Facelift

A facelift, otherwise known as rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure done to reverse the signs of aging. After a facelift, the skin appears more youthful and taut because the underlying muscles of the face have been tightened. Additionally, a facelift can create more aesthetically pleasing contours in the cheeks and improve facial structure that has been affected by time and the elements.

Who is a good candidate for a facelift procedure?

People with loose skin on the face and neck but still have enough skin elasticity (to allow for the new facial contours to conform to the rest of the facial structure) are good candidates for a facelift. Facelifts can be performed on men and women alike as long as they are in overall good health. There is no age limit for undergoing a facelift; however, most surgeons will not perform this procedure on people who aren’t in their mature stage of life. You will also need to possess a strong bone structure to give your new facial contours support. If you lack sufficient bone structure, facial implants can be inserted along with the facelift procedure to give the appearance of more defined cheekbones.

Moreover, ideal facelift candidates are non-smokers. Smoking hinders our body’s natural healing process and if you do smoke, you will need to stop at least two weeks before your procedure. You will also need to remain smoke free as your recover to allow your body to receive ample oxygen.

Finally, you will also need to discuss your medical history with your surgeon and he/she will use that information to determine if you are a candidate for a facelift.

What is the recovery process from a facelift like?

There is a degree of discomfort caused by the swelling and bruising that appears following a facelift. Your doctor will prescribe painkillers and antibiotics (if needed) to help deal with these symptoms. These symptoms will subside in time and are no cause for concern.

In the first week following your procedure, you should rest and avoid strenuous activities. You can, however, partake in some light walking to stimulate blood flow. Furthermore, you cannot get your face wet but can use cool compresses on your eyes to provide relief. You will also need to sleep with your head elevated and avoid anywhere where there is excess heat or steam such as a sauna, hot tub, pool, shower or bath.

Many people return to work two weeks after their facelift, depending on if the swelling and bruising has completely subsided. Each person heals differently so it’s important to listen to your body (and your surgeon) to determine when you can go back to work. The same goes for exercise. Most people take at least six weeks following their facelift to undertake strenuous workouts.

As for makeup, you will need to wait until your surgeon gives you the full approval. They will evaluate your skin as you heal in order to determine when you can start wearing makeup again. You will also be required to stay out of the sun as you heal and wear sunscreen every time you leave the house.

What to look for in a facelift surgeon

There is only one recognized professional body of plastic surgeons in Canada, the Canadian Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (CSAPS). Besides being recognized by CSAPS, the surgeon you choose to do your facelift must be board-certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Likewise, a good surgeon will make you feel at ease and establish a level of trust with you.

1. How long have you been practicing?

2. Where did you do your training?

3. How many facelift procedures have you performed?

What are the techniques used?

There isn’t a one-size-fits all solution when it comes to facelift procedures. Traditional facelifts encompass different techniques and there are five specific approaches used. Your surgeon will discuss each in detail with you to conclude the best course of action for your facial structure and degree of skin elasticity. It also depends on the amount of fatty deposits and excess tissue that need to be removed during the procedure.

The five facelift techniques are:

1. Endoscopic: This type of facelift involves a microscopic camera (endoscope) that is attached to a tiny handheld wand. Three small incisions are made at the hairline at the temple and inside the mouth. One incision is done to insert the endoscope and the other two are to remove excess skin, fat and tissue from the underlying facial structure. The muscles are also tightened to address the drooping effect of aging.

2. Cutaneous: This type of facelift is done to address only sagging and excess skin. An long incision is made along the hairline and the results of a cutaneous facelift often create a more stretched look.

3. SMAS: This type of facelift deals with the superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS) and is usually performed in lieu of the the cutaneous lift. During this procedure, the surgeon will lift and tighten the underlying muscle structure of the face and eliminate excess skin and fatty deposits. Incisions are made in front of, inside and behind the ears.

4. S-Lift: This type of facelift treats the jaw and lower portion of the face. Incisions are made in front of the ears in an S-shape.

4. Deep Plane Lift/Supperiosteal: This type of facelift treats the mid-face region like the deep nasolabial folds. The tissues above the facial bones are also targeted. Incisions are made below the lower lash line or inside the mouth. These facelifts are rare since they come with a risk of nerve damage.

Along with a facelift many people undergo lip augmentation, eyelid surgery and facial implants. Lip augmentation gives you fuller, plumper lips and is done through dermal fillers, fat grafting or lip implants. Eyelid surgery can enhance a facelift by lifting sagging eyelids and excising dropping skin and fat pockets. Facial implants add volume to the cheeks and define a sloping chin.