Symptoms of ageing may form on the face much sooner than other areas of the body, due to the constant exposure the skin in this area has to the sun and other elements. Since it also tends to be the most visible feature, changes over time can significantly affect your appearance as well as your self-confidence. Skin laxity and the formation of fine lines and even deeper facial creases can be problematic, but the good news is they are also treatable. For men and women with significant signs of ageing, a surgical facelift might be the best solution.

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, more youthful look to the middle and lower face. This procedure is primarily used to treat significant skin laxity and deep facial creases that can make us look older than we feel. Dr Thomas uses a variety of facelift techniques that allow him to customise your surgery to your specific needs and desired outcome. You will end up with the result that looks distinctly you, only younger and more refreshed.

Candidates for Facelift Surgery

A surgical facelift might be a good choice for you if you would like to address any of the following concerns:

  • Skin sagging in the mid or lower face
  • Hollowing in the midface that contributes to an aged, weary appearance
  • 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 significant signs of ageing and are looking for dramatic, 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. A facelift can be performed alone or in combination with other procedures like a brow lift, eyelid surgery or a neck lift to further enhance results. Dr Thomas will make a complete assessment of your ageing symptoms and discuss the results you hope to achieve to ensure your expectations are met as closely as possible.

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 a faster, more comfortable recovery process. 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 symptoms.


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 ensure any visible scarring after surgery will be minimal.

Through the access these incisions provide, Dr Thomas lifts underlying 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 in an anti-ageing surgery of the face. The procedure can shave off as many as 10 years or more from your appearance and the results will last up to a decade. 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

About the Procedure

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 dramatic reduction in the appearance of wrinkles.

What to Expect after Your Facelift

After a facelift, you can expect to have some bruising, swelling and a moderate amount of discomfort. Ice packs and oral medication will help manage those side effects for the first few days. Dr Thomas will also advise you to sleep with your head elevated for the first week or two to further minimise swelling. You will likely want to spend two to three weeks at home to ensure the bruising and other effects can be safely hidden by makeup. Swelling may take a few extra weeks to subside completely, although you should feel comfortable enough to go out in public after the initial healing period is over.

Within a couple of weeks, you will begin to see the positive results of your surgery. Your skin will look smoother and firmer, and there will be a dramatic reduction in wrinkles.  The definition will be improved around the jawline and cheekbones, and your midface should look fuller and more youthful. The outcome of your facelift will provide many years of enhancement. Eventually, gravity and age will cause the ageing symptoms to return, possibly necessitating another procedure in the future to maintain your youthful look.

Facelifts are an effective, long-lasting way to turn back the clock on your appearance and create a more aesthetically pleasing facial profile. While there is an investment of recovery time after the procedure, most patients find the benefits to be well worth that investment. Dr Thomas is an experienced plastic surgeon who will ensure your outcome will be natural, beautiful and tailored to your specifications. 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.