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Quick Facts About Facelift Procedures

  • Sedation: General anaesthesia
  • Inpatient/Outpatient: Usually inpatient
  • Potential Benefits: A more youthful, vibrant appearance in the lower third of the face; significant reduction of age-related aesthetic concerns
  • Procedure Length: Approximately 4 hours
  • Cost: Generally between £19,000 and £25,000


As the skin, connective tissue, and musculature of the face ages, the appearance of the lower third of the face can change dramatically. For men and women experiencing significant ageing in this region, facelift surgery is often the most suitable procedure to restore a more vibrant and youthful appearance. A facelift is a customised plastic surgery procedure typically well-suited for addressing skin laxity, jowls, and deep creasing throughout the lower face. The aim of a facelift is to restore youthful shape and balance to an ageing face. In order to avoid unnatural-looking results, it is important to go beyond simply removing excess skin, which is why London Consultant Plastic Surgeon William Townley, MD uses techniques that help rejuvenate the face by rebalancing facial volume and elevating drooping areas of tissue. Facelift surgery is frequently performed in combination with additional facial plastic surgery procedures, such as a neck lift or facial fat transfers, to achieve results that look natural and refreshed.

What Is a Deep Plane Facelift?

The innovative “deep plane” facelift is so named because it targets the superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS), a prominent network of fibrous connective tissue located between the skin and underlying muscle. The deep plane method dramatically alters the facial anatomy by simultaneously targeting the SMAS and outward layer of skin.

This method differs substantially from a traditional facelift and can offer several advantages. In particular, the meticulous and controlled manner of the deep plane technique generally does not involve the same extent of skin stretching and pulling as does the traditional method. Rather, it gives the surgeon the opportunity to more directly target the SMAS, often making for subtler, longer-lasting, and more natural-looking results. In addition, not only can the procedure reshape the cheeks, jowls, and jawline to look more youthful and refreshed, but because the SMAS connects to the neck, a deep plane facelift can also significantly tighten and contour loose or hanging neck skin.

A deep plane facelift approach can be performed using a short scar technique – it works very well, especially for patients who are in their 40s with mild jowling and looking for a more subtle change that will also delay the process of gravity-induced ageing changes to the face. It also works well with a conventional full facelift incision technique.

While the deep plane facelift is Mr Townley’s preferred technique, every patient is assessed on an individual basis and treatment is tailored to their needs, and not everyone is a candidate for this approach to facelift surgery. Mr Townley can determine your eligibility for the deep plane method after evaluating your unique anatomy and aesthetic goals.

What Is a Short Scar Facelift?

The short scar, or “mini” facelift is another advanced facial rejuvenation technique with which Mr Townley is extensively experienced. Whereas incisions made during a traditional facelift are typically placed within or surrounding the hairline, those of a short scar facelift are considerably smaller and are often placed around the earlobes. This method, which can also be applied to a neck lift procedure, is considered an abridged alternative to the traditional facelift, and generally warrants a less invasive surgery and recovery process. As such, it is usually best suited for individuals with mild to moderate aesthetic concerns (e.g., skin laxity, wrinkles, or excess fat) in the lower third of the face.

What Are the Benefits of Facelift Surgery?

Mr Townley has acquired knowledge of several advanced facelift strategies throughout his career with the intention of personalising every surgery to meet the unique needs of each patient. Utilising these methods, he can achieve the following:

  • Significant reduction of wrinkles, lines, and folds, as well as facial and neck fat
  • Correction of sagging or drooping cheeks or jowls
  • Restored volume in the face
  • A smoother, more balanced, and more aesthetically-pleasing profile
  • Long-lasting, natural-looking results

Please note that facelift surgery was designed to target the lower third of the face and upper neck. If your cosmetic concerns are more localised to the upper part of the face, Mr Townley may recommend an alternative or additional procedure.

Who Is a Candidate for Facelift?

Mr Townley often deems patients with moderate to severe skin laxity in the mid-to-lower facial area candidates for a deep plane facelift. Those with less pronounced skin laxity may still be suited for facelift surgery, but in such cases, Mr Townley may opt to perform the traditional technique.

Otherwise, the ideal facelift candidate will be in relatively good health, be a non-smoker (or be willing to quit before undergoing surgery) and have realistic expectations about the procedure. Mr Townley will determine your candidacy after an initial consultation.


What Happens During Facelift Surgery?

Facelift surgery is typically performed under general anaesthesia and can take up to four hours to complete. In some situations, where a less invasive approach is used (e.g. mini facelift), the procedure may be performed as a daycase under local anaesthetic with or without sedation. During the procedure, Mr Townley smooths loose skin, repositions the deep connective tissue in a more elevated position, and trims away any excess. If facial contours are to be enhanced through fat transfer, excess fatty tissue is harvested through liposuction from elsewhere on the body, filtered and purified, and then reinjected into the pre-designated area(s) of the face. After surgery is complete, an overnight stay in the hospital is usually recommended.

What is Facelift Recovery Like?

After facelift surgery you can expect to experience some temporary swelling, soreness, and bruising. Keeping yourself upright, using cold compresses as directed, and taking prescribed pain relief medication can help keep you comfortable in the early days of healing. Most patients plan to take at least two weeks off from work to rest and recover. While scar tissue may appear reddish and raised at first, it should fade and flatten considerably as it continues to mature.

What are the Typical Results of Facelift?

Provided you strictly adhere to your aftercare instructions and get plenty of rest, the results of your facelift surgery should appear gradually as swelling heals. Around this time, patients often notice a significant improvement in the appearance of their face, including a dramatic reduction in sagging skin, wrinkles, and excess tissue.

For examples of Mr Townley’s exceptional results, please explore our facelift before-and-after photos.

View Facelift Gallery

Will I Have Facelift Scars?

During surgery, Mr Townley is mindful of keeping incisions as hidden as possible to minimise the visibility of any scarring. Facelift incisions can be concealed within the hairline and extend in front of the ear, which is an area that tends to heal very well for most patients. While scar tissue may appear reddish and raised at first, it should fade and flatten considerably as it continues to mature. The majority of Mr Townley’s facelift patients do not develop concerns regarding scarring once healing is complete. If you happen to be bothered by the appearance of any visible scarring, Mr Townley may discuss treatments and procedures that can help with reducing the prominence of scars.

How Long Do Facelift Results Last?

The longevity of facelift results varies from patient to patient depending on each individual’s natural rate of ageing; however, the techniques Mr Townley uses for facelift surgery are designed to deliver long-lasting results. One of the major benefits of undergoing a facelift is that patients generally experience a more graceful ageing process once they have had the procedure. If after many years, you experience significant changes in your appearance due to further ageing and desire additional rejuvenation, Mr Townley can discuss the possibility of a touch-up procedure to restore a more youthful look.

Combining Fat Transfer with Facelift (‘Lift & Fill Facelift’)

For patients who require additional volume to restore and enhance facial contours during a facelift, Mr Townley routinely performs a fat transfer. Also known as fat injections or fat grafting, fat transfers involve the harvesting of excess fatty tissue from one region of the body and the reinjection of purified, healthy fat cells into areas of the face with depleted volume to achieve soft, subtle augmentation. When performed properly, the results achieved with facial fat transfers can outlast dermal fillers and deliver a smooth, natural-looking appearance—beautifully complementing the rejuvenating effects of facelift surgery.

Combining a Facelift with a Neck Lift

Neck lift techniques are often recommended in combination with facelift surgery for patients who are experiencing significant skin, tissue, and muscle laxity along the jawline (jowls), beneath the chin, and/or along the neck. Liposuction and/or fat excision may also be performed in this region to create leaner, more defined contours. By undergoing facelift and neck lift within the course of a single operation, patients can generally achieve more comprehensive and natural-looking rejuvenation of the lower face, jawline, neck, and side profile. The goal for Mr Townley is always to create youthful definition in key areas to restore smoothness, lift, and elegance.

Combining Facelift with Additional Facial Rejuvenation

Visible signs of ageing are rarely isolated in one area of the face, and Mr Townley often recommends that facelift be combined with other surgical procedures and/or cosmetic treatments to optimise facial rejuvenation:

  • Blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery, can treat drooping skin, bags, and puffiness around the eyes to restore youthful vibrance.
  • Chin augmentation with chin implants, injectables, or fat transfer can help further define the jawline and balance the facial profile.
  • Injectable wrinkle therapies can temporarily relax dynamic wrinkles along the forehead, around the eyes, and in other regions of the face to create a smoother appearance.
  • Dermal fillers can temporarily restore youthful volume to areas of the face, as well as fill deep facial wrinkles and creases.

Depending on your needs and goals, Mr Townley can develop a personalised surgical plan that includes the procedures and treatments necessary for creating the more youthful look you desire.

How Much Does a Facelift Cost?

The cost for a facelift performed by Mr Townley varies based on the technique(s) used. For instance, a deep plane facelift will cost £19,000, whereas a deep plane facelift with deep neck reduction will be £25,000.

Several additional factors, including the degree of enhancement desired and any additional procedures performed in combination during the surgery, are liable to influence the price. Following a consultation with Mr Townley to discuss your goals and develop a customised treatment plan, you will receive an accurate estimate for the cost of your facelift. Payment options and scheduling can be discussed at this time as well.

Are There Non-Surgical Alternatives to Facelift Surgery?

While there are no non-surgical facial treatments that can compare to the significant improvements achieved with facelift surgery, men and women are often surprised by the degree of rejuvenation that can be accomplished with injectable treatments and facial fat transfer procedures. These non-surgical options are sometimes recommended for individuals who are not yet ready for a facelift, but desire a more youthful look.

How to Choose a Facelift Surgeon

The choice to undergo facelift surgery is a major decision. As such, we strongly recommend that you choose a renowned, highly-experienced provider to perform your surgery. It is wise to thoroughly research the background of any prospective surgeon – including their certifications, membership affiliations, patient testimonials, and more – to ensure they are well-qualified. Furthermore, we advise you to only seek the services of a Consultant Plastic Surgeon,as this title signifies the highest level of training in plastic surgery in the UK.

Oxford alumnus Mr William Townley has not only achieved a stellar reputation as a top plastic surgeon in London, but also as one of the most well-rounded reconstructive surgeons around the world. His experience ranges from popular cosmetic procedures like facelift, blepharoplasty, and rhinoplasty to corrective surgeries for patients with facial paralysis and cancer. Mr Townley, whose clinical research has been published over 30 times, prioritises the latest surgical techniques while aiming to create a welcoming environment for his patients. In turn, his patients trust him to deliver incomparable results.

Additional FAQs About Facelift Surgery

Is facelift surgery painful?

Throughout your facelift surgery, general anaesthesia will be administered. As such, patients typically do not find the procedure to be painful (though individual discomfort levels may vary, as pain is subjective). While swelling, bruising, and soreness may occur during your recovery, these phenomena are natural reactions to the surgery and seldom cause for alarm.

How long does it take to recover from a facelift?

Although it may take several months for some facelift side effects to completely disappear, the timeline of your recovery will depend on techniques being employed, the extent of surgery being performed, and other factors. Most patients are able to return to work after about two weeks, although this amount of time can vary, as well. More can be found on this matter within your customised aftercare instructions.

When does swelling after a facelift go away?

One of the many advantages to the deep plane method is its tendency to produce limited swelling, bruising, and other potential side effects. As such, provided you properly follow your instructions for recovery – including keeping your head elevated, applying cold compresses, reducing salt in your diet, and taking medications as directed – post-surgical swelling should not last longer than a few weeks.

Does facelift surgery cause bruising?

Depending on the surgical techniques employed, you may experience bruising – along with side effects such as swelling and soreness – for the first few weeks following your procedure. With this in mind, bruising is a typical reaction to facelift surgery and is usually not severe.

How should I sleep after a facelift?

During your facelift recovery, Mr Townley will advise you to sleep with your head in an elevated position, which can preserve surgical effects and encourage swelling to subside.* If this is not how you usually sleep, consider making it more comfortable by propping yourself up with pillows.

Am I the right age for a facelift?

Facelift patients normally fall between the ages of 40 and 70; however, as everyone ages at their own pace, there is no “right” age for a facelift. Rather, Mr Townley will consider your overall health, the concerns you exhibit, and your precise surgical goals when determining candidacy.

Will my facelift results look natural?

In the hands of an experienced surgeon such as Mr Townley, the results of a facelift should appear very natural. The goal of facelift is to enhance the beauty of the face in a way that is both flattering and authentic. To further refine the results of a facelift, Mr Townley sometimes recommends fat transfer for patients who wish to restore volume to the face, as his patients consistently appreciate the results of this method which utilises your own natural fat.

What’s the difference between facelift surgery for men versus women?

Although sex does not play a large role in facelift surgery, the placement of incisions sometimes varies between male and female patients. This is because incisions are often placed inconspicuously within the hairline, and men and women typically part and style their hair in different ways.

Additionally, males and females tend to have different goals for facelift surgery, particularly in relation to the jawline. Whereas most women desire a rounder, less-pronounced effect in this area, men often seek a firmer, more defined jawline. In any case, your sex should not have any bearing on your candidacy for facelift, as Mr Townley tailors each procedure to achieve results that harmonise with the natural character of a patient’s face.

Will I need a neck lift with my facelift?

While neck lift techniques are not required to accompany your facelift, many patients of Mr Townley benefit from the combination of a neck lift and facelift procedure. During a neck lift, Mr Townley addresses excess skin, muscle laxity, and fat in the neck, jawline, and chin. Moreover, when incorporated into a facelift surgery, a neck lift can provide a comprehensive enhancement to the face and facial profile.

Is a facelift the best way to look younger?

A facelift is the surgical gold standard for combating the effects of ageing in the face (namely wrinkles, folds, sagging skin, etc.). That said, Mr Townley understands that the needs and goals of each patient are unique. In other words, certain patients may feel their goals are met after a facelift, whereas others may benefit from the addition of facial fat transfer, liposuction, or other incorporated treatments. Alternatively, patients with less pronounced age-related concerns may benefit from a different treatment altogether, such as injectable dermal fillers.


Rest assured that Mr Townley has performed countless facelift surgeries, each tailored to flatter the features of the individual patient. During your consultation, the two of you can discuss strategies to meet all of your cosmetic goals.

Do you have questions about facelift surgery?

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Medical Resources*

American Society of Plastic Surgeons