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What is a Surgical Facelift?

A surgical facelift is a set of procedures used for moderate-to-advanced signs of lower facial aging such as jowling and loss of jawline definition. The goals are to tighten loose, sagging facial skin and soft tissue to restore a natural and more youthful facial appearance. A surgical facelift is often combined with a forehead lift, neck lift, blepharoplasty, or laser skin resurfacing to create a natural, balanced result.   

Am I a good candidate for a surgical facelift?

If you have jowling, a heavy neck, loss of jawline definition, sagging of the midface with deep nasolabial folds, or a droopy smile with deep marionette lines, then a surgical facelift is a great option. It is typically used for patients who have more moderate-to-advanced signs of facial aging and would like a more permanent result.

How is a surgical facelift performed?

Most patients undergo moderate intravenous sedation with local tumescent anesthesia and remain in “twilight” throughout the case. Skin incisions are typically placed in the temporal hairline and around the ear and then the skin is separated from the underlying muscle and connective tissue. Depending upon unique anatomical changes, portions of this underlying tissue are tightened, resuspended, or removed to create a deep and powerful lift. The redundant skin is then removed and the incision is closed with sutures.  

How long is the recovery after a surgical facelift?

Bruising, redness, swelling, and mild discomfort around the surgical site is normal for the first 10-14 days. Most patients feel comfortable in social settings after 2 weeks but physical activity should not be strenuous for 4 weeks after surgery. A bandage compression dressing is often used to minimize bruising and swelling and occasionally a thin tube is placed to prevent the collection of fluid or blood.

How long will results last after a surgical facelift?

A surgical facelift can turn the clock back 10-20 years but the aging process will still continue. Non-surgical maintenance treatments using radiofrequency or ultrasound tightening can be done yearly to extend the benefits of surgery by delaying the aging process.

Are there any non-surgical options that can be used?

There are many non-surgical treatment options to address mild-moderate signs of facial aging including medical-grade skincare, chemical peels, laser skin resurfacing, radiofrequency or ultrasound soft tissue tightening and injectables such as botulinum toxin (Botox, Xeomin, Dysport) or dermal fillers (e.g. Restylane, Juvederm, Scuptra, Kybella, etc.). There are also resuspension procedures such as Silhouette Lift or EFI Thread Lift which are minimally-invasive. However, if you have moderate-severe signs of facial aging as described above, these aforementioned treatment options should only be used as adjuncts to a surgical facelift or for maintenance purposes. You do not want to invest your time, energy and money into treatments that do not yield measurable results you will truly enjoy.


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Lead Surgeon

Dr. Basil Hassouneh

Facial Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Basil Hassouneh MD FRCSC has highly focused expertise in nasal and facial surgery. He performs hundreds of cosmetic surgical and non-surgical treatments including rhinoplasty and face-lifts each year in a diverse international practice that includes Toronto and Dubai.

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