A facelift performed by our Sydney plastic surgeons elevates and tightens facial skin and the underlying sheet of superficial muscle to soften wrinkles, improve cheek fullness and define the jawline.

Facial ageing is due to a combination of chronological ageing (intrinsic ageing) and photoaging (ageing due to exposure to environmental factors such as the sun). People living in Sydney’s south are particularly prone to photoaging as our proximity to the beach means we spend a lot of time in the sun. Facial ageing is a combination of loosened skin, a loss of facial volume and the descent of underlying tissues. Some of these changes can be reversed with a facelift. A facelift is an operation that tightens facial skin and the underlying muscles. However, facelift is a term used by many to describe a combination of procedures including cheek, eyelid surgery, brow and neck lift. They can be performed separately or together.

Every face ages with time. Some seem to do so too quickly, and can seem out of proportion with the person’s character and vitality. People seeking a facelift are often concerned by

  • sagging skin
  • looking old
  • appearing fat
  • heavy jowls
  • sunken cheeks

What to expect at your first consultation

Dr Sanki, our facial plastic surgeon, will meet with you in a 45 minute consultation in our rooms in Kogarah. The consultation will address your concerns about the appearance of your face and your goals for treatment. The consultation will be performed with sensitivity to your opinions and thoughtfulness to your concerns.

Dr Sanki will help identify the parts of your face and neck that you like and don’t like in order to determine what operation best suits you.  Your skin, facial muscles and bone structure will be analysed. Clinical photographs will be taken, and analysed with you.

A facelift is an operation of moderate duration and risk and so requires a thorough medical workup beforehand and will be performed in a licenced hospital facility in Sydney’s south. It is important to determine if you have any medical conditions that could interfere with safe facial surgery.

Written information will be provided to you, so that you can consider your options. If a facelift is appropriate the benefits and risks of surgery will be discussed in detail. You should consider facial plastic surgery carefully, and you will have the opportunity to see Dr Sanki in another consultation in Kogarah should new questions arise after your first visit.

Combination procedures

Face and necklift surgery are often complemented by blepharoplasty, brow lift, fat grafting and injectables.  A consultation with our skin care specialist regarding your skin care regimen and non-surgical rejuvenation is recommended. It can help to deal with the superficial signs of skin ageing such as dryness, pigmentation, fine lines and rosacea.

What the procedure involves

Dr Sanki performs facelift surgery under a general anaesthetic in a licensed hospital in Kogarah, Hurstville or the Eastern Suburbs.

There are different types of face and necklift. All involve much more than tightening the skin. This gives the most natural and harmonious appearance to the face, rather than a tight, windswept appearance. Our Shire and Southern Sydney patients seek to achieve a healthy, fresh, un-operated look with their facial plastic surgery.

There is currently a vogue to offer simple thread inlay lifts. These can be useful, but in general the duration of effect following facelift is proportional to the extent of the original surgery.

There are three different parts of the face that can be addressed, and different camouflaged incisions are used for each:

  1. A facelift improves the contour of your face and the wrinkles around the jawline and cheeks. It involves an incision that starts in front of the ear, curving around the earlobe and into the hair behind your ear. This allows the scars to be concealed by natural crease lines and your hair.
  2. For patients requiring significant contouring of their neck (necklift), the same incision is employed in addition to an incision just under the chin. This allows the neck muscle (platysma) to be tightened to restore a sharper contour between your chin and neck.
  3. In patients requiring the wrinkles of the eye to be addressed, the facelift incision is carried up into the hair next to your temples.

Dr Sanki is experienced in all three variations of the facelift operation and will recommend which procedure you would benefit from the most.

The skin and the underlying tissues (SMAS) are elevated separately. When the SMAS is tightened it recontours and elevates the underlying fat of the face. This sunken fat is what causes jowls and the deepening of the crease extending from the nose to around your mouth (nasolabial fold). The muscle at the neck (Platysma) is tightened to help lift fallen neck fat and restore the youthful angle between the chin and neck.

All of the incisions are repaired with fine, precise suturing.

At the completion of surgery, a padded dressing is applied to your face and neck. This helps control bruising and pain and allows the recontoured tissues to adhere to their new position.

How long will I stay in hospital after a facelift?

Staying in hospital for a night can make you more comfortable. Most patients are able to leave hospital within one day of surgery. Your dressing will be simplified to a compressive facial garment. Following surgery your skin will be bruised and swollen. This improves over two weeks, and can be camouflaged with makeup a few days after surgery.

Is a facelift a painful operation?

Surprisingly, most Sydney facelift patients describe the surgery as uncomfortable but not painful. Your skin can feel tight, with patches of numbness and even slight facial weakness.  These will improve with time. It is recommended that you rest at home for at least one week after the surgery to prevent bleeding and bruising caused by movement, and to allow your wounds to settle. The fine stitches will be removed one week after surgery, leaving thin, pink scars. With time, these scars become paler.

How long before I can drive after a facelift?

Our Sydney patients are able to drive approximately one week after a facelift. Usually, at one week following surgery, Dr Sanki’s facelift patients will be off sedating pain relief and will be able to comfortably turn their head to check their blind spots.

How long will it be before I can return to work and exercise after facial plastic surgery?

Most people having a facelift in Sydney can return to work after 3 weeks and can gently exercise after one week. You can perform stronger exercises eg heavy lifting, pilates after 6 weeks.

Which hospitals does Dr Sanki perform facelifts in?

Dr Sanki is a Kogarah and Shire specialist in facelifts, and performs surgery at licenced hospital facilities including St George, Hurstville, Bondi Junction and St Luke’s private hospitals.

Is it possible to have an all female surgical team?

Dr Sanki has an all female surgical team available weekly. Surgery can be a vulnerable time for women, and having the security of an all female plastic surgeryl team can be comforting and reassuring. Dr Sanki’s team are not picked upon their gender, but are picked for their experience, dedication and skill.

Can private health insurance be used?

Facial aesthetic surgery is considered cosmetic (elective) surgery and is not covered by Medicare or Private health insurance.

Who should perform facelift operations?

A facelift may sound simple but it is real surgery, and should be performed with sophisticated surgical technique for the safest and best results. It carries real risks, and as such should be considered carefully. Fortunately, facelift surgery in Sydney is safely performed by our highly experienced surgeons.

We recommend that you carefully consider your choice of surgeon. Unfortunately doctors without surgical qualifications beyond their medical degree are allowed to perform surgery. Your plastic surgeon should be appropriately qualified with at least a Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in Plastic surgery (FRACS plast), which means that they have specialist plastic surgical training. FRACS is the standard qualification required in Australia to perform surgery in private and public hospitals.

Members of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons have a FRACS and specialised training in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, including facelifts.

Our Sydney facial plastic surgeon, Dr Amira Sanki is a fully qualified Specialist Plastic Surgeon. She is Australian University trained, and received honours from her medical school. She is a member of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons and holds the Chair for Education for the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. She has extensive experience and training in facelift surgery, including the most advanced and up to date techniques. She is committed to giving their patients the safest and best treatment available.

Where to get more information

A consultation with a qualified Plastic Surgeon is the best place to get the right advice. More information on facelift is available online at the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons and Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons websites. You can view a video of the procedure there.

Plastic surgery, like any other surgical procedure, carries certain risks and potential complications. It is important for individuals considering plastic surgery to be aware of these risks before making a decision. Your plastic surgeon will explain the specific risks of your procedure and your risk profile in the context of your general health and the complexity of your procedure. Here are some of the common risks associated with plastic surgery:

  1. Infection: Any surgical procedure has the risk of infection. Surgeons take precautions to minimise this risk, such as sterile operating environments and proper wound care, but infections can still occur.


  1. Scarring: Scarring is an inherent risk of plastic surgery. While surgeons strive to minimise visible scarring, some procedures may result in more noticeable or keloid scars.


  1. Pain and discomfort: Plastic surgery involves incisions and tissue manipulation, which can lead to post-operative pain and discomfort. The level of pain varies depending on the procedure and the individual’s pain tolerance.


  1. Hematoma and seroma: Hematomas are collections of blood that can form under the skin after surgery, while seromas are collections of fluid. These fluid collections may require drainage.


  1. Nerve damage: Nerves can be damaged during surgery, leading to temporary or permanent numbness, tingling, or loss of sensation in the affected area. Nerve damage can also cause muscle weakness or paralysis.


  1. Blood clots: Surgical procedures carry a risk of blood clot formation, particularly in the legs. Blood clots can be serious if they travel to other parts of the body, causing complications like pulmonary embolism.


  1. Anesthesia risks: Plastic surgery usually requires the use of anesthesia, which carries its own set of risks. These include adverse reactions to anesthesia, breathing difficulties, and, in rare cases, life-threatening complications.


  1. Unsatisfactory results: Plastic surgery outcomes may not meet the patient’s expectations or desires. It’s important for individuals to have realistic expectations and to communicate clearly with their surgeon about their goals and desired outcomes.


  1. Revision surgery: In some cases, additional surgery may be required to achieve the desired results or to correct any complications or unsatisfactory outcomes. This can increase the financial and emotional burden on the patient.


  1. Psychological and emotional effects: Plastic surgery can have psychological and emotional impacts, both positive and negative. While many people experience improved self-esteem and body image after surgery, others may struggle with unrealistic expectations, body dysmorphia, or dissatisfaction with the results.
  1. Facial nerve palsy: There are rare reports of damage to the facial nerve that lies deep to the layer tightened by a plastic surgeon that might be inadvertently bruised or cut during surgery.

It’s crucial for individuals considering plastic surgery to consult with a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon who can thoroughly explain the risks and benefits specific to their desired procedure. Understanding and carefully weighing these risks against the potential benefits can help individuals make informed decisions about whether to proceed with plastic surgery.