Last week was a very interesting PIP-related week: I hosted an open evening Q&A session at the Nuffield Tunbridge Wells Hospital for patients worried about…
My team are often asked why there is such range of prices for “a facelift” – from around £6000 to over double this price. Surely all facelifts are the same procedure?
Even amongst plastic surgeons, there is a huge range of techniques performed, each being referred to as “a facelift”. These can range from simply lifting the jowls and improving the jawline, through to addressing a severely sagging neck, jowls, cheek and temple. The complexity of these operations varies widely as does the time it takes to do them…hence all facelifts are not equal.
For example, a local anaesthetic facelift, a procedure I frequently carry out at Purity Bridge, will take me around 2-3 hours. This is an excellent procedure in someone who has mild to moderate jaw/jowl laxity but is not the right procedure for someone complaining of a sagging neck. On the other hand, for someone with significant neck and jowl laxity, a much more involved comprehensive lower face/neck lift, often combined with an open neck lift is required. This can take over 5-hours, or more if combined with other procedures such as eyelid and brow lifts.
These time-demanding and skill-demanding operations are highly specialist and the more complex the operation and the longer it takes, the higher the cost. This also reflects the time and staff required in the operating theatre, specialist equipment and time in hospital.
I thought it perhaps useful to compare the types of face and neck lifting procedures I most commonly so they can be compared and contrasted:
|Procedure||What it treats||What it doesn’t treat||Type of anaesthetic||Time in operating theatre|
|Purity Bridge local anaesthetic facelift||Mild-moderate jowls and jawline laxity||Significant jowls, sagging neck, neck bands||Local anaesthetic||2-3 hours|
|Facelift||Moderate jowls and jawline laxity, mild neck laxity||Significant jowls, sagging neck, neck bands||General anaesthetic||3-4 hours|
|Lower face/neck lift||Moderate and significant jowls, moderate neck laxity||Significant neck laxity, significant neck bands||General anaesthetic||4-4.5 hours|
|Lower face/neck lift plus open neck lift||Significant jowls, neck laxity and neck bands||General anaesthetic||5-hours|
The core procedure that I most commonly perform is a lower face/neck lift. Most people will have a degree of neck sagging that bothers them, and if this is not dealt with properly, it will recur soon, and other issues may occur. For example, it is easy to pull the skin tight to give the early impression of an improvement to the neck and jowls. However, if the underlying (SMAS) tissue is not properly elevated and supported, not only will the laxity recur early, but it will cause problems, such as the earlobes being pulled down towards the jawline (known as a pixie ear deformity) and other unnatural giveaway signs that you have had a facelift.
There is no “getting away with it” in any plastic surgery, and the same is true for facelifts. The right procedure for the right patient must be chosen, or else in the long run my patient’s expectations will not be met, they will be disappointed (as will I!) and they risk their result appearing unnatural.
I hope this blog is helpful in explaining the reason behind the range of costs of facelifts, and the why there is such a variation in procedures available. We are all individual, our faces and necks are all different – we do not come out of a production line – so one type of facelift procedure cannot possibly be suitable for everyone. Think twice before committing to any surgeon who does the same operation on everyone…