Facelift in Sydney


Facial ageing affects our appearance in various ways. From skin laxity and loss of muscle tone to the degeneration of the various facial structures, time continues to manifest itself in the shape, grooves and fabrics of our skin.

Dr Ellis Choy sees concerns like these regularly. A facelift is a surgical rejuvenation procedure designed to address the facial features that diminish, droop or deflate with age.

Dr Choy performs facelift surgery by surgically lifting and tightening the underlying facial structure to enhance your facial definition in manner that harmonises with your age and stage of life. Book your in-person consultation in Sydney with Dr Choy today. He will address any questions and personal concerns you may have as you explore your options.


As we age, our skin loses elasticity, grows thinner and develops wrinkles caused by a combination of collagen depletion and muscle movement. Changes also occur below the skin surface. Our deeper soft tissues slacken and droop. We lose fat volume, which can lead to a sunken or gaunt appearance, and remaining fat pads can droop downward. Even our bone structure changes.

Facelift surgery addresses these changes. 


As an invasive procedure, facelift surgery is ideal for those whose issues cannot be addressed with nonsurgical treatments. During a facelift, Dr Choy lifts and tightens loose skin and repositions the underlying tissues.

A facelift may be right for you if:

  • You have loose, drooping skin around your cheeks
  • You have heavy jowls
  • You have deep nasolabial folds
  • You have lost shape and definition in your lower face
  • You’ve accumulated fat below the chin (double chin)
  • You desire a longer lasting solution than nonsurgical options, such as a thread lift, can provide

In addition to the concerns above, you should ideally meet the following criteria:

  • You’re in good physical and emotional health
  • You do not smoke
  • You’re prepared to follow Dr Choy’s pre- and postoperative instructions
  • You have reasonable expectations for the results of your facelift

Contrary to the popular notion of facelift surgery, it is not only for senior patients. Factors like lifestyle, genetics or weight fluctuations can have a significant impact on skin elasticity and facial volume. Some people start to develop prominent wrinkles and lax skin in their 30s, and don’t want to wait until a more advanced age for surgical intervention.

In your consultation, Dr Choy will discuss your concerns and help you decide whether a facelift is a suitable option for you. He will also help you select the appropriate types of facelift for you based on your anatomy, aesthetic goals and preferences regarding downtime and recovery.


Your facelift journey will begin with an in-depth consultation at our office in Sydney, where Dr Choy will take the time to understand your reasons for treatment and your expectations for results. He will carefully analyse your unique facial anatomy, observing how age has affected your face and your primary areas of concern, to determine what he may be able to achieve with facelift surgery. Once he has identified the most realistic outcome and the most suitable surgical techniques, Dr Choy will walk you through the steps of the procedure to ensure you are comfortable and fully aware of what to expect during your journey.

A facelift focuses primarily on the lower third of the face. Though the procedure will vary for each patient, it generally involves lifting and tightening the structural tissue to restore a smoother facial contour. From lax facial tissue to the deflation of fat, a facelift is designed to address the various components of facial ageing and combine their correction in a holistic and harmonious way. Taking a customised approach to treatment, Dr Choy will design a surgical plan tailored to your age, facial structure and cosmetic goals.


Facelift surgery is individualised to the patient’s needs. After assessing your concerns and discussing your goals, Dr Choy will tailor his techniques accordingly.

Standard Facelift

The standard facelift, also called the full facelift or traditional facelift, is a time-tested approach. This technique can fully address moderate to advanced ageing in the lower two-thirds of the face.

Incisions for the standard facelift are concealed within the hairline, starting near the temples and continuing around the front of the ear. This provides optimal access for the surgeon and yields the longest lasting results of the different facelift techniques. An additional incision may be placed under the chin.

Short-Scar Facelift

A short-scar facelift or mini facelift is a less invasive technique that focuses on the lower third of the face only. Depending on the case, this surgery may be performed using local anaesthesia with sedation or general anaesthesia.

As its name suggests, a short-scar facelift requires a shorter incision than a traditional facelift. The incision begins around the temporal hairline, extends down the front of the ear and ends around the earlobe. Scarring is less compared to the standard facelift.

Patients with a mild degree of jowling and loose skin around the upper neck and jawline make the best candidates for the short-scar technique.

SMAS Facelift

The SMAS (superficial musculoaponeurotic system) layer of tissue sits deep within the face, between the muscles and subcutaneous fat. SMAS facelifting techniques target these deep tissues for impactful and lasting rejuvenation.

When performing a SMAS facelift, surgeons manipulate the skin and SMAS layers individually. This allows them to tighten and reposition the tissues in multiple directions and to a more significant degree than is possible with other techniques.

Because the SMAS approach tightens underlying tissues instead of the skin, many patients feel it provides lift without the tell-tale “windswept” look of older facelift techniques.

MACS Facelift

The MACS (minimal access cranial suspension) lift is a short-scar facelift that can be performed under intravenous sedation.

The MACS facelift involves making a small incision along the front of the ear and weaving two threads into the tissues. When the threads are tightened, the cheeks and corners of the mouth are lifted, and the contours of the neck, chin and jawline are restored.

The facial tissues are not detached from the underlying muscles in a MACS facelift, which reduces risk and recovery time. The MACS lift is suitable for younger patients with better skin elasticity.

Deep Plane Facelift

The deep plane facelift lifts the face from underneath the SMAS, focusing on the underlying structural elements of the face rather than the skin. Many surgeons and patients feel this gives more durable results, as well as a more favourable recovery.

In a deep plane facelift, the skin and muscle (SMAS) are moved together as one unit, and deep cheek fat pads and musculature are repositioned. Drooping tissues are lifted vertically rather than outward. This approach creates a smoother, but not excessively tight, appearance and helps restore volume in the midface area.

A deep plane facelift can be performed using an abbreviated incision behind the ear. This minimises visible scarring for patients who wear their hair cut short or styled in a ponytail.


A facelift is an invasive surgical procedure, so the recovery process is a crucial part of your journey. Expect facial swelling, minor to moderate bruising and a feeling of tightness for at least the first week after your surgery. The focus during this time should be rest and proper incision care. It’s helpful to have assistance around the house, although you can do some moving around. Bruising and swelling usually reach their height around days three and four.

After approximately seven to ten days, a follow-up appointment will be scheduled so Dr Choy can remove your sutures and assess how your face is adapting to the new contour. You’ll likely still have some bruising and swelling at this point. You may also experience some tingling, numbness or tightness in the surgical area. These are common occurrences after a facelift and should not cause alarm.

It may take up to two weeks for the swelling to subside. After this point, you will be able to see the effects of your procedure more clearly. This is when many patients start to feel like themselves again and return to work and social activities. You may also resume light activities like walking for exercise.

After the one-month postoperative mark, you should largely be back to your normal routine. It can take up to one year for very minor swelling, tightness and numbness to subside, but these lingering effects typically are only noticeable to you.

Dr Choy believes that patient education and preparation is vital to the patient journey; he will ensure you are adequately prepared for what to expect and how to care for the area during recovery. Following Dr Choy’s postoperative care instructions will make a big difference in your recovery experience and the results of your facelift.


Click here to view our facelift before and after photos

Facelift surgery offers the longest-lasting benefits of any facial rejuvenation technique. Your improvements can last a decade or more, especially if you take good care of your skin with a healthy diet, no smoking and diligent sun protection. A good maintenance routine can help ensure you enjoy your results for as long as possible.


A number of factors determine how much your facelift surgery costs. These include:

  • Surgeon’s fee
  • Anaesthetist’s fee
  • Surgeon’s assistant’s fee
  • Hospital fees
  • Medications
  • Post-surgical supplies

The cost of a facelift is also influenced by the complexity of the procedure, the location of the clinic and the experience of the surgeon. Additional procedures add to the cost of your surgery. 

Neither Medicare nor private health insurance covers the costs of elective cosmetic surgeries. Please keep this in mind as you plan.

In Sydney, the cost of facelift surgery typically starts at around $15,000 to $20,000 for a standard facelift. Complete facial rejuvenation that combines multiple procedures can reach up to $30,000 to $40,000. Remember, these numbers are generic ranges. A face-to-face consultation with Dr Choy is a must to find out what approach is needed for your facelift surgery and what it will cost.


Facelift surgery has undergone a remarkable evolution over the years, with the introduction of advanced techniques that may offer more natural and enduring results. The deep plane facelift represents a significant leap forward. Whereas older facelifting methods address the skin only, the deep plane facelift goes further, targeting the deeper structural tissues of the face.

Interest in the deep plane approach is growing. This can be attributed to a number of benefits it can offer for the right candidate:

  • Aesthetic of Results: Because the deep plane facelift addresses the underlying structures of the face, the results may appear more natural. There is less risk of the skin appearing overly tight or ‘pulled’, a common concern with some traditional facelift methods.
  • Longevity of Results: By altering the deeper structures of the face, the deep plane facelift can offer longer-lasting results than skin-only techniques. The improvements made at a deeper structural level tend to withstand the test of time better than superficial adjustments.
  • Recovery Process: The skin and SMAS layer are not separated during a deep plane facelift. This preserves the skin’s blood supply, which supports the healing process. Recovery after a deep plane facelift can be more rapid than other types of facelift as a result.
  • Scope of Improvement: The deep plane technique can address nasolabial folds, jowls and midface drooping, restoring a more heart-shaped face that is often seen in younger individuals. The reach and degree of rejuvenation can be more significant with a deep plane facelift than other techniques, which primarily target the lower face and neck.

Dr Choy brings a wealth of expertise and precision to the art of facelift surgery. As part of his commitment to excellence, he strives to continuously improve his skills and learn the latest techniques as they develop. This is why his ongoing professional education has included dedicated study of the deep plane facelift.

Recognising that each face tells a unique story, Dr Choy believes in a highly personalised approach. If you are considering a facelift and are interested in the deep plane technique, he will help you decide whether it might be the right fit for your skin quality, anatomy and cosmetic goals.


An experienced specialist plastic surgeon like Dr Choy has many tools at his disposal, including multiple techniques to treat signs of facial ageing. One of the critical jobs of the surgeon is to match the patient with an appropriate procedure for their concerns. If you are interested in surgical facial rejuvenation, but are not sure which procedure suits your needs, Dr Choy will educate you about your options and help you identify a treatment plan that matches your goals. 

Understanding how a facelift compares to other common facial surgeries is an important step in this process.

Facelift vs. Neck Lift

The neck is vulnerable to the effects of age, gravity and sun exposure, just as the face is. Common signs of ageing in the neck include loosening skin around the jawline, wrinkles on the neck or the hanging skin known colloquially as a “turkey neck” or “turkey wattle”. A neck lift is the surgical way to address these changes.

During a neck lift, Dr Choy tightens the underlying muscles of the neck, trims away excess skin and reshapes the neck structure. These adjustments can create a smoother, firmer neck contour and a more defined jawline.

A neck lift concentrates solely on the neck area. A facelift, on the other hand, addresses the lower third of the face (in the case of a mini facelift) or the lower two-thirds of the face (in the case of more comprehensive techniques, such as the deep plane facelift).

Facelift vs. Facial Fat Grafting

Facelift techniques are designed for tightening loose tissues, but they cannot address another hallmark sign of facial ageing: volume loss. The process of losing facial fat is gradual. Hollows begin to form in areas like the tear troughs and temples. Round cheeks sink downward. Facial skin droops and wrinkles. Fat grafting (also known as fat transfer) is a way to address moderate to severe facial volume loss. 

Facial fat grafting is a three-step process. First, fat is harvested from an area of the body with a suitable amount of excess. Next, the fat is transferred to a centrifuge, where it is processed to separate the healthy fat cells from other materials. Finally, it is injected into areas of the face where more volume is desired.

While a facelift helps to soften facial lines and tighten facial skin, it has no effect on underlying volume. Fat grafting, on the other hand, has no direct impact on the skin, but it restores facial fullness. By adding support underneath the skin, fat grafting can also help smooth lines.

Facelift vs. Eyelid Surgery

As we age, the skin around our eyes becomes thinner and loses elasticity. This process can result in the upper eyelids becoming hooded, sometimes to the point that they obstruct vision. The lower eyelids are prone to developing bags or puffiness due to weakened supporting structures and fat pads that protrude through the skin.

Eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, corrects contour irregularities and signs of ageing around the eyes. The procedure can target the upper eyelids, lower eyelids or both areas simultaneously. Cosmetically, eyelid surgery provides improvements in loose and drooping skin, fine lines, puffiness and bags. Functionally, eyelid surgery can remove heavy excess skin on your upper lids that may cause irritation or chronic forehead pain, or interfere with your vision.

The name “facelift” leads many to believe that the procedure treats the entire face. In fact, a facelift targets the lower third or two-thirds of the face only. For those looking to refresh the eye area, blepharoplasty is a more suitable option.

Facelift vs. Brow Lift

The long-term effects of gravity can leave you with drooping eyebrows that create heaviness around your eyes and change your resting expression. In addition, wrinkles or deep furrows may develop horizontally along your forehead or vertically between your eyebrows. One of the most impactful ways to rejuvenate an ageing forehead is a brow lift. 

A brow lift procedure elevates the brows and softens forehead creases. This can be accomplished via two techniques — a traditional technique involving an incision in the hairline from the top of one ear to the other, and a more modern approach utilising an endoscope and several short incisions hidden within the hairline.

Candidates for a facelift desire rejuvenation in the lower third or lower two-thirds of the face, while brow lift candidates wish to address lax tissues in the upper third.

*This information about facelift surgery was reviewed by Dr. Ellis Choy. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us here.

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Making an Informed Decision

Undergoing plastic surgery is a significant decision that should be made only after careful consideration of all aspects involved, including the potential risks and complications.

General Risks and Complications

There are general risks and complications that apply to most plastic surgery procedures. These are discussed in detail on our Risks and Complications page.

Specific Risks and Complications

In addition to those that apply generally to plastic surgery, each individual procedure comes with its own specific risks and complications. For facelift surgery, these include: 

  • Noticeable scarring
  • Overly tightened or pulled appearance
  • Temporary or permanent facial weakness
  • Temporary or permanent changes in skin sensation
  • Hair loss at the incision sites

Next Steps

Request a consultation with Dr Choy for a detailed discussion of these considerations. Dr Choy will conduct a thorough risk assessment based on your individual factors and outline the measures that can be taken to minimise these risks. He and his team are here to support your decision-making process, providing all the information you need to make well-informed choices about your care.

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