A facelift or rhytidectomy is a cosmetic surgical procedure that addresses wrinkles, loose and sagging skin, fat deposits and other visible signs of ageing on the face.
Surgeons have developed a number of different facelift techniques that focus on different tissue layers. The basic facelift technique, known as the skin-only facelift, addresses the most superficial layers of the skin. It often results in a ‘pulled skin’ look. The SMAS facelift, considered the standard facelift at present, works on the superficial musculo aponeurotic system or SMAS, a layer of fibrous connective tissue just under the facial fat layer. While the SMAS facelift results in a more natural looking type of facelift, it too may require some level of pulled skin for good results.
The third is the deep plane facelift, a technique employed by only a few surgeons around the globe. The deep plane facelift repositions the soft tissue of the face underneath the SMAS tissue layer, releasing it from muscles and reattaching it at higher anchor points. As a result the deep plane facelift avoids the pulled skin effect entirely. It also minimises trauma to tissue layers close to the skin.
There are also other techniques that are limited in scope, like the mid face lift, endoscopic facelift or the feather lift.
Each of these techniques carries their own cost, with more complicated and time consuming procedures coming with a higher price tag.
The specific techniques your surgeon recommends will depend on your needs as well as your surgeon’s preferences. These will also influence the total cost.
The best way to determine the costs of facelift surgery is in consultation with a surgeon. Although you may be able to get a ballpark figure online or from other sources, you will not find exact costs of a facelift. This is because the Australian Medical Board Guidelines for advertising of regulated health services prevents medical service providers, like your surgeon, from providing inexact information. Guidelines also discourage advertisements that give a price and then list conditions or variables that can change that price. As each person and his or her requirements are different, it is impossible for a surgeon to give a specific cost for any cosmetic procedure.
Once you visit a surgeon for a consultation and have an idea of the costs of a facelift in your area, you may also want to get a second opinion from a second surgeon before making the decision to undergo facelift surgery.
Facelifts can be combined with other surgical procedures like eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty), brow lift and liposuction. If you plan to combine your facelift procedure with others, the costs will go up accordingly. Only a surgeon can give you an idea of the exact costs that may be involved.
The total costs involved in a facelift can be broken into a number of components:
As with most other cosmetic surgeries, facelift costs are given as block figures.
Almost all costs of a facelift are dependent on how long the procedure is likely to take.
You can expect surgical costs to fall within the following ranges:
GST must be added to all costs quoted.
A surgeon’s fee usually includes the cost of the procedure including pre-operative and post-operative care. That means you do not pay extra for a specified number of follow up visits or for follow up visits during a given period.
The surgeon’s fee depends on the surgeon you choose. The wide range in fees reflects differences in surgeons’ expertise in facial surgery, qualifications, experience, professional recognition and popularity.
Because there are medical doctors who are not qualified in surgery performing these operations—often at a discounted price—be sure the surgeon you choose has the requisite training and experience in surgical facelift techniques. Besides the typical risks and complications involved in any surgery, facelift surgery can lead to temporary or permanent numbness and weakness due to facial nerve injuries, dry or rough skin, facial asymmetry, hair loss around the incision sites and the need for revision surgery if scars are unsightly.
Surgeon’s fees are also likely to vary based on geography and where the surgeon’s offices and practices are located.
Your surgeon should provide you with a detailed breakdown of costs at the initial consultation.
Consultation fees range between $50 (AUD) and $500 (AUD), depending on the surgeon. If you see more than one surgeon—and you really should—you will have to pay a fee for each consultation.
Fees for the anaesthetist depend on their qualifications. A GP attending you as an anaesthetist during a facelift will charge much less than a qualified anaesthetist. Because your anaesthetist watches over your life and vital functions during surgery and ensures your comfort both during and after the procedure, using a qualified medical professional is important. Most qualified surgeons only use qualified anaesthetists.
Anaesthetists, like most other professional medical specialists, do not have a standard scale of fees. For cosmetic procedures the hourly charge ranges between $600 and $650 AUD. A facelift typically takes two or more hours, depending on how much work is needed. The anaesthetist’s fee increases with the time needed.
Hospital fees vary significantly from facility to facility. The key element is operating theatre fees. Most hospitals charge on an hourly basis, with the charge covering theatre fees, accommodation and sundries. For an hour, hospital fees start at around $750 (AUD) and can vary widely, sometimes by thousands of dollars.
Depending on the technique and the extent of work necessary, a facelift can take as little as two hours or as much as several hours. Sometimes it requires more than one surgical session to complete. Although facelifts can be performed as day procedures, an overnight stay can be required. Hospital costs increase significantly if an overnight stay is needed.
Medicare reimbursements cover only medically necessary procedures. Facelifts are treated as purely cosmetic procedures and are not covered.
Whether your private insurance fund covers facelifts depends on the type of cover you have. Some funds cover hospital fees and some other costs. Whatever elements are not covered by private insurance will be out-of-pocket expenses for you.
Before having surgery, clarify with your insurance fund what exactly is and is not covered.
We hope that this article gives you a better idea of the costs involved in lower and upper eyelid surgery. We welcome your comments on this article.