The facelift has always been a popular cosmetic procedure. Helping patients to look sometimes decades younger, its results can last for years.

The way in which facelifts are performed has changed dramatically over the decades. Thanks to advancements within facial aesthetic surgery, newer techniques have helped to produce more natural-looking results.

Here, we’ll look at how the facelift has evolved and what you can expect from the procedure today.

The beginning of the facelift

The facelift procedure was developed just over 100 years ago. Due to how secretive the procedure used to be, it’s difficult to pinpoint its exact origins. However, it is known that both American and European surgeons were experimenting with facial lifting techniques in the early 1890s.

The results of these early facelift procedures were much different from what we see today, however. Although it started out as a secretive procedure, results were anything but natural. Elliptical incisions were used in earlier facelifts, along with fat excisions.

It was down to World War I that facelift procedures really started to take off. A greater need for facial reconstructive surgery meant the facelift evolved at record speed. Improvements within anaesthesia also aided in the progression of the treatment.

The difficulty with earlier facelifts is that they largely only addressed the skin. This meant that the results were short-lived. Over time, surgeons began focusing on the underlying tissue to produce longer-lasting results. It was in 1976 that the SMAS technique was introduced as the standard facelift technique, developed by Tord Skoog. This was the first significant change within the industry in more than 50 years.

The development of the modern facelift

The modern facelift procedure emerged in the 80s and 90s. After the development of the Deep Plane Rhytidectomy technique, surgeons became more focused on minimally invasive techniques. Previous techniques required a long operating time and an extensive recovery period. So, surgeons wanted to develop a technique that would reduce both the surgery and the recovery time, while still producing great results.

A demand for less downtime saw more minimally invasive procedures be introduced including the thread lift which became particularly popular in the late 1990s. Here, barbed threads were placed into the subcutaneous, then pulled to achieve a tighter lift. However, this technique also provided limited results.

In recent years, it is claimed that a non-surgical facelift can be achieved by combining energy-based skin treatments, dermal fillers and wrinkle smoothing injections. These aesthetic treatments can achieve good, albeit short-term, results for men and women that are just starting to see the signs of facial ageing, but for older patients a surgical facelift often remains the most appropriate option.

What can facelift patients expect today?

Today, there are a number of facelift techniques which can be used and a facelift procedure is often combined with other surgical procedures such as a brow lift, eyelid lift or neck lift. Non-surgical treatments can also be used to produce the optimal outcome.

If you’re interested in addressing the signs of facial ageing, arrange a facelift consultation with Mr Nigel Horlock to discuss your options. The facelift has certainly come a long way since its inception. Improvements in anaesthesia, surgical tools and techniques have made it a much safer, more natural-looking procedure.