What is a facelift and why is it often misunderstood?

By April 1, 2018 January 2nd, 2021 All Procedures, Face
Facelift - Middle Aged Woman

Facelift surgery is a very complex area of plastic surgery nowadays. Funnily enough, though we’ve all heard of it, people don’t always understand what it actually is.

I believe that if there is confusion, it is partly due to the influence of the media and the idea of the celebrity ‘facelift.’ It’s also because when we think of facelift surgery, we often think of its early history, which is mostly irrelevant today.

The name ‘facelift’ doesn’t really help, as it doesn’t properly describe a very modern procedure. The medical term for a facelift is a rhytidectomy, which means ‘excision of wrinkles’ and that’s not a very helpful description either. I think we can safely say that a facelift is a lot more than removal of wrinkles.

When most people think of facelifting, they’re really thinking of celebrities who have visible and obvious cosmetic surgery. Many well-known people have had facial surgery. For example, it was clear that both candidates the last US presidential election had had facelifts. But when they hear the word ‘facelift’ most people think of ‘bad’ facelifts, with the focus on obvious surgery, which often makes the person look unnatural or bizarre.

A facelift should be undetectable if it is done well, and the person hasn’t had multiple procedures. People are often afraid that if they have a facelift, they’ll look odd or strange and their surgery will be noticeable to others. In reality, this doesn’t usually happen unless the person wants it to and has either an extreme procedure or multiple procedures over a period of time. If that happens they’ll start to look like someone who has had cosmetic surgery.

The name of the operation facelift is a slang term and not that helpful because it suggests that something is lifted and implies a kind of pulling appearance which creates the expectation that the result won’t look natural.

So what is the purpose of facelift surgery these days?

Basically, it’s designed to make the person who wants it look better, whether it’s making them look like a more youthful version of themselves or altering a feature that they don’t like to make it better.

For example, many people are born without a very nice neck shape and they’ve been unhappy with their profile from an early age. It’s not really an issue of them ageing, it’s just the way they were born. In these cases, a facelift that incorporates a neck lift can alter these features to improve or glamorise them.

Others of course, simply want a face and neck that look more youthful, but not changed. Surgery can achieve this as well.

Thanks for reading!

P.S. If you are thinking about a Facelift, check out my latest post on whether you are a good candidate.

A good Facelift candidate?