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Lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin often become more noticeable over time. Although anti-ageing treatments can help, there is only so much that topical treatments can achieve before a person may decide to seek surgery. So, at what point should you start thinking about facelift surgery?

Contemplating facial rejuvenation surgery is a big decision. There are many factors to consider when deciding the timing of your facelift, such as your skin condition, age, and goals. We will explore the various things you should think about before seeking facelift surgery in order to get the best results.

Factors to consider

1. Age

Generally, the older you are, the more advanced your signs of ageing will be. This means older people are able to get more dramatic results from surgery, and more than one procedure may be required to achieve the harmonious and natural result that you are hoping for.

You’ll also need to consider how damaged your skin is from the sun, as well as other factors, such as smoking, and diabetes. These factors can influence how well your tissues respond to surgery and the longevity of the results.

2. Expectations

Discussing your desired results with your surgeon at your first consultation is important. The surgeon needs to understand your goals and then provide recommendations on how to best achieve this. Read our “It’s what you need, not what you want” blog here.

3. Reasons

What are you having done? Rejuvenation may not just be a facelift but may include other procedures, such as:

  • Brow lift
  • Neck lift
  • Upper and lower eyelid blepharoplasty surgery
  • Lip lift
  • Autologous fat grafting
  • Rhinoplasty
  • Chemical peel or laser skin resurfacing

Occasionally, it may be combined with other body procedures, such as a breast augmentation or abdominoplasty (tummy tuck). Combining procedures will generally mean a longer recovery time.

4. Recovery time

What is the recovery period? Generally, you will experience 1-2 weeks of discomfort, and it’s most common for patients to take 2-3 weeks off work. You will need to refrain from light walks for 1 week and strenuous exercise (e.g. gym) for 6-8 weeks. These timeframes may vary slightly for each patient and will be discussed as your surgeon reviews your progress at your post-operative appointments.

Also, the details of your surgical plan can affect your recovery times. For example, you may have the option to get your surgery done all at once or stage your procedures. The choice depends on your circumstance. Ageing always continues, so staging the procedure to help with recovery or finances may be helpful. On the other hand, some prefer to have a combination of procedures performed in one surgery, to avoid doubling up on any hospital costs and recovery times.

5. Home support

Ask yourself: What support do I have? Do I have support at home to keep the domestic operations and family running? Work, driving, organising school drop-offs and pick-ups, meals, shopping, and cleaning all need to be considered.

6. Costs

Do I have the finances? You’ll need to consider whether you can cover the costs of the fees, including surgical, hospital, anaesthetic, and any allied health costs. It’s best to have a small ‘buffer’ for any unexpected costs.

7. Risks

Every surgery comes with risks, including the risk of further surgery if the initial results are unsatisfying or to correct complications. If you need some revisional or adjustment surgery, ask yourself if you have the means to support yourself with this extra downtime.

8. Circumstances

Think about what is going on in your life. Trips away, work deadlines, weddings, work functions, and social engagements can all affect the timing of your surgery. It’s important to take recovery time into account and not schedule surgery too closely before an important event (e.g. a wedding or birthday).

9. Seasonal temperatures

Some procedures require you to wear post-operative supportive garments to help contour the body region as the swelling settles. These may be less comfortable in hot temperatures.

We recommend a neck support garment for four weeks after a facelift, or a headband after prominent ear correction for 6 weeks, full-time. Fat is often harvested from the abdomen or inner thighs and used in face or breast fat grafting. A support garment in the harvest areas may be required after such procedures. Generally, wearing such garments is more comfortable in the cooler months, unless air-conditioned facilities are available.

10. Surgeon availability

Surgeons are usually booked out for several months at a time, so plan around your surgery date and ensure your schedule allows for your recovery. You should consider which hospitals they operate at, and whether they perform certain procedures at specific hospitals.

11. Fitness for surgery

Certain health and lifestyle factors can affect whether you are fit for surgery. For example, consider whether you need to lose weight or control any medical conditions (e.g. high blood pressure) before going ahead.

Personal circumstances

The timing of your surgery is an important factor in your operative journey. You should take multiple factors into account, including your personal circumstances, family, work, anticipated recovery time, finances and surgeon availability.

Liaise closely with the surgeon’s PA (personal assistant) to work through these factors and find the best time for you. Planning well in advance will help reduce your stress and help aid your recovery.

Your facelift consultation with Dr Jeremy Richardson

When choosing your surgeon, it is important to consider their qualifications and experience so that you can be confident you are getting the best possible care. Specialist plastic surgeons such as Dr Richardson are able to draw on years of experience and training to provide quality advice and support throughout your surgical journey.

Book your private consultation or contact us for more information about facelift surgery.