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These common signs of ageing may cause people to appear sad, angry, tired, or older than they feel, leading many to seek surgical solutions to restore a youthful and refreshed appearance.

A facelift, known as a meloplasty or rhytidectomy, removes loose or excess skin from the mid and lower face, and tightens the underlying tissues. It treats the cheeks, jowls and jawline, and commonly is combined with other facial rejuvenation procedures to give a harmonious and balanced facial appearance.

Over the years, surgical innovation has led to the development of new techniques. One of these is the gold-standard high SMAS facelift technique. Unlike earlier methods, this specialised procedure addresses not only the lower face, but also the skin and soft tissues above the cheekbones and mid-face, to create a more refined and rejuvenated appearance. Dr Richardson is trained and specialises in this advanced-facial surgery technique and tailors each facelift procedure to his patient in order to achieve natural and lasting results.

What is High SMAS Surgery?

High SMAS surgery is a facelift technique that focuses not only on repositioning the soft tissues of the lower face, but also the mid-face, to achieve a lifted and rejuvenated appearance. The SMAS (Superficial Muscular Aponeurotic System) refers to the fibro-muscular network that extend throughout the face and neck, beneath the overlying fat and skin. Modern facelift techniques work on, release, and reposition this SMAS layer which is largely responsible for supporting the structures of the face and neck.

A high SMAS facelift focuses on mobilising the SMAS from further up near the cheek bones to tightening loose skin of the mid- and lower face, reposition sagging fat and removing excess skin to sculpt a firmer, fresher, and natural appearance. The surgery can address:

  • Hollow cheeks
  • Sagging in the mid-face
  • Nasolabial folds
  • Jowls
  • Loose skin and fat along the jawline and chin

What to Expect During Your High SMAS Facelift Consultation

Before your procedure, Dr Richardson will discuss what you hope to achieve from your high SMAS facelift. He will ask you about your current health and medical history in order to ensure that you are a good candidate for the procedure. You will also discuss the extent of your skin laxity and which areas of your face you are most concerned about. This will allow us to develop a tailored surgical treatment plan for you that addresses those areas and creates the desired results.

Dr Richardson may recommend additional procedures, to help you attain your goals and achieve a harmonious outcome, including: skin resurfacing, facial fat grafting , a brow-lift, blepharoplasty eyelid surgery , or a neck-lift procedure.

After your consultation, you should have a clear idea of what to expect from your high SMAS facelift, including the aftercare process.

The Procedure

On the day of your surgery, your High SMAS facelift will be performed under general anaesthesia in an accredited hospital with an overnight stay. Dr Richardson will carefully make incisions at the sides of the face, beginning at the temples and moving downwards behind the ears. The skin is then lifted, and the SMAS mobilised and carefully secured to a more youthful position on the face, with the excess skin removed. During this process, he redistributes the fat to improve your facial contours and achieve the desired lift. Care is taken to hide scars within your natural skin creases and behind the hairline to be virtually unnoticeable after they heal.

The procedure combines cheek lifting, neck rejuvenation, and eyelid lift techniques in order to create natural and lasting results. The duration takes several hours and can depend on the extent of your skin laxity as well as the specific techniques employed during surgery.

Other surgical procedures, including liposuction and facial fat grafting, or non-surgical treatments with LED (Healite), ultrasound or radiofrequency (RF) therapy may be recommended to improve facial appearance and contour during your procedure or to aid your recovery.

Cost of High SMAS Facelift Surgery

The fees for your high SMAS facelift can depend on several factors. When calculating the overall fees, we must consider the anaesthetist fees, hospital fees and other related costs such as medications. As well as this, the extent of your surgery can have an impact on your fees. We will discuss these during your consultation in order to ensure you are fully informed and prepared. Due to the personalised nature of aesthetic cosmetic surgery, we can answer any questions you may have during your private discussion.

Occasionally, you may be eligible for an MBS (Medicare Benefits Schedule) Item number for your procedure. If so, Medicare and private health insurance may cover a portion of your total fee. Our team will advise and guide you.

Your Personal Consultation

Request a Consultation

Your personal consultation is the first step to finding the right procedure for you. Dr Richardson is a highly skilled Specialist Plastic Surgeon, dedicated to providing quality results and a positive patient experience.

Book your appointment to
  • Discuss your physical concerns and goals
  • Receive an outline of your surgical options
  • Get quality advice from a trained Specialist Plastic Surgeon
  • Receive a customised treatment plan
  • Meet Dr Richardson’s Patient Coordinator and team, who will support you throughout your journey


Immediately after surgery, Dr Richardson will dress and bandage your incisions and may apply tubes to drain excess fluid from the neck. It is normal to feel some discomfort, and you will be given prescription medications to help you settle and recover after your procedure. Most patients return home after one night in hospital and it is important that you organise a family member or trusted friend to drive you home. Your support person will also need to stay with you for at least the first 48 hours after your arrival at home to help you with day-to-day tasks until you can safely return to your normal tasks.

Aftercare is an important aspect of surgery. Prior to your discharge, you will be given specific instructions to help you take appropriate care of your incisions and promote a smooth recovery. It is also a good idea to:

  • Get plenty of rest, with your head elevated
  • Not flexing your neck forward
  • Take prescribed pain medication
  • Avoid spending time in the sun
  • Wear your compression garment
  • Maintain a healthy diet and stay hydrated
  • Avoid smoking and alcoholic drinks
  • Contact us if any issues arise or if you have any concerns
  • Sleep on your back so as not to put pressure on your incisions

After a facelift, a period of psychological adjustment is not uncommon as you settle into your improved and new appearance. Please be mindful of this as you progress through your recovery.

As a guide, most patients can expect the following recovery after High SMAS facelift surgery:

  • Initial discomfort: 1-2 weeks
  • Return to activity: 1 week
  • Return to work: 2-3 weeks
  • Post-op compression garments: 4 weeks
  • Return to travel: 6 weeks
  • Return to social functions: 6-8 weeks
  • Return to exercise: gentle walk after 1 week, gym from 6-8 weeks
  • Return to driving: 2-3* weeks. *Patients must be fully alert, no longer taking any sedating medications, and be able to move freely without restriction

Dr Richardson and his team will guide and advise you further according to your procedures and specific circumstances.

Following your face lift, it is important to maintain the results you have achieved. We recommend not smoking, living a healthy lifestyle and, as well as regular sun protection with a high-SPF and skin care. For optimal results, regular muscle-relaxing injections, HA fillers and chemical peels may be recommended.

Risks and Complications

Following High SMAS facelift surgery, you can experience some mild swelling, bruising, and tightness of your skin. This is common following such procedures and nothing to be concerned about. It will subside over the course of your healing process.

More significant complications are rare, and following your aftercare instructions will help you have a smooth recovery and minimise these from occuring. Complications after high SMAS Facelift procedures include:

  • Persistent pain and swelling
  • Bleeding
  • Reactions to anaesthesia
  • Infection and fluid collection
  • Poor or slow healing
  • Minor facial asymmetry
  • Skin discolouration
  • Nerve weakness or numbness
  • Further adjustment procedures

If you have any concerns or queries, please be sure to promptly contact us.

High SMAS Facelift FAQ

Am I a good candidate for a high SMAS Facelift?

Will I have scars afterwards?

When can I resume my normal activities?

When will I see results?

What do I need to know when preparing for surgery?