Facelift Facts: a Singapore Doctor’s Overview (2019)

If there was one thing most of my patients wish to freeze is their younger looking skin. There is not a day in my clinic that I am asked about the remedies available to stop the body from ageing. Unfortunately, there is not yet a cure for ageing. The most we can do is to slow the process or restore the skin back to its youthful glow. However, restoration also is not permanent.

Because of the demand for treatments to reverse signs of ageing, aesthetic professionals all around the world continue to do studies and develop new ways to cater to patients’ needs. A majority of the treatments available is concentrated on the most common part of the body where ageing is definitely obvious once it sets in: the face.

Facelift treatments come in a variety of forms. You might have searched for the best facelift procedure online only to be overwhelmed by several treatments claiming to be the on top of the list. Allow me to enlighten you about this topic.

In this article, I will be discussing facts about facelift that can hopefully help you to reach the right decision regarding the treatment most suitable for your condition.

Introduction to Facelift

Rhytidectomy, or facelift as it is widely known as is a procedure done in cosmetics that are geared to address signs of ageing occurring in the face. Facelift procedures can either be invasive, minimally invasive, or non-invasive. During the earlier times, having a facelift done connotes going under the knife. As the cosmetic industry continues to improve, different facelift procedures that do not require patients to undergo invasive surgeries have been developed.

Types of Facelift Procedures

Facelift procedure

Facelift procedures can be categorized into 3 types:

  • Invasive
  • Minimally invasive
  • Non-invasive

An invasive facelift procedure requires an incision or cut done to the body with the use of medical-grade instruments in order to perform an improvement to a certain part of the face. This is called the surgery in simple terms.

A minimally invasive facelift procedure also requires incision; however, this is done by creating an entry through the skin through a tiny opening with the goal of leaving minimal to zero damage to all the parts involved.

A non-invasive facelift procedure is carried out without any break or cut done in the skin during the entire procedure. To note, some minimally invasive facelift procedures may be tagged as non-invasive procedures.

Tip: Long-lasting facelift results can be expected from invasive procedures.

Examples of Each Type of Facelift Procedure





  • Mini facelift surgery

Lasts for 2 to 6 years at most.

  • Full facelift surgery

Lasts for 8 to 12 years at most.

Minimally invasive

  • Threadlifts

Lasts approximately for 2 years.


  • High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)
  • Radiofrequency

Lasts for 6 months to a year.

Can Botox and Dermal Fillers Be Considered as a Facelift Procedure?

Botox and dermal fillers are similar to a facelift procedure in the sense that they serve a common goal, which is to restore the skin’s youthful glow. The big difference is that neither of the two works to lift the face.

Botox, once injected to the skin, works to disable the nerve cells that receive the signal from the brain, thereby freezing the muscle from contracting and causing wrinkles in the skin.

Dermal fillers, on the other hand, address the skin’s volume loss by restoring it to its fullness once the Hyaluronic Acid in the fillers kicks in. Naturally, our body develops Hyaluronic Acid on its own. Hyaluronic Acid is responsible for keeping our skin supple and firm. However, as we grow old this ability degenerates as well.

Unfortunately, both Botox and dermal fillers do not work on sagging skin, which facelifts procedures target best.

What Are the Benefits That Can Be Done by a Facelift Procedure?

There are numerous signs of ageing that can happen on the face. Sadly, not all can be addressed by a facelift procedure. The following are the benefits that can restore your younger looking skin brought about by a facelift procedure:

  • Firms and tightens loose skin
  • Improves the appearance of nasolabial folds
  • Minimizes sagging of cheeks and jowls
  • Smoothens wrinkles and fine lines

How Do I Know if I Am a Suited Candidate for a Facelift Procedure?

Prior to any aesthetic procedure, one very important step is coming in for a doctor’s consultation. This is where a patient’s face is assessed whether he or she is a suitable candidate for a facelift procedure. Expert doctors want their patients to enjoy the optimal results that a successful facelift can bring. Hence, they look at the following during assessment to ensure that a patient is suited for a facelift:

  • Bone composition
  • Elasticity of the skin
  • Skin laxity

The bone’s composition is generally considered as this gives support to the skin. A weak bone structure can only lead to substandard results from a facelift procedure, so your doctor should be able to recommend a different treatment to address your skin’s condition.

Another crucial element to achieving a successful facelift is having skin that is able to go back to its normal state after stretching. This is referred to as elasticity. As a facelift procedure aims to smoothen out wrinkles, it is important that the skin is very flexible.

Lastly, doctors check on skin laxity. Skin laxity refers to the sagging excess skin on certain parts of the face. This is the main target of facelift procedures. If your face does not exhibit any loose skin then another treatment might work best on your ageing symptoms.

Are There Risks and Side Effects Involved in a Facelift Procedure?

Any cosmetic procedure has its own trail of possible risks and side effects that can happen during the treatment or after it. Major risks and side effects often go together with an invasive or surgical facelift.





  • Mini facelift surgery
  • Full facelift surgery
  • Bruising
  • Hematoma
  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Pain or discomfort during the procedure and after
  • Scarring

Minimally invasive

  • Threadlifts
  • Asymmetry
  • Bruising
  • Minor pain or discomfort during the procedure
  • Swelling
  • Thread extrusion
  • Thread migration


  • High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)
  • Radiofrequency
  • Minor pain or discomfort during and after the procedure
  • Skin discolouration
  • Swelling
  • Numbness

How Long is the Downtime Needed After a Procedure?

time after procedure

Invasive facelift procedures usually have longer downtimes as compared to minimally invasive and non-invasive procedures. Healing for patients who have undergone the knife would normally need a minimum of 2 to a maximum of 4 weeks recovery period. This is also considering that there are no side effects that occur after the surgery.

For the minimally invasive and non-invasive procedure, the maximum downtime is 2 days. This would differ from patient to patient. Most of my patients are able to return to their daily routine right after a facelift procedure.

How Much Money is Needed to Cover All of the Costs of a Facelift Procedure?

The cost of a surgical facelift is remarkably higher than the non-surgical ones. In Singapore, facelifts that need an operation can cost around $10,000 to a maximum of $50,000.

Non-surgical facelifts can cost around $1,500 to a maximum of $7,000.

Unfortunately, Medisave does not cover facelifts as they are considered as cosmetic procedures.

What Should I Look for in a Doctor That Can Perform a Facelift Procedure?

It is very important that you find a reputable doctor for your facelift procedure. Some considerations you should look into when looking for a doctor are:

  • Skills, knowledge, and experience – a doctor should be able to explain to you every detail of a treatment that he practices. Ensure that he is the one handling the entire procedure, be it a surgical or non-surgical facelift. You certainly do not want inexperienced hands to work on your face.
  • Honesty and integrity – a doctor that cares for the welfare of his or her patient are keen to share honest and unbiased recommendations. Likewise, he or she provides clarity when it comes to the pricing of his or her services.

You can always ask for recommendations or read reviews online about doctors who perform facelift procedures. During a consultation, you may also request for photos of the outcome of previous facelifts that the doctor completed to see whether the style used suits your taste.

Final Tips

The success of a facelift procedure does not only lie on the abilities of the doctor or the procedure itself but on the patient as well. Your role to play comes after a facelift procedure is done.

The healing and recovery stage of your skin is vital. During this time, it is imperative that you follow all the aftercare instructions given by your doctor. There may be a need to let go of some unhealthy lifestyle and vices. But remember, a little sacrifice can go a long way - especially when it is our body’s health that is at stake. I wish you well on your journey back to restoring your younger looking skin! Good luck!