3 Types of Facelifts: Which is Right for You? | The Plastic Surgery Clinic
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Facelift Quick Look

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"Worth It" Rating

95% say it's "worth it"
Procedure Duration

Surgery Length

4 Hours



Discomfort Factor


Synopsis of Surgery

Tightening underlying muscles and redraping the skin helps reduce the appearance of the deep creases between the nose and mouth, and tightens the lax skin of the jawline and neck.


4 weeks until resuming physical exercise.

5-7 days off from work/household duties.


General Anesthesia

Alternative Names


As we age, the effects of gravity, exposure to the sun and the stresses of daily life can be seen in our faces. A facelift can help turn back the hands of time and help you regain a younger, fresher look.

The Facelift Procedure

A facelift (technically known as a rhytidectomy) will help reduce some of the most visible signs of aging. Tightening underlying muscles and redraping the skin helps reduce the appearance of the deep creases between the nose and mouth, and tightens the lax skin of the jawline and neck. In addition, excess fat in the neck is removed.

A facelift can be performed alone, or in conjunction with other procedures such as a forehead lift, eyelid surgery, or rhinoplasty.

The following images are presented for educational purposes only and should be interpreted subjectively. They do not represent the opinion or view of any patient regarding their result, and they are not intended to suggest the result that may be achieved by any other patient. The images are presented as factual guidelines and merely represent results that have been achieved by others. No two patients are alike and no two results are necessarily alike. Only a personal consultation with your surgeon can provide you with a reasonable expectation of the results you may achieve from any specific procedure.

Experience and Innovation to Improve Patient Outcomes

At The Plastic Surgery Clinic we perform approximately 50 to 100 facelifts per year. The short-scar facelift technique developed by renowned Toronto plastic surgeon Dr. Lista is an innovative procedure that reduces scarring, and makes a facelift look more natural than ever before.

Dr. Lista, Dr. Ahmad and Dr. Austin are constantly upgrading their skills and staying abreast of the newest developments in facelift surgery. They want to be able to offer the most natural and safest results to their facelift patients.

Empower Yourself with Knowledge

If you are considering this important surgery please explore the links on the left to learn more. If you have more questions about whether a facelift is for you, please contact us at [email protected] to set up a complimentary consultation with Dr. Lista, Dr. Ahmad or Dr. Austin.

What is a Facelift?

At The Plastic Surgery Clinic we offer different types of facelift surgeries to best suit each individual cosmetic surgery patient, including a standard facelift, a short-scar facelift and a mini-facelift.

Standard Facelift

Incisions for a regular facelift 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, your facelift surgeon will tighten 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 any excess. Stitches secure the layers of tissue and close the incisions.


If you’re interested in improving the appearance of sagging skin in the lower face, but are hoping to minimize scarring, reduce bruising, and require less down time, then a mini-facelift might be a good option for you. A mini-facelift is ideal for patients who are in their 40s, making them younger than most full facelift patients. Good candidates typically need only a little tightening of the face, most often focused in the jawline area.

As we age into our 40s, one of the first visible signs of aging is tissue laxity around the jawline, the neck, and the lower cheeks. While dermal fillers can be helpful to improve these concerns in the cheeks, they can’t address areas of sagging skin, which require surgery. A mini-facelift tightens this lower-face looseness with very little scarring or bruising. The result looks natural and subtle and can easily be repeated 5 to 10 years later to maintain that refreshed look.

Short-scar Facelift

The short scar or limited incision facelift is an innovative technique that achieves the same result as a full facelift but with much less visible scarring. Normally, the scars of a facelift extend behind the ear into the hairline. With new advances in plastic surgery, a short scar technique has been developed that greatly decreases the length of the scar.

Using this technique, your surgeon creates a very small incision just above and below the front of the ear. There is no scar directly in front of the ear; instead, the scar is placed inside the ear. This new technique also eliminates the hairline scar behind the ear—a significant improvement that enables women to wear their hair up in a bun or pony tail without any tell-tale signs of surgery. This new procedure, as developed by Dr. Lista, has produced superb results for our Toronto and Mississauga facelift patients.

The surgery for a short scar facelift takes less time and the recovery period is also much reduced compared to a regular facelift. Still, after a short scar facelift there will be some swelling and bruising that may last for a couple of weeks.

Weekend Facelift

Some patients can get big results from a small lift. The weekend facelift uses a minimal version of the short scar technique, where a surgeon creates a very small incision just above and below the front of the ear, eliminating the need for an incision (and scar) behind the ear.

With a weekend facelift, the bandages are typically removed after 48 hours, although sutures are normally in place for a week. Unlike a full facelift, a weekend facelift can be performed on an outpatient basis. The procedure takes approximately one to one-and-a-half hours.

Non-Surgical Facelift Options

If you’re hoping to create a more refreshed facial appearance and you don’t have significant skin laxity or sagging, then a non-surgical facelift (or “Soft Lift”) can help you achieve that well-rested look. By combining injections that treat both wrinkles and loss of volume, a non-surgical facelift creates a natural-looking result without surgery or the downtime necessary for post-surgical recovery.

Best of all, each treatment is totally customized for every unique patient’s needs. We can address several different areas of concern, including lines around the eyes, brows, and forehead, as well as smile or “marionette” lines. Additionally, we can contour and enhance areas including the jaw, the chin and the lips. It’s a non-invasive, fast and convenient option for patients who are looking for a less dramatic makeover.

It’s important to keep in mind that a non-surgical facelift cannot achieve the same level of transformative results that a surgical facelift can. If you’re interested in more significant changes, or if you are ultimately looking for a treatment that tightens the skin and/or underlying muscle, then a non-surgical facelift is simply not going to achieve your goals.

If you’re uncertain about which procedure is right for you, our consultations are always free, and our surgeons would love to hear your story and discuss your options.

The Best Candidates for Facelifts

The Best Candidates for FaceliftsThe 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 between 40 and 70, 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 your goals with one of the most experienced facelift surgeons in Toronto, Dr. Lista, Dr. Ahmad or Dr. Austin. It’s our job to listen carefully to your needs and to let you know what to expect.

Preparing for a Facelift

Your facelift surgery can be performed right on site in the state-of-the-art facilities of The Plastic Surgery Clinic. If you prefer, you can choose to have your surgery at one of the hospitals where our board-certified plastic surgeons, Dr. Lista, Dr. Ahmad and Dr. Austin, enjoy privileges. These include the Mississauga site of the Trillium Health Centre, where Dr. Lista was Past Chief of Plastic Surgery, and the University Health Network, where Dr. Ahmad and Dr. Austin continue to provide their services.

No matter where you choose to have your surgery, there is always a Toronto facelift surgeon on call to respond to your concerns. In addition, a board-certified anesthesiologist will administer your local or general anaesthetic, stay with you during the entire operation, and will be there as you wake up.

A facelift is a very individualized procedure, so the first thing we do is listen: we listen to your needs; we ask you to describe, and have you bring in photos of, your ideal look.

Your consultation will also involve a physical examination, including an evaluation of your skin, the underlying bone structure of your face and a careful medical history. Dr. Lista, Dr. Ahmad or Dr. Austin, leading cosmetic surgery providers, will spend as much time as you need to make sure both you and your surgeon know exactly what you want. It may not always be possible to meet all your expectations with surgery, so it crucial that you understand what is a realistic outcome.

Your surgeon will also instruct you on how to prepare for surgery in order to achieve the best result, including guidelines on eating, drinking, and taking certain vitamins and medications. Smokers should plan to stop smoking for a minimum of one month before surgery and one month after, as smoking decreases circulation and greatly interferes with proper healing.

Recovery Following a Facelift

Following surgery, your head will be wrapped loosely in bandages to minimize bruising and swelling. A small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin behind your ear to drain any excess fluid. This tube will be removed the day after your plastic surgery procedure and the large dressing will be replaced with a much lighter dressing. This will allow you to shower and wash your hair. Significant discomfort after a facelift is rare, yet if you do experience any discomfort we will prescribe pain medication.

We 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 of our facelift Toronto patients are back at work in about 10 days to two weeks after surgery. If you need it, makeup can mask most bruising that remains.

Facelift Risks & Complications

When a facelift is performed by a qualified Toronto 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 the advice of your facelift surgeon both before and after surgery.

Facelift Before and After Photo Gallery

You should be very pleased with the results of your facelift, especially if you are patient and give your face adequate time to heal. You should look about 10 years younger – enough of a change to refresh your look, but not so drastic that people will notice you have had surgery.

For several months after surgery, the hair around your temples may be thin and your skin may feel dry and rough. 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 will 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 can turn back time, but it doesn’t stop the clock. Your face will continue to age. Nevertheless, whether you decide to repeat the procedure in five or 10 years or not, years later our Toronto facelift patients continue to look better than if they had never received the procedure.

The Photos

In our facelift before and after photo gallery, you will find photos of our actual patients who have received a facelift procedure. More photos will be made available to you at your complimentary consultation with one of our skilled cosmetic surgeons.

How Much Does a Facelift Cost?

Facelifts require a lot of experience, expertise, and precision, and because of this many people think they are out of their price range. The actual cost of a facelift depends on many variables, which only your surgeon will be able to determine in consultation. This is why it’s difficult for us to give you a flat-rate by phone or e-mail. You will be happy to know, however, that our consults are free and the price of a facelift probably won’t have you running for the door. Searching for a plastic surgeon shouldn’t be a bargain hunt; that’s why we have financing and payment options available to help you reach your goals. In the end you will probably see this more as an investment in your wellbeing than a financial obstacle – or so we’ve been told by our thousands of facelift patients over the years.

To find out more, please contact us by phone or e-mail or by filling out the Request for Information form below.

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What to Expect from a Facelift Procedure

Happy Friday, dear readers! We’re continuing our series on facelift surgery with a question and answer from Dr. Austin. How...

Dr. Ryan Austin
What to Expect

The PSC Method

Step 1: The PSC Consult

Step 1: The PSC Consult

Consultations are always free. This is our opportunity to get to know you and your vision. And then share with you our expertise and recommendations based on 30+ years of experience, and thousands of satisfied patients.

One patient's experience...

My overall experience has been nothing less than beyond exceptional! [The PSC] made me feel confident and comfortable from start to finish…


Step 2: The PSC Procedure

Step 2: The PSC Procedure

You’ll arrive on the day of surgery fully prepared and confident in your outcome, because your surgeon is internationally recognized as a leader in their field. You will wake up slightly groggy and a bit uncomfortable, and head home soon after.

One patient's experience...

My overall experience has been nothing less than beyond exceptional! [The PSC] made me feel confident and comfortable from start to finish…


Step 3: The PSC Follow Up

Step 3: The PSC Follow Up

We see every patient the day after surgery. Most find their discomfort extremely manageable, thanks to the pain relief pump. Our post-op nurse will walk you through every step of your recovery and answer all your questions.

One patient's experience...

My overall experience has been nothing less than beyond exceptional! [The PSC] made me feel confident and comfortable from start to finish…


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