Facelift Surgery in Vancouver by Dr. Ritchie Younger
As we age, the elements, gravity, and genetics conspire against us and our skin loses its elasticity and begins to sag. A classical facelift (rhytidectomy) is the gold standard facial plastic surgery procedure designed to restore a more rejuvenated and youthful facial appearance for patients in their 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s.
As one of Vancouver’s leading facial plastic surgery experts, Dr. Ritchie Younger has been performing successful facelift procedures for over 30 years — bringing out a natural, more revitalized appearance in hundreds of happy, satisfied patients.
Pre-surgery – your facelift preliminary consultation and assessment
As with all plastic surgical procedures, Dr. Younger starts out with a preliminary consultation that is designed to assess your health, aesthetic and surgical requirements, as well as to equip you with the helpful and valuable information you need to make an informed decision.
During the consultation, Dr. Younger will examine the structure of your face and the texture, colour, and elasticity of your skin. Photographs will be taken for a pre-operative in-depth study. With our computer imaging system, Dr. Younger can show you what results you can expect from a facelift.
Individual risks will also be examined, especially those related to medical conditions such as high blood pressure, a tendency to scar, smoking, and any deficiency in blood clotting. Dr. Younger will take a thorough medical history, as well as assess your mental and emotional attitudes toward the surgery. A realistic attitude is vital to success.
About the facelift surgery
A facelift can be performed under local or general anesthetic. Dr. Younger will give you a recommendation of which is best for you but tends to steer towards performing facelifts under local anesthetic. This allows for quicker and easier recovery after the surgery, better results and fewer risks for the patient.
Incisions are made to fall along natural crease lines. The placement of the incision also depends on the hairline and is specific to the individual. The procedure starts at the temple hair area, continues along the ear fold around the earlobe and up behind each ear.
After the removal of excess fat and skin, the deep facial muscles are tightened. The skin is then redraped and incisions are closed with sutures and small metal clips. The classical facelift surgery is about 2 to 4 hours long.
Healing time after facelift surgery
Some swelling and bruising are normal but much of it will subside within the first week or two. A soft dressing applied under your chin and around your head protects the incisions for the first few days. We will be in close contact with you during your post-operative week.
By day 12, all the sutures will have been removed. Most people are ready to return to work after two weeks but may require makeup to cover up bruising for another week. We advise you to refrain from strenuous activities for a month. While significant improvement is evident in a relatively short period of time, the complete healing and results will keep getting better and can take as long as 2 years.
Although the classical facelift is the most commonly performed facelift at our clinic, there are a few variations. Below you will find information about the mini facelift and the stretch-back facelift, each with their own benefits.
A mini facelift is performed on clients with a minimal redundancy of skin or sagging in the lower face and in the upper neck. This procedure is done under local anesthesia with mild oral sedation. The mini facelift tightens up the skin and the facial muscles. This can typically be done with minimal incisions in front and/or behind the ear.
After surgery, most patients would be out of commission for 2 weeks. They may have mild bruising that will keep them out of work for that period-of-time, and ultimately it takes 3 to 4 months to heal completely.
Stretch-back facelifts are done on individuals had a facelift in the past. At the immediate time following surgery, the facial skin and muscles were tight and stretched as much as they could be. Over the course of the years following the surgery, the skin has relaxed and minimally sagged. Typically, the skin around the lower face and in the upper neck is more prone to post-surgical sagging.
During these circumstances, Dr. Younger performs a stretch-back facelift. Freezing the face and neck under local anesthesia, excess skin is resected, and the facial muscles tightened similarly to a full facelift but to a smaller degree.
The stretch-back facelift is less invasive than a full facelift but can give fantastic results. For those who have experienced skin relaxation following the initial surgery, which causes less-than-perfect results, a small stretch-back facelift will allow their face to tighten considerably. Preferably, the patient should wait at least 1 to 2 years following the initial facelift to have a stretch-back facelift. This would allow things to settle down. The stretch-back facelift can enhance the primary facelift substantially.
The neck lift is a rejuvenation surgical procedure that improves the loose skin, wrinkles, and sagging of superficial muscles around the neck, giving an appearance of a tighter neck and more defined jaw.
A large majority of our facelift clients have a neck lift simultaneously for optimum results. With a combination of a facelift and neck lift, a patient’s healing and downtime will increase. You need to allow for three full weeks of resting at home before the swelling has gone down. While significant improvement is evident in a relatively short period of time, the results will keep getting better and can take as long as 8 to 36 months to fully appear.
A brow lift is a surgical option for patients who have sagging brows and forehead skin resulting in a tired, sad or stressed appearance. It is a rejuvenation surgery that can create a more youthful, relaxed and awake look.
Prior to 1990, the only way to improve drooping eyebrows was to perform a substantial surgical procedure which involved mobilizing the entire forehead. It required big incisions to change the configuration of the eyebrows. Today, however, Dr. Younger can perform this procedure endoscopically with minimal invasiveness.
Brow lifts are favourable for individuals with crease lines in the mid-forehead. This allows Dr. Younger to pull their eyebrows up and camouflage the incision lines in some of the creases. Some clients who have high hairlines and drooping of the eyebrows may get the best results with a mid-forehead lift which involves a greater area extending higher throughout the forehead.
The brow lift takes 1.5 to 2 hours to perform and may be done under local anaesthesia. It takes up to 10 days for swelling and redness to resolve, and about 8 to 12 months for final results to appear.
Some clients with sagging eyebrows may benefit more from a minimal upper eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) procedure as an alternative to a brow lift since the removal of excess skin around the eyes reduces the tired impression that sagging eyebrows sometimes give. Dr. Younger will advise you as to which procedure will most benefit you.
Non-surgical alternatives to a brow lift
Today, brow lifts are sometimes delayed or replaced with injectables. By injecting in certain facial muscles of the forehead, the position of the brows can be improved.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Am I a Good Candidate for Facelift Surgery?
Facelift procedures are considered the gold standard when it comes to anti-aging, producing natural and long-lasting results that can’t be replicated with nonsurgical treatments. A facelift can take years off your appearance, but it cannot help you look 18 again or stop the natural aging process. What it can do is eliminate loose skin, sagging, and deep-set wrinkles that make you look older than you feel. Because these concerns usually appear later in life, the best candidates for a facelift are patients in their 40s, 50s or 60s. If you’re bothered by the following signs of aging, this procedure may be right for you:
- Moderate to severe sagging in the face or neck
- Loose skin, jowls or a drooping jawline
- Hollow or sunken-looking cheeks
- Deep lines, wrinkles or folds
- The appearance of a “turkey neck”
- Muscle bands or neck lines
For younger patients, more subtle signs of aging may be corrected with nonsurgical treatments, such as dermal fillers or Botox injections. Dr. Younger may also recommend a mini-facelift, which addresses mild sagging of the lower face and neck. No matter what age you are, he will thoroughly evaluate your needs and concerns during your consultation to recommend the most suitable approach.
What is the Recovery Process Like?
The recovery process after your facelift will depend on the extent of your surgery and which variation was used to achieve your goals. A full or classic facelift is more involved than other techniques and requires more downtime, with most patients feeling ready to return to work after two weeks. During this time, the majority of any swelling or bruising will have subsided, but strenuous activities will continue to be restricted for up to a month. Otherwise, the strain can cause incisions to open back up and complicate the healing process. Dr. Younger will check on your progress during follow-up appointments to ensure everything is going smoothly. It can take up to two years for complete healing after a full facelift.
In contrast, patients undergoing a mini-facelift or stretch-back facelift can typically return to work sooner and expect the overall healing process to last only three to four months. These procedures are less invasive and use minimal incisions for a quicker recovery. If you’re receiving a brow lift, the swelling usually subsides after 10 days, while a neck lift can take longer to initially heal, usually about two to three weeks. During your consultation, Dr. Younger will walk you through the recovery process, so you’ll know what to expect from your procedure.
Will There Be Visible Scarring?
As a cosmetic surgery, facelift surgeries require incisions to allow Dr. Younger to access and tighten the underlying skin, tissue and muscles of the face and neck. In such a visible area, we understand that patients may be concerned about scarring. Fortunately, facelift incisions are discreetly placed behind the ears or along the hairline. Some patients may also need incisions beneath the chin, depending on their concerns. These strategic locations, combined with Dr. Younger’s surgical skills, help ensure seamless, natural-looking results with little to no scarring. Following your procedure, you’ll also be sent home with aftercare instructions to improve post-surgical healing.
How Long Will My Results Last?
Facelifts provide significant and long-lasting results, but no surgery can stop the natural aging process. Time continues to march on, causing new wrinkles or sagging to occur. But with good skin care habits and a healthy lifestyle, you can expect to enjoy your results for up to 10 years after your facelift surgery. You can keep your skin looking its best by not smoking, staying hydrated and wearing sunscreen when you go outside. Nonsurgical treatments like dermal fillers or Botox can also help. If you’d like to prolong or enhance your results, Dr. Younger can perform a stretch-back facelift, which retightens your skin and muscles to maintain a youthful appearance.