There is no “one procedure fits all,” it’s not like an appendectomy where a set piece of the body is removed. Face lift, a rhytidectomy on a large scale, is a balance between minimising the surgical interference and maximising the alteration: a reconstruction of the facial skin. As such, it is on every occasion an agreement between what the patient would like to have changed and how the surgeon thinks it can best be carried out.
In principle, the incision is made far back in the face, anterior (sometimes only, or also posterior) to the ear, and the facial skin tissues are lifted from the deeper tissues by undermining them. When the skin and subcutaneous tissues have been lifted as a unit, necessary tightening up (plication) of the muscular aponeurosis is performed as the surgeon considers indicated. The freed skin of the face is then drawn back and up to the incision line, and the newly defined excess quantity is trimmed off.