How long will a facelift last?

Having facelift surgery is a daunting procedure for the uninitiated. There’s a consultation period, which will involve you sitting down with someone you don’t know and talking about things you essentially don’t like about yourself, while that person points out what can be done about those self-perceived flaws.

Then there’s the actual procedure itself. Then there’s a period of recovery. Finally, there’s the period of self-adjustment – both for you and the people around you.

Obviously, this isn’t something you want to be doing on a regular basis. But then you look in the newspaper and see that a certain celebrity has had their umpteenth treatment, and start to wonder: if they’ve had their face done and they’re still not happy, how long will it be before I’ll have go through the whole thing again?

For some people, the question ‘how long will a facelift last?’ can be right up there with ‘how long is a piece of string?’ The answer depends on many factors: the type ofprocedure you’ve decided to undergo, the skill of the surgeon you’re paying to undertake that procedure, and – most importantly – your mindset as a client.

The bare-faced truth

Let’s look at the root cause of why people want to undergo a facelift: with a few exceptions, clients usually have them because want to look younger.

Predicting how long the anti-ageing effects of a facelift will last is difficult, mainly because of the myriad treatments available, differences in what clients deem to be a ‘younger appearance’ in the first place, and what the client is prepared to do to maintain their appearance afterwards.

A skin-only facelift (where the facial skin is lifted and tightened above and behind the ears) can give a good result – but the fact that the muscles underneath are left untreated mean that its optimal effect lasts for three to six years on average.

The Superficial Musculo-Aponeurotic System facelift (better known as a SMAS facelift), which tightens the facial muscles as well as the skin, naturally lasts longer: an estimated five to eight years, on average.

And a deep SMAS facelift will last even longer. However, combine that with volume restoration (with fillers in areas such as the brow, lips and neck) and you’re looking at eight to twelve years on average.

Time marches on

Please be aware that when we talk about the ‘lasting’ abilities of these procedures, we’re not implying that everything will suddenly sag after a certain amount of time: if a facelift makes you look 35 when you’re 43, you’ll still look 43 when you’re 50.

But a facelift can’t throw the ageing process back to your late teens, and if you’re still indulging in the habits that made your skin age a little bit faster before your treatment, the clock is going to start catching up on your face before too long.