Adult Content. Plastic Surgery is invasive and has risks.

Close this search box.

Plastic Surgery is invasive and has risks.

Close this search box.

The History of the Facelift Procedure

Model featured in photography

Facelift is one of the most popular and commonly performed surgical procedures because it reverses the signs of ageing. The procedure has been practised for over a century, but the techniques have evolved dramatically over time.

From a procedure that required a significant amount of time-consuming and laborious stitching operations, we now have light-based lasers that can thin wrinkled skin, tighten crepey skin on the neck, and reduce the appearance of jowls.

In this article, Artiste Plastic Surgery will discuss the timeline and development of facelift history.

Early Attempts at Facelifts

In 1901 in Berlin, a doctor named Eugen Holländer stated that he performed a facelift on an elderly noblewoman. The latter requested that he improve her appearance by lifting the corners of her mouth and cheeks.

Holländer complied by removing small, elliptical areas of skin just in front of the ears and then closing the incisions. However, because the excess skin was simply removed rather than lifted, this was not technically classified as a “facelift.”

The First Successful Facelift

In 1916, Dr Erich Lexer, a German surgeon and sculptor, refined Hollander’s technique. He was the first to perform a successful “lift” where the facial skin has been cut away from excess tissue, resulting in a tight skin resembling a “wind tunnel look”. This surgical procedure became the standard facelift for the next 60 years.

Development of Skin Grafting

In connection with the facelift history, a Dutch surgeon Johannes Esser developed a skin grafting technique as a result in providing medical care to wounded soldiers during the First World War. This surgical innovation has been a key factor in the development of facial plastic and reconstructive surgery.

Modern Facelift Techniques

Tord Skoog, a Swedish surgeon, pioneered the notion of subfacial dissection in the late 1960s. He proposed that manipulating and suspending the deeper layers beneath the skin produced better outcomes than standard procedures.

In the mid-1970s, Peyronie and Mitz explored Skoog’s methods and eventually described the superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS). This procedure, named by a French maxillofacial surgeon, Dr Paul Tessier, immediately became the new facelift standard and has continued to progress through Dr Tessier’s research until the late-1980s.

In his pursuit to further advance the SMAS procedure, Dr Sam Hamra was able to develop the deep plane facelift procedure in the 1990s. Similar to the SMAS technique, this procedure targets the lower layer of tissue, resulting in a more natural-looking outcome.

And in early 2000, Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr Kao developed an approach known as the ponytail facelift. This technique transforms your face with minimal incisions while preserving the natural blood supply to the skin and facial tissues.

The Future of Facelifts

The future of facelifts is always evolving. New techniques and technologies are constantly being developed to improve the results of this popular cosmetic procedure.

Esser, Skoog, and Tessier’s techniques are still in use today. Surgeons are continually looking for ways to improve the facelift. Significant efforts have been made to reduce scarring and achieve longer-lasting benefits. We’ve gone a long way since Hollander’s initial facelift attempt.

Schedule a Consultation Today

For additional information about the facelift surgery in Sydney and how it can help you look younger, less tired, get in touch with our team at Artiste Plastic Surgery. Dr Jack Zoumaras, our Specialist Plastic Surgeon, has years of experience and a unique facelift technique to help you achieve natural-looking facelift results. Book your appointment today. 

Disclaimer: At Artiste Plastic Surgery, our Plastic Surgeons led by Dr Jack Zoumaras have been trained to the highest possible degree. All surgery has risks and it is always advised to get a second opinion. Risks are very real and we cannot guarantee any result. Results are illustrated as a guide only. All risks are managed and any need for revision surgery or complications (1-5%) can be managed by our specialist plastic surgeons.

Any statements on how you will feel is based on Level V Evidence:

Level V:  How you will feel after plastic surgery varies between individuals, depending on psychological and physical factors. Our internal research is based on how patients in our practice feel after surgery.

The blogs are not a substitute for a medical consultation and do not form as part of the doctor to patient relationship.


Reasons Facelifts Fail And How To Avoid Them

Some people opt for facelift surgery to address visible signs of ageing, including fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin. While most often the outcomes align with patients’ expectations, there are ...

What Is A Direct Neck Lift?

Disclaimer: Results vary and are illustrated as a guide only. Ageing gracefully is a goal for many, but sometimes the natural ageing process leads to changes that make people consider ...


Artiste Plastic Surgery is an Award Winning Specialist Plastic Surgery practice led by internationally trained Dr. Jack Zoumaras, Plastic Surgeon and Peer Reviewed Face Surgeon

Artiste offers the latest Cosmetic Surgical Procedures of the Face, Breast and Body, inspired from leading centres around the world.


Enter your email address below to receive updates on new articles and VIP access to promotions and special offers.


Book a Consultation

Feel free to complete the form or to contact us:

  • Drop files here or
    Accepted file types: jpg, gif, png, pdf, Max. file size: 20 MB, Max. files: 10.