What is a Facelift?
A Facelift is an operation designed to restore the youthful contours and skin tone of the lower face and neck, lost through ageing and environmental exposures. It can be combined with a brow lift to improve the upper face, blepharoplasty to improve the orbital area, and often is combined with additional procedures like fat grafting to further rejuvenate facial contours. It does not change the quality of skin, but can be combined with skin treatments like chemical peel to improve the skin.
Who is a good candidate for a Facelift?
Anyone whois in good general health,is at a stable weight, and is concerned with facial ageing can be considered. Some obtain surgery in their 40s to avoid early signs of ageing, and some wait until their 70s when they realize that they still feel youthful but are being treated like an old person. Some of our patients have suffered premature ageing as a result of medical illness, medications or smoking. If we have your complete medical history we can design a treatment approach that minimizes the risks of your procedure.
At your Consultation
Facelift surgery is particularly vulnerable to the effects of smoking, so it is very important that your smoking history be discussed at consultation. We will ask to see examples of any previous scars (from surgery, accidents, even chicken pox), as these can give a clue to your potential for unusual scarring. Any history of skin cancer will also be a consideration.
It is very helpful to have with you your complete medical history and list of current medications, and any current (past three months) blood test results. You can call our office before your consultation and we would be happy to assist you in preparing for your visit. Bring your calendar as well so we can help you choose a date should we agree to proceed.
Alternatives to Facelift Surgery
Injectable hyaluronic acid fillers (e.g. Juvederm, Restylane) can mask some of the early signs of ageing, but if used to plump out the skin result in so-called ‘Pillow face’ deformity. Tissue-tightening procedures (RF and Ultherapy) rely on the heating of facial subcutaneous tissue and risk loss of fat and thus an older appearance! Treatments that target the skin (peels, laser, radio-frequency heating) can improve skin quality especially from sun damage, but unlike a facelift do not address the loss of volume and tone in the underlying tissues. Your facelift consultation must include a consideration of all the possible tools that could help achieve your best result possible.
Costs of Facelift Surgery
Fees for facelift surgery at our Toronto Cosmetic Plastic Surgery office (including facility and anesthetist) range from $10,000 to $15,000, depending on the extent of surgery that is necessary. In the unlikely event of requiring a ‘touch-up’ procedure for optimal results, no surgeon fee is charged.
Preparation for surgery
We need you to be healthy and at a stable weight before surgery. We provide written instructions on all aspects of preparation, and will review these with you in the weeks before surgery. Your procedure will be performed as day surgery. A driver will be necessary to bring you home after surgery. We will generally need to see you the day after surgery to remove initial dressings and evaluate early healing.
Your operation can be performed under general anesthetic (asleep) or with intravenous sedation. Surgery will be performed either at our accredited office-based surgical facility, or at the hospital if medical concerns are conspicuous.
We customize each procedure to your priorities. A facelift incision (see below) often begins in the hairline at the temples, continues around the ear and ends in the lower scalp. Fat may be sculpted from the lower face, jowls and neck, and underlying tissue is repositioned, commonly with the deeper layers of the face (the ‘SMAS’) lifted. Skin is re-draped over the uplifted contours and excess skin is trimmed away. Fat-grafting is performed to add volume to the upper face and cheeks. A second incision under the chin may be necessary to further improve an aging neck. Sutures close the incisions.
Our goal is to achieve a natural ‘non-operated’ appearance, 5-10 years of rejuvenation, and a rapid recovery to normal activities. We do not perform thread lifts, but will recommend a short-scar facelift technique for patients who do not have a significant problem with loose neck skin.
Rhytidectomy patient shown before surgery with deep cheek folds, jowls, ptotic soft tissues, and loose skin on the front and side of neck.
Incisions are variable, made on either side of the face from inside the hairline at the temples (see photo) or more commonly a trichophytic incision in front of the hairline, in front of or partially within the ear, around the earlobe, in the crease behind the ear and into the lower scalp.
Loose skin is pulled up and backward, and the excess is removed. In many patients, the underlying tissues (SMAS) are used to reposition soft tissues from the lower face jowls back up to the mid-face cheeks, restoring more youthful facial contours.
The postoperative patient following a facelift with smoother, firmer skin on the face and neck, and fullness restored to upper cheeks.
Safety and Risks
In the short term, risks are those typical of surgery and anesthesia. Bleeding under the skin is a concern but this risk can be minimized with simple precautions.
We do not use drains, you can shower the day after surgery, and we begin suture removal 5 days after surgery. Final suture removal is 12 days post-op. To minimize the risk of bleeding, we ask that you avoid activities that ‘make your face red’ (e.g. vigorous exercise, bending over to tie shoelaces) for 10 days after surgery.Most patients have returned to work undetected by two weeks.
You can expect to be impressed by an improved appearance by 10 days after surgery. Surgery turns back the clock but does not stop the ageing process, however the operation is designed to allow a repeat procedure (typically 10 years later).
We believe that our practice offers the best facelift surgery results in Toronto. Come in for a consultation, and you will leave wiser, and perhaps scheduled for a beautiful transformation.