There is a lot about mystique about facelift. However with advances in anaesthetic and cosmetic surgery it has become an everyday procedure.

During the course of ageing, and with the effect of gravity, there is descent of the skin and soft tissues of the face. Additionally, there is loss of fat from the face. This leads to the following changes;

  1. The development of jowls

  2. The loss of definition of the jawline

  3. The neck starts to sag

  4. Marionette lines (lines at the corner of the mouth which run toward the chin) become visible and give a sad look

  5. The naso-labial fold (the fold next to the mouth going up to the nose) starts to deepen, also leading to a tired look


Note: The forehead and eyes are separate “anatomical areas”. See also forehead lift and blepharoplasty.


It is exactly the problems which are addressed by facelift.

  1. A more youthful, radiant look

  2. Improved confidence

There have been considerable advances in the techniques of these procedures and there are a number of variations in the technique, from mini-facelift to full lower facelift. Your surgeon will advise you which is most suitable for you.

All modern techniques not only tighten the skin ‚ but also the deeper structures. The most important of these is the SMAS(the superficial muscle system). While some talk of a “SMAS lift”, this is not strictly true as most surgeons manipulate SMAS in some way.

It is important to note that liposuction is frequently combined with the tissue tightening procedure. This is done through a half-a-centimetre incision under the chin.

As deflation of tissue is now recognized as an important component of ageing, fat grafting ( ie fat is taken from another site, often the tummy ) and injected into the face. This is used to plump up the cheekbones and full in the hollowing below the lower eyelid where the cheek and lower eyelid meet. Recently it has been recognized that fat grafting also transfers stem cells, which are able to enhance skin rejuvenation

A facelift can easily be performed under a light anaesthetic as a day case procedure. Staying in a hospital is no longer necessary.


  1. Incision/scar ‚This is made in front of the ear

  2. Depending on which variation is used, it may be extended behind the ear into the hairline

  3. Drains ‚Not infrequently a thin tube is inserted under the skin ( to allow the efflux of fluid and blood ) which is removed after 24 hours. A bandage is applied for overnight use and is removed the following morning. The face can be washed the next day!

  4. Swelling & bruising: There is considerable swelling and bruising after this procedure. One will probably want to avoid colleagues for a week to 10 days. Often a strategically placed scarf is able to disguise the swelling and bruising after a few days

  5. Complications ‚Every single procedure has complications. If you are in good shape and a non-smoker the risk is low.  These need to be discussed with the surgeon

Professor Hudson is the only South African to have published articles on facelift in the world’s leading plastic surgery journals, which are read by plastic surgeons worldwide to keep abreast of new developments. In this regard, he has pioneered innovative techniques, now used worldwide.


These include

1. The mini-rhytidectomy

  • F Duminy, D A Hudson

  • Aesthetic Plastic Surgery 1997 vol 21 pages 280-284

2. An analysis of unsolved problems of face-lift procedures

  • D A Hudson

  • Annals of Plastic Surgery 2010 vol 65 pages 266-269

3. The Quilting Suture: Its use in facelifts

  • D A Hudson

  • Plast Reconstr Surg 2010 vol 126, 72-73

The right procedure or treatment plan for you will depend on your unique needs and goals. The best way to received individualised recommendations is to book a consultation and speak with Professor Hudson in person.