A facelift is the gold standard surgical procedure to address signs of facial aging.  It acts to combat the effects of gravity on the skin and soft tissues of the face and neck.  It also addresses loss of skin elasticity.  A facelift may soften the nasolabial and marionette lines, correct jowls, and add definition to the neckline.  It restores volume to the midface to create a more youthful appearance.  So, how exactly is a facelift performed?

  • Anesthetic

Although a facelift may be performed under conscious sedation, I recommend a general anesthetic for all of my patients proceeding with facelift.  It ensures that a board-certified anesthesiologist has secured your airway and is closely monitoring you during the procedure.  You will not experience any discomfort and your blood pressure may be maintained at a stable level and closely monitored throughout the surgery.  It also ensures maximum patient safety and comfort.  It ensures you remain in stable position and are not moving during the surgery, which could increase the risk of inadvertent injury to surrounding structures.  You will awaken following the general anaesthetic in the recovery room and are generally kept overnight for monitoring and pain control prior to discharge home the following morning.

  • Skin incisions

Redundant skin is removed through gentle redraping during a facelift, which requires skin incisions to be made.  The goal is to minimize apparent scarring once healed.  Incisions are carefully designed to follow the hairline at the sideburn region and then to skirt around your ear and back into the hairline, concealing the scars within natural creases and junction points.  Skin flaps are undermined to the mid-cheek and neck level and then redundant skin is removed while avoiding excess tension.   Greater tension on the incisions may compromise the aesthetic result and also increase risk of wound healing complications.

  • Adding volume

The goal of facelift surgery is to restore midface volume while lifting redundant tissue from the lower face.  This is most commonly achieved through a muscle suspension, referred to as a “SMAS plication”.  The SMAS refers to the superficial facial muscles, or superficial musculoaponeurotic system to be technically precise.  While older techniques used to resect a portion of muscle, we now understand that volume is lost through facial aging.  Suspending the muscles by stitching to a higher position is the most common technique currently used for facelifts.  It poses lower risk of injury to nerves which travel in deeper facial layers.  Depending on clinical presentation, additional volume may also be desired to create a more youthful look.  A facelift may be performed in combination with facial micro fat grafting to add greater volume as desired and to further soften facial lines.

Please contact us if considering facelift surgery in the Toronto area to schedule a consultation with female plastic surgeon, Dr. Stephanie Power.  An in depth consultation will be performed to carefully evaluate your aesthetic concerns and to formulate an individualized treatment plan to achieve the best aesthetic outcome.

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