Face lift

What is a face lift?

A face lift (also known as rhitidectomy), is a surgical procedure aimed at rejuvenating the face and restoring a more youthful, refreshed appearance that looks and feels natural. Face lift surgery is designed to firm, smooth and tighten facial skin, whilst also repositioning and reshaping the underlying tissues, to achieve a younger-looking appearance. Modern face lift techniques produce youthful restorative results without the over pulled look of older facelift approaches.

Newer non-surgical face lift treatments including botox, filler and facial threads can give subtle rejuvenating results that may even allow one to delay the need for a face lift without surgery, but a surgical face lift is a powerful solution to counter the effects of ageing and remains the gold standard of facial rejuvenation. When performing face lift surgery in Johannesburg, South Africa, Dr Isabel do Vale aims to address a wide range of aesthetic concerns to give a natural, authentic and personalised result for each patient.

Fast Facts:

Length of procedure: 2 - 5 Hours
Type of anaesthesia: General anaesthetic.
Length of stay: 24 hours
What to expect post-op: Initial swelling, a feeling of tightness, and numbness. Bruising usually subsides within 2 – 3 weeks.
Recovery time: Most patients are able to return to work or normal activity after 2- 3 weeks. The final result is usually evident around 6 – 8 weeks. Avoid sun exposure and use a good sunscreen (at least SPF 30) for a minimum of 6 months.

Who might benefit from a face lift?

Ageing is a natural phenomenon that affects us all, but in Johannesburg, the harsh dry winters and excessive sun exposure during the summers add to other factors like genetics, diet, smoking, weight fluctuation, that all accelerate ageing.

Women or men who feel that they look older than their chronological age may opt for face lift surgery. Many men and women say that they just want to look as young as they feel. Some women may want to look younger or more refreshed to project themselves more confidently in their work arena. If you feel like this, you may benefit from face lift surgery.

Many patients also report that they have used botox and fillers and other treatments repeatedly in the past but would like longer-lasting results. A facelift offers longevity of rejuvenation that is not achieved by other enhancements. The ideal candidate for face lift surgery usually has some volume loss or displacement in the face, visible skin laxity, wrinkles, a tired deflated look, and desires a solution that is rejuvenating and enduring.

What does a face lift procedure involve?

A face lift is a surgical procedure that typically lasts around 3 to 5 hours under general anaesthesia. Dr do Vale's goal is to achieve an attractive, natural and refreshed look that is authentically you. As a woman, working with an all-female team, she understands the subtleties of achieving natural, beautiful rejuvenation. Dr do Vale will take you through a full consultation and examination to establish your reasons for seeking face lift surgery as well as your aesthetic goals and desires. In understanding your goals and what might be possible through face lift surgery, Dr do Vale finds it useful to review old photographs from 10 or 15 years ago. Please bring such photographs with to your consultation.

Dr do Vale will talk you through an individually tailored surgical plan to suit your facial structure and personal cosmetic needs. Undergoing a face lift surgery is a major decision. During your consultation, Dr do Vale will discuss and answer the questions you may have regarding face lift surgery, all options available to you, the risks involved, and the expected benefits and results so that together you can come to a personalised decision about the right facial rejuvenation procedure for you.

Face lift surgery typically rejuvenates the lower two-thirds of the face addressing the loose, saggy skin in the cheeks and bulky jowl near the chin. Face lift surgery can be combined with an upper or lower eyelid lift (blepharoplasty), brow lift, neck lift, or fat fills -all depending on your individual needs.

Facelift surgery typically begins with an incision that is easily hidden in the hairline and behind the ears. Dr Isabel do Vale will then tighten the underlying muscle structures, sculpt, reposition or remove fat as required and finally re-drape the skin carefully to create a beautiful, smooth, rejuvenated look. Older facelift techniques resulted in an over-pulled, over-done appearance. Dr do Vale utilises modern facelift techniques that restore a youthful authenticity and give a natural, attractive and long-lasting result.


A face lift often has a positive effect on the upper portion of the neck. However, sometimes an additional small incision under the chin is needed to achieve better contouring of the neck.

Recovery after a face lift:

Immediately after the facelift surgery, there will be some degree of swelling or bruising. Most patients will take about 10 to 14 days to recover before returning to work. No strenuous activity should be done during this time (at least two weeks). The final results are usually evident at 6 to 8 weeks after the facelift surgery and should last up to 10 years. Dr do Vale will advise you on the most suitable scar management regimen to ensure that your scars are as inconspicuous as possible. To prolong the aesthetic result of your facelift surgery, it is important that you follow a good skincare regimen and use daily sun protection.

For more information on face lift or to find out if it’s the right procedure for you, request a consultation below or call 0109003999 to schedule your detailed consultation with Dr do Vale.