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Face Lift Information Guide (Cosmetic Surgery)
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Face Lift Information Guide

Mariusz J.A. Sapijaszko, MD FRCPC (Dermatology)

A face lift is a procedure that can make the face appear younger and rejuvenated, benefiting a lot of people. Many people are understandably hesitant about undergoing surgery, as they may feel that it is too drastic, or are afraid of having a “surgical look.” Fortunately, face lifting is an area that has undergone drastic improvements in recent years, and techniques have evolved, allowing less invasive procedures that many will find attractive. Face lifts can make a larger difference and succeed where alternative treatments such as creams and lotions, injectable fillers, chemical peels, and lasers have failed. For more about this procedure, visit

Face Lift Procedure:

Face lifts are still one of the most effective methods of rejuvenating the face, and can reverse many signs of aging on the face. Techniques vary from a simple skin excision to more complex procedures that involve the repositioning of skin, fat, and muscles. Due to patient demands for less invasive procedures, new techniques have been developed that require less down-time with less scarring. For all procedures, the physician that performs the surgery is required to have a full understanding of the natural aging process, as well as comprehensive understanding of the anatomy of the face and neck.

There are two important structures that are involved in face lift surgery. They are the platysma and superficial musculoaponeurotic system or SMAS. Platysma is a muscle that extends from the collar bones to the jaw line, while the SMAS is a structure that is deep within the skin fat, that reaches up to the temple and scalp at the top, and the platysma at the bottom. The facelift procedure is one that modifies one or more of these structures.
Our skin undergoes several changes as a part of the natural aging process. Skin will generally lose its elasticity as collagen levels are reduced, and facial fats become repositioned and lose volume. Bones and fat may also become remodelled. All of these factors lead to what we recognize as an aged face.

Modern face lift procedures use a variation of what is known as the two-plane face lift. This method modifies components of the skin as well as the SMAS-platysma area. Modification of the facial structures through resections, placations and suspensions are required for the procedure to be effective, providing the right framework for the skin to be re-draped. Where earlier procedures have sometimes produced a “surgical look” or had complications such as skin death, facial distortion, or significant scarring, the cause was often due to the stretching of skin without a supporting structure. Modern procedures are far less likely to result in such disasters due to our increased understanding of the anatomy and cosmetic procedures.

New Developments:

Developments in tumescent anesthesia and in the face lift procedures have allowed procedures to be done under local anesthesia, where in the past general anesthesia was the rule. The procedures use shorter incisions, and are recommended for patients with mild jowls or laxity in their neck and wish to rejuvenate these areas. The reduced recovery times, shorter scars, and reduced distortion to hairlines have made this procedure more appealing of an option for men and women.


Proper and effective communication with the physician is essential for best results in any procedure, and especially with any aesthetic procedure. During pre-operative consultation, the patient should be clear on their motivation for aesthetic improvements, as well as concerns and fears that they may have regarding the procedure. Important questions such as the procedure details, post-operative scarring, recovery time, whether the modification is temporary or sustained, and other vital questions should not be left unasked. With proper communication, a skilled surgeon, and modern techniques, a face lift can benefit almost all of us.

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