For men and women with signs of ageing, a surgical facelift can be undertaken.

A facelift is a surgical procedure used to address more advanced signs of ageing. Also known as a rhytidectomy, this surgery repositions and tightens muscles and the overlying skin structure to achieve a smoother look to the middle and lower face.

This procedure is primarily used to treat significant skin laxity and deep facial creases. Dr Thomas uses a variety of facelift techniques that allow him to customise your surgery to your specific needs and desired outcome. The goal is to achieve a rejuvenated version of yourself.

Candidates for Facelift Surgery

  • Skin sagging in the mid or lower face
  • Hollowing in the midface
  • Facial fat that has migrated from one area to another
  • Loss of definition and formation of jowls along the jawline
  • Wrinkles lining the nose and mouth area

A surgical procedure is usually recommended for patients that have signs of ageing and are looking for long-lasting results from their operation. In some cases, patients may realise non-surgical options like injectable treatments are no longer working as efficiently, and they decide to take their treatment plan to the next level.

Dr Thomas will make a complete assessment of your ageing symptoms and discuss the results you hope to achieve to design a treatment plan tailored to your expectations.

Types of Facelifts

Dr Thomas offers two different types of facelift procedures:

Mini or Short-Scar Facelift

This procedure may be recommended for patients with moderate signs of ageing or for those that have a very specific area of the face they wish to address. Small incisions along the hairline and along the front of the natural ear folds are used to access excess tissue and tighten underlying muscles. Skin is pulled smoothly over the treated area and sutured closed. This procedure can be performed under local or general anaesthesia and requires a recovery period of around one to two weeks.

The advantages of this particular technique are the ability to use local anaesthesia in some cases and reduced downtime and discomfort. In addition, the incisions used for the surgery are typically smaller, which means less scarring afterward. However, the technique does not provide as much correction and may not offer satisfying results for individuals with severe ageing features.


A full or traditional facelift is the preferred choice for patients with more significant signs of ageing or multiple areas of the face they would like to address in a single surgery. Incisions are made along the hairline and around the ears on either side of the head. Dr Thomas will take care to minimise visible scarring as much as possible.

Through the access these incisions provide, Dr Thomas lifts underlying SMAS and muscles while removing excess skin and tissue. Remaining skin is smoothed over the treatment area and meticulously sutured closed. A full facelift is typically performed under general anaesthesia and may require an overnight stay in the hospital. Recovery time usually involves about two to four weeks of rest, light activities and remaining out of the public eye.

A full facelift offers the most noticeable change and longest lasting results in an anti-ageing surgery of the face. However, the surgery involves a greater investment of recovery time, so it is not appropriate for patients who cannot take an extended period of time off to recuperate.

See Before and Afters


Dr Thomas performs facelift procedures at an accredited hospital where you will be cared for by attentive hospital staff. If you have local anaesthesia for your surgery, you will also likely receive sedation, so you are relaxed throughout and you won’t remember the procedure afterward. If general anaesthesia is preferred, you will be comfortably asleep for the entirety of your surgery. An anaesthetist will be present during your procedure to monitor your vital signs and ensure your body is responding well to the medications.

The length of time for the operation varies, depending on how much correction is performed. Most facelifts take anywhere between two and four hours. Dr Thomas will begin by making the incisions and then carefully reposition underlying tissue and muscle to create a natural appearance and prevent the windswept look of facelifts past. He will then remove excess skin to produce a smooth surface to the dermis with a reduction in the appearance of wrinkles.


Undergoing a facelift surgery can be a major decision, and it is important to understand the recovery process in order to ensure the best possible outcome. While each person’s experience may be slightly different, the following is a detailed recovery guide for facelift surgery.

Immediately After Surgery:

Following your facelift surgery, you will be taken to a recovery room where you will be closely monitored. You may experience some discomfort, swelling, and bruising. Pain medications will be administered as necessary to keep you comfortable. You may also have a dressing and a compression garment placed around your head and neck to help reduce swelling and aid in the healing process.

First Few Days After Surgery:

For the first few days following your facelift surgery, it is important to get plenty of rest and avoid any strenuous activity. You should also avoid bending over or lifting anything heavy as this can increase swelling and may cause bleeding. Cold compresses can be used to help reduce swelling and bruising.

First Week After Surgery:

During the first week after surgery, you may experience some discomfort, but this should begin to subside as the days go by. You should continue to rest and avoid any strenuous activity. It is also important to keep your head elevated as much as possible to help reduce swelling.

Two Weeks After Surgery:

At around the two-week mark, you may begin to feel more comfortable and experience less swelling and bruising. However, you should continue to avoid any strenuous activity or heavy lifting, and keep your head elevated as much as possible. It is also important to avoid exposure to the sun or any other type of intense heat.

Three to Four Weeks After Surgery:

By the three to four-week mark, you may begin to resume some of your normal activities, but you should still avoid any strenuous activity or heavy lifting. You may also begin to see some improvement in the appearance of your face, but it can take several months for the full effects of the surgery to become apparent.

Long-Term Recovery:

While the majority of the healing and recovery process will take place within the first few weeks after surgery, it is important to continue to follow your surgeon’s instructions and take good care of yourself in the long term. This may include avoiding excessive sun exposure, maintaining a healthy diet, staying hydrated, and getting regular exercise.

Potential Facelift Risks

Deciding to undergo plastic surgery is a personal decision, requiring consideration of the potential benefits and risks associated with facelift surgery. Ultimately, it is up to you to make the choice that is best for you.

Prior to the surgery, you will be asked to sign consent forms indicating your full understanding of the procedure and its associated risks and complications.

  • Anaesthesia risks
  • Bleeding
  • Cardiac and pulmonary complications
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Facial nerve injury with weakness
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Infection
  • Numbness or other changes in skin sensation
  • Persistent pain
  • Poor wound healing and skin loss
  • Prolonged swelling
  • Skin irregularities and discoloration
  • Sutures may spontaneously surface through the skin, become visible or produce irritation that require removal
  • Temporary or permanent hair loss at the incisions
  • Unfavourable scarring

Facelift Results

You can expect to enjoy the final results of your facelift after about three months have passed from your surgery. Most patients will enjoy the results of their facelift for years, but the ageing process will continue and your results are expected to change over time.

To ensure that the results of your facelift surgery last as long as possible, follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions carefully and attend follow-up appointments as directed. Additionally, a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise and avoiding smoking can help you maintain the results of your facelift  surgery over time. 

A Note on Results

The results of any medical treatment, aesthetic or otherwise, will affect patients differently based on various individual, genetic, environmental, diet, exercise and other factors. For that reason, you should always expect to see some variance between the results featured and the results you can achieve. What works for one person may not work for another, and each patient’s unique needs and expectations must be considered when determining the best course of action.

Therefore, it is essential to have a thorough consultation with a qualified and experienced medical professional who can help to determine the most appropriate treatment plan based on your specific circumstances. It is also important to understand that facelift surgery is not a quick fix and requires patience and commitment to achieve the desired results.

If you would like to learn more about your options in facelifts or determine whether this surgery is the right choice for you, contact Dr Thomas at the Melbourne Institute of Plastic Surgery on 03 9034 7738.