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If you’re considering a face-lift…
As people age, the effects of gravity, exposure to the sun, and the stresses of daily life can be seen in their faces. Deep creases form between the nose and mouth; the jawline grows slack and jowly; folds and fat deposits appear around the neck.
A facelift (technically know as a rhtitidectomy) can’t stop the aging process. What it can do is “turn the clock back” improving the most visible signs of aging by removing excess fat, tightening underlying muscles, and redraping the skin of your face and neck. A facelift can be done alone, or in conjunction with other procedures such as a forehead lift, eyelid surgery, or nose reshaping.
If you're considering a facelift, this web page will give you a basic understanding of the procedure, when it can help, how it's performed, and what results you can expect. It can't answer all of your questions since a lot depends on the individual patient and the surgeon. Dr Lista wants all of his patients to be as well informed as possible and encourages them to bring a list of questions to their consultation.
At the Plastic Surgery Clinic we perform approximately 40 to 50 facelifts and mini-facelift procedures per year. This makes Dr Lista a very experienced facelift surgeon. Dr Lista has one main philosophy when performing facelifts: to make all his facelift patients look soft and natural, and perform the operation as safely as possible. We want the patient to look rested and relaxed, the way they looked 10 years ago. Dr Lista strives to avoid making his patients look tight or pulled. Today, a number of new techniques are helping plastic surgeons to provide patients with more precise results and quicker recovery times.
The best candidate for a facelift
The best candidate for a facelift is a man or woman whose face and neck have begun to sag, but whose skin still has some elasticity and whose bone structure is strong and well-defined. Most patients are in there forties to sixties, but the surgery can be performed on patients who are younger or older.
A facelift can make you look younger and fresher, and it may enhance your self- confidence in the process. But it can't give you a totally different look, nor can it restore the health and vitality of your youth. Before you decide to have surgery, think carefully about your expectations and we encourage you to discuss them with Dr Lista.
The Office Visit
Dr Lista sees all his patients personally before surgery. If the patient lives in the Toronto area he prefers to see his patients twice, if possible, before their operation. In the consultation process we spend considerable time obtaining a careful history and physical examination. Facelifts are very individualized procedures. In your initial consultation Dr Lista will evaluate your face, including the skin and underlying bone, and discuss your goals for the surgery. We also spend a long time discussing the patient’s desires, goals and expectations. It is important that the patient discuss with Dr Lista their desired result. Not all expectations can be accomplished with surgery and it is important that these issues are carefully discussed before surgery. Photographs can be helpful in this regard and at The Plastic Surgery Clinic we have computerized digital imaging, which allows Dr Lista to show the patients examples of how they may look after surgery.
How Facelift is performed
Most facelift procedures are performed at The Plastic Surgery Clinic. The Plastic Surgery Clinic is located in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. We are just a few minutes drive from Toronto, Oakville and Brampton. Dr Lista performs all of the procedures personally. He does not have any assistants or students assist with your surgery. Dr Lista is Chief of Plastic Surgery at the Trillium Health Center (The Mississauga Hospital) so your operation can also be performed at the hospital if you prefer. The operation is performed either at our clinic or in the hospital. Your operation may be performed under local anesthesia with sedation or under general anesthesia. At the Plastic Surgery Clinic general anesthetics are administered by specialist physicians who are board certified in the specialty of anesthesia. These doctors give the anesthetic, stay with the patient during the entire operation and are with the patient while they are waking up. The operation takes several hours. A friend or relative will need to come and pick you up and stay with you for 24 hours.
Preparing for your surgery
Dr Lista will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications. Carefully following these instructions will help your surgery go more smoothly. If you smoke, it's especially important to stop at least two weeks before and after surgery; smoking inhibits blood flow to the skin, and can interfere with the healing of your incision areas.
If your hair is very short, you might want to let it grow out before surgery, so that it's long enough to hide the scars while they heal.
Incisions usually begin above the hairline at the temples, extend in a natural line in front of the ear and just inside the cartilage at the front of the ear, and continue behind the earlobe to the hairline behind the ear. If the neck needs work, a small incision may also be made under the chin.
In general, the surgeon tightens the skin and muscle below. Fat may be trimmed or suctioned from around the neck and chin to improve the contour. The surgeon then tightens the underlying muscle and membrane, pulls the skin back, and removes the excess. Stitches secure the layers of tissue and close the incisions.
The mini-facelift is a new procedure, which gives patients significant improvement in their appearance while minimizing the scars, reducing the bruising and shortening the downtime associated with full facelifts. A mini-lift is designed for the younger patient, typically in their 40’s, who need just a little tightening of the face, especially along the jaw line. One of the first signs of aging is looseness or laxity of the jawline, cheek and neck. A mini-lift tightens this looseness with minimal scarring and bruising. Younger patients, who don’t yet require a full face-lift, are the typical candidates for this operation. This procedure has the advantage of being easily repeatable in 5 to 10 years in order to maintain that fresh and rested look without resulting in a sudden, dramatic change in appearance.
Short Scar Facelift
The short scar facelift is a new technique to improve the final result of a facelift while minimizing the tell-tale scar. One of the most important considerations in aesthetic, cosmetic plastic surgery is to reduce the scars associated with any operation. The usual facelift scars leave a scar in front of and behind the ear. Usually these scars heal quite well, but occaisionally the scar behind the ear is more obvious than we would like it to be. This may make the scar visisble, especially when the hair is worn up. In the shor scar facelift Dr. Lista is able to perform a full face lift without leaving any scar behind the ear. New advances in surgical instrumentation and technique are what make this new approach possible. The results are as good with the short scar as the long scar methods but the scars are reduced by half. Most of the scarring in the short scar tmethod is inside the ear so that almost no scar show in front of the ear.
Following surgery, a small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin behind your ear to drain any blood that might collect there. Dr Lista will wrap your head loosely in bandages to minimize bruising and swelling. There isn't usually significant discomfort after surgery; if there is, it can be lessened with the pain medication prescribed by Dr Lista. The next day the tubes will be removed and the large dressing will be replaced with a much lighter dressing. You will be able to begin showering and washing your hair the next day.
Getting back to normal
You should be up and about in a day or two, but plan on taking it easy for the first week after surgery. Be especially gentle with your face and hair, since your skin will be both tender and numb, and may not respond normally at first.
Dr Lista will give more specific guidelines for gradually resuming your normal activities. They're likely to include these suggestions: Avoid strenuous activity, including sex and heavy work, for at least two weeks (walking and mild stretching are fine).Above all, get plenty of rest and allow your body to spend its energy on healing. You can start gentle exercise in two weeks but strenuous aerobics or weight lifting should be avoided for a month.
You will need to take one week off work. Most patients are back at work in about ten days to two weeks after surgery. If you need it, makeup can mask most bruising that remains.
All surgery carries some uncertainty and risk
When a facelift is performed by a qualified plastic surgeon complications are infrequent and usually minor. Still, individuals vary greatly in their anatomy, their physical reactions, and their healing abilities, and the outcome is never completely predictable.
Complications that can occur include hematoma (a collection of blood under the skin that must be removed by the surgeon), injury to the nerves that control facial muscles (usually temporary), infection, and reactions to the anesthesia. Poor healing of the skin is most likely to affect smokers.
You can reduce your risks by closely following Dr Lista’s advice both before and after surgery.
Your new look
The chances are excellent that you'll be happy with your facelift-especially if you realize that the results improve with time after your surgery. Even after the swelling and bruises are gone, the hair around your temples may be thin and your skin may feel dry and rough for several months. Men may find they have to shave in new places-behind the neck and ears-where areas of beard-growing skin have been repositioned.
You'll have some scars from your facelift, but they're usually hidden by your hair or in the natural creases of your face and ears. In any case, they'll fade within time and should be scarcely visible.
Having a facelift doesn't stop the clock. Your face will continue to age with time, and you may want to repeat the procedure one or more times-perhaps five or ten years down the line. But in another sense, the effects of even one facelift are lasting; years later, you'll continue to look better than if you'd never had a facelift at all.
A Facelift (Rhytidectomy) is a surgical procedure designed to smooth and firm the skin, providing a fresh, youthful appearance. Throughout one’s life, the sun’s radiation, stress, gravity, and other factors cause the skin to sag and fit more loosely. Areas of the face and neck, in particular around the jaw line, are especially prone to the aging process. Though these changes are gradual, wrinkles and other signs of aging can make individuals “feel older” than they really are.
Surgery for a facelift involves the contraction and realignment of facial and neck skin, and in some instances the removal of excess fat deposits. A facelift is often performed in combination with other facial cosmetic procedures and can be performed any time signs of aging begin to appear. However, patients are generally in their forties or older when they elect to undergo this procedure.
Reasons for Considering a Facelift:
Sagging skin, muscles, and fat in the face and neck.
Excess skin and fat on the neck.
Sagging jaw line.
Crease lines along the nose, mouth, and chin.
The standard procedure for a facelift commonly involves making small incisions just inside the hairline, following the contour in front of the ear, and continuing under the earlobe to the backside of the ear and to the lower scalp. Tissue and fat deposits are separated, the skin is stretched and tightened, and any excess skin is removed. If the neck line requires attention, an additional incision is made under the chin and the same procedure is again followed. Minuscule stitches are used to close the incisions and to reduce any chance of scarring. Metal clips or staples may also be utilized at the hairline.
A face lift may take several hours or longer depending on whether other cosmetic procedures are completed at the same time. Sometimes other procedures may be performed in separate appointments. There are several different facelift techniques that can be employed. Patients can discuss with their physician which method is best for them when they come in for their consultation.
Immediately after surgery, the face is fitted with bandages in order to decrease the recovery time and to reduce swelling. Generally, post-operative instructions call for plenty of rest and limited movement in order to speed up the healing and recovery process. The stitches, clips or staples are normally removed within a week. Patients sometimes report some minor pain associated with surgery. Any discomfort can be treated effectively with oral medication. While complications are rare, patients can minimize potential problems by carefully following the directions given after the procedure.