeting with the surgeon to discuss expectations and procedural details.

  2. Type of Surgery: The complexity of the facelift procedure itself plays a major role. A mini facelift addressing smaller areas will cost less than a full facelift with more extensive work.

  3. Admission Fee: Hospitals typically charge a separate fee for admission and use of their facilities on the day of surgery.

  4. Type of Hospital: Surgery in a high-end, well-equipped hospital will likely cost more than in a surgery centre with a lower overhead.

  5. Type of Room Chosen: Opting for a private room for post-surgical recovery will be more expensive than a shared room.

  6. Location or City: Surgeons and hospitals in areas with a higher cost of living might charge more.


A facelift is a cosmetic procedure that can enhance your appearance but has some associated risks. It can be an option for those seeking a more youthful look. However, one must know that the ageing process won't stop entirely, even after a facelift.

Considering rhytidectomy is a major decision and should be approached cautiously. HexaHealth connects you with reputed board-certified plastic surgeons. We simplify the process, from the initial consultation to recovery. Contact HexaHealth today for a free consultation.

Suggested Reads

Face Serum Benefits
How to Remove Moles from Face
How to Get Rid of Pigmentation on Face
Rhinoplasty (Nose Job)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

A facelift, also called a rhytidectomy, is surgery to make the face and neck look younger. This procedure generally involves tightening loose skin, smoothing wrinkles, and removing excess fat.


Facelifts typically take 3 to 6 hours to complete. However, this duration can increase if combined with other cosmetic procedures during the same surgery.


Rhytidectomy works by tightening underlying tissues and removing excess skin. This creates a more youthful and rejuvenated appearance. There are several facelift techniques, each targeting different areas of the face and neck:

  1. A traditional facelift

  2. SMAS facelift 

  3. The deep plane lifts

  4. Mid-facelift 

  5. Mini-facelift 

  6. Cutaneous facelift 


Facelift surgery costs in India typically range from ₹12,000 to ₹50,000. The average cost is around ₹35,000. Contact HexaHealth experts for accurate expenses.


Facelifts are typically considered cosmetic procedures and are not covered by insurance. One will likely be responsible for the full cost of surgery. Contact HexaHealth experts for any guidance.


Recovery time after a facelift may vary for individuals. Most people can resume light activities after two weeks and more strenuous activities after four weeks. The doctor will provide a personalised recovery timeline based on the specific procedure.


Facelift results can last for around 5 to 10 years but in some cases additional procedures may be required. Discuss realistic expectations with the doctor beforehand.  


Facelift recovery focuses on minimising swelling and discomfort. Expect them to peak in 2-3 weeks and gradually subside. One will feel better within days after surgery, with bandage removal and checkups in the following weeks.


Non-surgical facelifts offer an alternative way to address wrinkles and sagging skin. These procedures use techniques like injections. Some examples include vampire facelifts, liquid facelifts, and thread lifts.


Both procedures are used to restore a youthful appearance. However, facelifts and neck lifts address distinct areas of the face and neck:

  1. Facelift: This surgery focuses on the lower two-thirds of the face, including cheeks, jawline, and chin. 

  2. Neck Lift: It targets loose skin, muscle, and fat, specifically under the chin, along the jawline, and down the neck.


Facelifts tackle deep wrinkles and lines by tackling loose facial muscles and excess skin. It lifts muscles, removes sagging skin, and smooths repositioned skin for a younger look.


Ideally, one must get a facelift between their 40s and 60s. This age is when patients tend to have noticeable signs of ageing. They also retain enough skin elasticity for successful results.


Yes, optimising health before and after a facelift can significantly improve recovery and long-term results. Given below are some lifestyle changes that can be beneficial before and after a facelift. 

Before the facelift: Quit smoking beforehand for better healing. Discuss all medications with the surgeon to avoid complications.

After the facelift: Give the body ample time to heal and recover properly. Protect skin with sunscreen.


Choose a board-certified cosmetic surgeon who operates in an accredited surgical facility. This ensures that the surgeon has the qualifications and the facility meets safety standards. Contact HexaHealth experts to connect with an ideal surgeon based on individual unique needs.


A successful facelift journey starts well before surgery day. Here are some key recommendations to ensure one is fully prepared for the surgery.

  1. The doctor will likely request blood tests and a checkup before surgery.

  2. They might ask to adjust medications or stop smoking to reduce bleeding risks.

  3. One might need to use specific skincare products before the procedure.


Every cosmetic procedure has certain potential risks, and facelift surgery is no exception.  It's crucial to understand the risks involved. These include:

  1. Haematoma

  2. Scarring

  3. Nerve injury

  4. Hair loss

  5. Skin loss


Yes, a facelift is a serious surgery. It is a complex procedure that involves making incisions in the face and neck, lifting and tightening the underlying tissues, and then redraping the skin.


While a facelift can provide a younger appearance, it's not a permanent solution. The effects gradually diminish over time as the ageing process continues. On average, facelift results can last around ten years.


Like other major surgeries, facelifts come with potential risks, such as bleeding, infection, and anaesthesia reactions. Certain health problems and lifestyle choices can further increase these risks and make the outcome less desirable.


One might feel some soreness or discomfort after the facelift, but it shouldn't be too severe. Call the doctor immediately if experiencing extreme one-sided face or neck pain.



All the articles on HexaHealth are supported by verified medically-recognized sources such as; peer-reviewed academic research papers, research institutions, and medical journals. Our medical reviewers also check references of the articles to prioritize accuracy and relevance. Refer to our detailed editorial policy for more information.

  1. Yang AJ, Hohman MH. Rhytidectomy [Internet]. PubMed. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021. link
  2. Facelift [Internet]. www.hopkinsmedicine.org. 2021. link
  3. Thakurani S, Gupta S. Evolution of aesthetic surgery in India, current practice scenario, and anticipated post-COVID-19 changes: a survey-based analysis. European Journal of Plastic Surgery. 2020 Aug 28;link
  4. Medanta | Treatment - Rhytidectomy: Face Lift Surgery Cost, Treatment Procedure, Benefits & Risks [Internet]. www.medanta.org. [cited 2024 May 4]. link
  5. Facelift (Rhytidectomy): What Is It, Recovery & What to Expect [Internet]. Cleveland Clinic. 2021. link
  6. Considering a Facelift? Get the Facts Before You Go [Internet]. Healthline. 2018 [cited 2024 May 4].link
  7. Face-lift - Mayo Clinic [Internet]. Mayoclinic.org. 2018. link
  8. Robert Improta M | C, Tuesday D 4. Your facelift recovery explained from Day 1 to Day 30 [Internet]. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. link
  9. Surgery GHC. What Is the Difference Between a Facelift and a Neck Lift? [Internet]. Graper Harper Cosmetic Surgery. 2018 [cited 2024 May 6].link
  10. Can a Facelift Address Deep Wrinkles and Lines on the Face? [Internet]. www.changesplasticsurgery.com. [cited 2024 May 6]. link
  11. Before And Day Of Surgery [Internet]. Hedgewood Plastic Surgery. 2018 [cited 2024 May 6].link
  12. The Truth About Facelifts | West County Plastic Surgeons Blog [Internet]. Blog: West County Plastic Surgeons. [cited 2024 May 6].link
  13. A Complete Guide to Facelift [Internet]. Healthgrades. 2014 [cited 2024 May 6]. link
Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational and learning purposes only. It doesn't cover every medical condition and might not be relevant to your personal situation. This information isn't medical advice, isn't meant for diagnosing any condition, and shouldn't replace talking to a certified medical or healthcare professional.


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Dr. Priyanka Sharma

MBBS, DNB Plastic Surgery

14 Years Experience

Dr Priyanka Sharma is a well-known Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeon associated with HealthPort Clinic in Delhi. She has 14 years of experience in Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic surgery and worked as an expert Plastic,...View More


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