During a conventional facelift, the neck and cheek skin is loosened over a wider area than during a mini-facelift. It is then tightened towards the hairline. A facelift has an effect on the neck, the jaw, the hamster cheeks, marionette lines and the nasolabial (smile) folds. The cheekbones are also lifted during this operation and become fuller. The effect of the facelift can be simulated using all fingers and pulling the skin up and back.

The scar is in front and a little behind the ear. The incision can also be done in the ear behind the tragus in order to avoid a scar in front. After a facelift, swelling is visible during 2 to 6 weeks. The classic facelift, however, gives a more significant swelling of the cheeks than the S-lift or mini-facelift.

The duration of the effect is difficult to predict and depends on tissue firmness. On average it is 5 to 15 years.

A facelift and a sub-SMAS facelift are only performed by experienced surgeons and only under general anaesthetic. The procedure is more invasive than the mini-lift, which can be performed under local anaesthetic. Since July 2013, a new law states that only plastic surgeons can perform a facelift or mini-lift. Please check the INAMI number of your doctor (must end with 210).

At Mediclinic, our doctors will advise on the most appropriate solution for you. If an experienced surgeon performs a facelift, the result should always be natural and you should not worry about having a wider mouth.

In Practice

Pain: A mini-facelift or a facelift often gives a feeling of tightness in the first 24 hours. The bandage and the drains (tubes for evacuation of the liquid) may cause discomfort at first but they are removed after 24 hours. Afterwards, a tight feeling can remain but will disappear when the swelling decreases.

Recovery: Recovery after an S-lift or mini-facelift is usually surprisingly quick. Most people can resume their activities after 9 days without surgery leaving any visible traces. A full facelift leaves much longer cheek swelling (from 6 - 8 weeks). The bandage remains for only 24 hours and bruises disappear after 7 - 10 days.

Risks: A full facelift has a (small) risk of damage to the nerves. In an S-lift, or mini-MACS lift, the nerves are protected by the salivary gland and it is almost impossible for them to be damaged. Smoking is not advised during convalescence and wound healing.

Aftercare: After 24h, the bandage is removed and you may wash your hair. The scars must be treated with a moisturizer. A cream can be applied to bruises to help them disappear more rapidly. The sutures are removed after 9 days.


Effect of mini-facelift: clear improvement of the jawline and the marionette lines but the result remains very natural.


Effect of full facelift: clear improvements of the jawline and the marionette lines but with fuller cheeks.

Advantages of the mini-facelift, S-Lift, MACS-lift:

  • Performed under local anaesthetic.
  • Speedy recovery: on average work and social life can be resumed after 9 days.
  • Safe, very limited risk of nerve injury and scar problems.
  • Very natural effect, the shape of your face does not alter but you look 5 to 10 years younger.  In other words, you look fresher and younger but not different!
  • Maximum effect on the neck, the jaw line and the marionette lines. The sagging of these structures gives the face a tired and old look.
  • It takes only 2 hours in the clinic (similar to a visit to the dentist).
  • You do not have to fast before the procedure.
  • This surgery is immensely popular and is performed several times a week, or even daily, giving our doctors great experience and expertise.

Benefits of the classic facelift:

  • Tissues are loosened more deeply. If there is a lot of sagging or if the tissues are very soft, results are better with a facelift than with a mini-lift.
  • The effect on the neck and the jawline is similar to the mini-lift  but the effect on the zygomatic arch is greater with the classic lift. The swelling therefore disappears more slowly than after a mini-lifting.
  • The classic facelift is always done under anaesthetic and is thus more comfortable for the patient. General anaesthetic is also safer for the releasing of the facial nerve tissue.
  • With this more radical lift you can also, if you so wish, change the shape or structure of your face (e.g. fuller cheekbones).

Cost Price

Sub smass facelift (general anaesthetic) 5.400€

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