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Facelift (Rhytidectomy) Claims

If you have had a facelift – also known as a rhytidectomy – and there were complications caused by an error on the part of the cosmetic surgeon, you can make a claim for financial compensation.

A successful claim can help you pay for any restorative surgery you require, as well as compensate you for the physical and psychological damage and suffering your botched surgery has caused.

With more than £3 million won for our clients to date and a 95% win rate on claims we have pursued after obtaining medical evidence, the specialist legal team here at Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors are ready and waiting to help you win your case too.

We understand that you might have several questions about the claims process, and our team – led by Michael Saul, the UK’s leading expert in negligent cosmetic surgery – is happy to support you in any way it can.


Speak to Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors today on 0800 634 0285 or request a call back from one of our expert lawyers using the form on this page.

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About the facelift procedure

A facelift operation is often undertaken to counteract age-related issues such as loosening skin, wrinkles, forehead lines, the jaw line softening into jowls or vertical folds appearing at the front of the neck.

While the majority of these surgeries are generally successful in the UK, and can provide dramatic physical improvements for patients, there are also an increasing number of cases where the procedure goes wrong.

Facelifts are invasive procedures commonly performed under general anaesthetic, with the operation taking several hours. The exact duration of the procedure is dependent on the specific type of operation undergone by the patient.

To achieve the best results, surgery is often combined with additional procedures addressing the eyes, brows, cheeks and forehead. The result of a rhytidectomy is generally a smoother, more youthful appearance.

There are three main forms of rhytidectomy:

Surgery Process Guide to Superficial Musculo Aponeutronic System (SMAS)

This is the most common form of rhytidectomy, and is also known as a traditional facelift. SMAS (Superficial Musculo Aponeurotic System) is the facial suspension system of the face and restringing and securing of the SMAS can lead to the desired rejuvenation of the face.

Step by step process guide

  1. You will be given a general anaesthetic before the procedure begins.
  2. Once the anaesthetic has set in, your surgeon will make an incision along the hairline, down and past the front of the ears and up into the hairline behind the ears.
  3. Your skin is then detached from the underlying tissues.
  4. Surplus fat is then either removed or repositioned, and the skin is trimmed of any excess.
  5. The face is then stitched back into is new position. Permanent stitches can be left under the skin so that deep tissues are fixed in position.

Complications / signs of negligence

  • Hair loss or a change in hairline at the front or behind the ears.
  • Inappropriate scarring.
  • Permanent nerve damage.

Surgery Process Guide to Subperiosteal Facelift Surgery

This is similar to the SMAS in technique. It is performed by lifting the soft tissues vertically, separating them completely from the facial bones and raising them to the desired position. The procedure has a longer period of facial swelling during the recovery period than some of the other equivalent surgeries.

Step by step process guide

  1. Your surgeon will administer a general anaesthetic before the surgery commences.
  2. Just as in the SMAS technique, your surgeon will proceed to make an incision along your hairline. This incision will run down the hairline past the front of the ears, and back up into the hairline behind the ears.
  3. Your surgeon will then vertically lift the soft tissues on your face. This particular procedure involves performing at the deepest layers of the facial structure, therefore your surgeon will remodel the excess tissues at their bony origins, also removing any surplus fat and skin.
  4. The skin is then lifted over the reconstructed tissue and stitched in place.

Complications / signs of negligence

  • This procedure often results in a longer period of facial swelling.
  • Hematoma – this occurs when blood collects outside of the blood vessels, rather like a big bruise. Most hematomas appear within twenty four hours of the surgery.
  • Damage to the nerves, which can be temporary or, in rare occurrences, permanent.

Surgery Process Guide to Threadlift or Featherlift Rhytidectomy

This is a much less invasive technique than the traditional facelift procedure, often used to treat sagging or laxity around the eye, forehead and nasolabial fold areas. The lift can be performed under local anaesthesia and the cosmetic surgeon uses tailored surgical thread or barbed sutures to hold the skin into place. They are in effect the only things keeping the lift in effect as no skin is cut away.

Step by step process guide

  1. A local anaesthetic will be administered.
  2. A hollow needle is passed through the skin, and a barbed thread is then inserted into the skin through the needle.
  3. The barbed thread catches on soft tissues once inserted, helping to provide a structure that lifts the skin into its new position.
  4. After the needle is removed, your surgeon lifts the sagging areas with both smooth and barbed sutures before securing them down.
  5. The surgeon will sculpt the saggy skin by threading barbed sutures under the skin near the temple hairline.
  6. The threads are then tightened and positioned, lifting the face, before being secured and cut very close to the skin.

Complications / signs of negligence

  • You may experience an undesirable puckering effect to the skin surrounding the barbs securing the skin in place.
  • Visibility of the threads near the hairline.
  • Asymmetry of stitched skin

The duty of care for clinics and surgeons

Cosmetic surgeons and clinics have a strict duty of care to their patients that they must adhere to. This involves ensuring their patients are safe and protected from unnecessary harm.

However, if surgeons fail to adhere to this, they are liable for any physical, emotional or psychological harm they cause.

In addition, the clinic are not only responsible for reducing the levels of risk for patients, but also for informing potential patients about any possible limitations of the procedure, or the possibility of any complications that cannot be prevented.

What can go wrong?

It’s advised you wait to fully heal after your procedure before making a compensation claim, as some pain, bruising and swelling or different skin sensations are common.

However, if after a reasonable length of time has passed you still feel that your facelift surgery has gone wrong, you should contact us immediately so we can explain everything you need to know about making a claim.

The following problems are common after negligent facelift surgery:

  • Permanent nerve damage, or numbness of either the sensory or motor nerves of the face
  • Hairline distortion
  • Hair loss
  • Lop-sided or asymmetrical ears (“pixie ear” deformity)
  • Inappropriate scarring in front of or behind the ears
  • Over-tightening of skin
  • Necrosis – Loss or discolouration of skin through infection or lack of circulation

How can we help?

When the cosmetic surgeon or clinic is responsible for an error in a procedure, a claim for financial compensation can be made. Compensation could include damages for physical and psychological injury as well as any restorative medical surgery that may be required.

Due to the cosmetic surgery industry in the UK being inadequately regulated, it can be difficult to understand your legal position or know who to turn to for advice – that’s where we come in.

Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors has a win rate of over 95% for the claims we have pursued after obtaining medical evidence, successfully recovering over £3 million for our clients. Our cosmetic negligence claims team is led by Michael Saul, one the UK’s most experienced and successful solicitors in this field. That being the case, we are confident we can remove the complications and stress of the claims process and deliver the result that you want.


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