History of the Facelift By Stuart Baker on September 13, 2018

Older female patient examining her faceWhen environmental elements or the natural aging process affect the skin’s elasticity, many patients turn to cosmetic surgery. A facelift can minimize wrinkles, creases, and sagging skin for a more youthful, vibrant appearance.

Here, our team explores the history of the facelift and describes how the procedure came to be what it is today. To find out if you are a good candidate, contact our Decatur, IL practice.

When Was the First Facelift Performed?

The short answer? No one knows for sure. Early physicians who practiced cosmetic surgery were not eager to publicly discuss their findings. In that time period, surgery was primarily performed for medical reasons. In fact, antibiotics weren’t even available yet. For this reason, most patients considered cosmetic surgery unnecessary, dangerous, and vain.

The first recorded facelift was performed by Eugen Holländer in 1901. Reportedly, an elderly Polish noblewoman asked him to lift the corners of her mouth and her cheeks. To achieve the desired goal, a small elliptical section of skin was removed around the ears.

1900 to 1970

The same technique used by Holländer was used throughout the first 70 years of the 20th century. Facelift procedures were performed by stretching the skin and removing the loose, sagging, or excess parts.

During the First World War, an important discovery was made by Johannes Esser, a Dutch surgeon. He created the skin graft inlay technique (which is still used today) to treat wounded soldiers on both side of the war.

Other physicians, such as Gillies, Passot, and Noël followed in his footsteps. By this time, cosmetic surgery was being performed on a large scale.

1970 to 1980

Until this point, facelifts only involved lifting the skin, not the layers underneath. However, Tord Skoog, a Swedish physician, introduced this revolutionary concept, called subfacial dissection, in 1968.

Building off of Skoog’s discovery, Drs. Peyronie and Mitz presented the Superficial Musculoaponeurotic System (SMAS) in 1976. This continues to be the standard for facelift surgery today.

1980 to 1991

As time went on, techniques continued to improve. Dr. Paul Tessier introduced a deep plane facelift method in 1979. This concept lifted the eyebrows and surrounding structures more effectively than its traditional counterpart.

Facelifts in the Modern Age

As cosmetic surgery became more popular and widely accepted, physicians took the ideas presented in the early part of the 20th century and combined them with modern technologies and methods.

In addition to reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles, surgeons became more interested in restoring volume as well. Furthermore, incisions are now strategically placed to minimize scarring so patients can enjoy long-lasting, aesthetically pleasing results.  

Contact The Center for Cosmetic Medicine

The facelift procedure has come a long way since 1901. At our practice, Dr. Stuart Baker has several years of experience performing this cosmetic procedure. His goal is to deliver a dramatic, yet natural-looking result. To learn more about this treatment or to schedule a consultation, contact us online anytime or call one of our office locations.

Related to This

Dr. Stuart Baker

The Center for Cosmetic Medicine

Dr. Stuart Baker is a board-certified plastic surgeon with decades of experience. He has been recognized as a "master injector" by Allergan, the maker of BOTOX® Cosmetic and JUVÉDERM® products, for excellent patient outcomes. In addition to being a skilled plastic surgeon, he is also an orthopedic hand surgery specialist. His prestigious affiliations include:

  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons — ASPS 
  • American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery — ASAPS 
  • American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery — AACS 
  • American Medical Association — AMA 

Use our online form to schedule a consultation at a location near you in Monticello, Champaign, or Decatur. Or call us at:

(217) 877-9000

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