Facelift In-depth

‘If you are contemplating Facial Rejuvenation Surgery, Toronto Facelift surgeon Dr. Lawrence Tong will help you attain a smoother and younger looking neck and face’


Are you looking older than you feel? Starting in the mid 40’s, the signs of facial aging may start to accelerate. You may see deepening of smile lines, formation of creases at the corners of the mouth, the beginning of jowls, drooping of neck skin, and general sagging of the face and neck. If you have some of these changes and want to correct them, Toronto Facelift surgeon Lawrence Tong, MD may have the solution for you.

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What a Facelift Accomplishes

The Facelift is the foundation for rejuvenation of the aging face and neck. Although the name might imply otherwise, a Facelift helps to restore a more youthful appearance to the not only the Face, but the Neck as well.

The benefits of a Facelift can be categorized into Facial and Neck improvements:

Facial improvements:

  • Lifts and tightens the facial skin
  • Elevates the jowls (for a clean, sleek jawline)
  • Elevates descended cheek fat (for healthy, youthful cheek fullness)
  • Helps to smooth the folds in the corners of the mouth (marionette lines) and smile lines (nasolabial folds)

Neck improvements:

  • loose neck skin is removed and tightened
  • fat in the neck and under the chin is removed
  • the vertical ‘neck bands’ that are caused by neck muscle laxity are corrected
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Who is a candidate for Facelift?

For the many potential patients in Toronto, Facelift surgery is best suited for those who have concerns with both the face and neck. Men and women with visible signs aging who want to look younger are typical candidates.

The typical patients are:

  • Patients that have moderate to advanced signs of aging in the face and neck
  • Younger patients with significant excess neck skin and/or fat, who may also have moderate facial aging
  • Patients who have lost significant weight and have substantial facial and neck skin sagging

Additional criteria:

  • Patients should be healthy and relatively fit
  • Smoking must be stopped at least 2 weeks prior to surgery, and not be restarted afterwards
  • Dr. Tong will evaluate your overall health status to make sure surgery is appropriate for you

Issues to be Considered about a Facelift

A Facelift is an important component of facial rejuvenation. Some patients incorrectly assume the procedure will also lift the brow (in addition to the face and neck). Although the brow and forehead IS part of the face, it is NOT affected by a Facelift procedure. A Brow Lift is a separate procedure that is commonly performed simultaneously with a Facelift.

Likewise, the eyelids are not affected by having a Facelift. These are separate procedures that can be performed in conjunction with a Facelift, if desired. A very common combination of facial rejuvenation surgery would comprise of (i) Facelift, (ii) endoscopic brow lift, (iii) upper and lower Blepharoplasty. During your Facelift consultation, Dr. Tong will discuss these other procedures if appropriate.

A Facelift generally lasts between 7-10 years; if repeated before that time period, it is unlikely that another Facelift would give a significant improvement. Continued sun exposure, cigarette smoking, significant weight changes, and genetics factors could reduce the longevity of the result. The vast majority of patients who undergo a Facelift procedure never have a second Facelift procedure.

Any surgical procedure will leave some type of scar. Dr. Tong surgeon specializes in obtaining the least visible scars, and putting them in the least visible places.

The incision for a Facelift:

  • starts at the earlobe, and travel upwards along the natural curves of the edge of the ear
  • the incision continues into the hair of the temple, for approximately 4 cm
  • an alternate incision that travels along the edge of the sideburns (following the hairline), may be used instead of one that goes into the hair
  • from the earlobe it also travels, along the back of the ear along the fold where the ear meets the side of the head and slightly along the posterior hairline
  • A small incision is also made in the ‘double chin’ fold to access fat and the lax neck muscles at the midline of the neck

These scars hide well because they blend into the natural curves and lines. Once the incisions have matured, the majority of women are not concerned of visible Facelift scars.

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Facelift Procedure Details

Dr. Tong usually performs the procedure under general anesthesia, or deep IV sedation. During the time you are under general anesthesia, you will be asleep and completely unaware of the surroundings. With IV sedation (‘twilight’) anesthesia, you may be aware from time to time, but should feel no discomfort.

Dr. Tong performs your surgery in the CAAASF accredited private surgery centre, within the medical complex where his office is located, at 199 Avenue Road, in downtown Toronto.

Dr. Tong starts the Facelift by making the incisions, and then exposing the underlying muscle layer of the neck and cheeks. He then tightens this underlying muscle layer, which in elevates the descended cheek and jowl tissues. In the neck, Dr. Tong tightens the lax neck muscles to eliminate vertical banding, and to obtain a deep angle under the chin. He also removes from under the chin. The facial and neck skin is then re-draped to achieve a natural, non-operated look, and the incisions are meticulously stitched back together. After he Dr. Tong places the last stitches, a Facelift dressing is applied, and you are gently awakened from anesthesia.

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Recovery after Facelift in Toronto

Patients are strongly encouraged to stay overnight in our overnight suites following a Facelift procedure. After the effects of anesthesia have largely worn off, the nurses will transfer you to our overnight stay centre. There, you will stay the night, monitored by our registered nurses, making sure that you are attended to, comfortable, and safe.

The next morning, Dr. Tong will to visit you and remove dressings. Afterwards, he will allow you to be picked up by your family/friend(s) to go home.

At home, you should rest and relax as much as possible. You may do non-strenuous activities such as watching television, reading, and making small meals. Sleep in a reclining chair, or use multiple pillows to keep your head elevated when you sleep. This helps decrease facial swelling. Pain is typically mild. Dr. Tong will prescribe pain medication, which can be used during this time. You will have some bruising that lasts 1-2 weeks. The majority of patients return (non-strenuous) work at 10-14 days.

You will have an appointment with Dr. Tong at one week to have stitches removed. He will likely allow you to start light exercise (e.g. waking) at 1-2 weeks after surgery. Avoid strenuous activity until 4-6 weeks after surgery. After the initial post-op visit, you will follow up with Dr. Tong at 6 weeks, 6 months, and one year after surgery. Post-operative photos are taken at these visits.

As with any surgery, there are risks involved with having a Facelift done. Although the procedure has a low risk profile, Dr. Tong will make sure to go over the potential problems associated with Facelift at the time of your consultation

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Become Educated about Facelift

Our first goal is to have you become an educated patient about Facelifts. We feel that an educated patient will make better choices about their surgery and their surgeon. The initial consultation may take over an hour to complete. During your consult, you will have Dr. Tong’s undivided attention, and you will never be rushed or pressured to make a decision about surgery. There is a great deal information to absorb during your initial consultation, and Dr. Tong will make sure that you understand all important aspects of the surgery process.

To learn more about how Toronto Facelift Surgeon Dr. Lawrence Tong can help you with facial rejuvenation, set up a Facelift consultation with Dr. Tong by giving us a call at (416) 972-0999. Otherwise, let us give you a call; just fill out our contact form and we will call you on the same or the next business day. No doctor’s referral is needed.

See Dr. Tong’s work in our Facelift before and after photos.

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We are Yorkville Institute of Plastic Surgery.
We practise The Art of Beauty.