Have you been browsing facelift before and after results? If indeed a picture tells a thousand words, what story are you being told as you browse the gallery of facelift before and after photos? With the significant increase in people seeking facial cosmetic surgery today, you’re likely to see a wide variety of outcomes represented. Some before and after photos are dramatic; others are a little more subtle. Either way, the side-by-side comparisons are designed to highlight improvements and can appear as though a magic eraser turned back the clock.

While the primary purpose of facelift before and after pictures are to emphasize the potential benefits of the procedure, it’s imperative that you aren’t basing your decision on looks alone. Do you know how to determine that photos were taken consistently and presented honestly without any manipulation? Do you know how to determine precisely which treatments the client had done? We want to help you navigate the visual world of facelift photos so that you can find them useful, but never misleading.

Facelift Before and After Photos: What Are You Starting With?

It often needs to be said that your facial plastic surgeon cannot give you someone else’s “face”. Nor can they give you your ideal celebrity nose or someone else’s eyes or promise you the before and after result you see in a particular set of pictures. It’s an essential but difficult concept for some people to know that cosmetic surgery is about enhancement and improvement, not perfection or magic. So what does this mean for the potential of your results? It means that a skilled facial surgeon may be able to improve the look of one or more of your features, and they’ll be limited by your existing anatomy. Another approach is to say, you can look like a better you, not like someone else.

It’s probably just as well that we can’t easily swap features with other people. The reality is that we are all so unique, the harmony of all our characteristics combine to make us look the way we do. Switching out one element- a nose, for instance- wouldn’t have the desired effect. Have you ever shown a hairstylist pictures of a famous person rocking the hair you want only to be disappointed when you see how that same cut looks on you? The same is true for facelift before and after photos. That’s why seeking a very experienced and naturally talented facelift surgeon is the first step toward planning your own best face forward.

The methods and exact procedures recommended for you will be based on your face, skin, health, needs, desires, and expectations. Every facelift should be 100% custom-tailored to the patient.

How’s the lighting?

We want to help you keep an eye out for tricks. Searching facelift before and after photos today is easier than ever. There is a wide variety free for all to see online with a click and scroll. It’s not as easy to verify their sources, the patient details, the surgeon’s credentials, or the validity of the photographs themselves.

In some less-than-stellar clinics, poor lighting and positioning may even be deliberately used in the facelift before and after photo gallery to mask sub-standard results.

Look for the light source to be consistent in each photo. The patient should be photographed head-on and from the side, preferably with the same background, in the same spot. Their distance from the camera and the lighting shouldn’t change. If you see heavy shadows in the before picture, then brightly illuminated, shadow-free after shots, you can trust that your perception of the outcome is being manipulated.

It goes without saying that smartphone filters change everything too. For this reason, if you see facelift before and after pics that highlight clinical, professional-looking pre-photos with glowing selfies to show the afters, take whatever impression you get with a large grain of salt. It’s possible for nearly anyone to “erase” 10 years off their appearance just through clever camera angles and selfie filters.

Do you see consistency in a particular doctor’s gallery? One or two amazing results alongside many less impressive ones should be considered as a whole. You’ll want to see a series of consistent, well-lit, natural-looking, and desirable facelift results from your chosen surgeon. Do they not have many to view on their website? That could be due to privacy concerns for their patients. Many plastic surgeons make expansive before and after gallery photos available to view in the office, which provides discretion and consideration for their valued clients. If you want to see more pictures, always feel free to ask.

What type of facelift are you looking at?

There are several well-known facelift methods available. The degree of complexity varies from one procedure to another. Some can be done with a local anesthetic, while most require being asleep under general anaesthetic. Using injectable products, doctors will also advertise a facelift without surgery.

The traditional full or deep plane facelift patient is usually between the ages of 50 and 60 and showing more dramatic signs of aging. The areas typically addressed include sagging of the cheeks and excess skin and fat under the jowls and the chin. A multi-layered approach to modern facelifts has surgeons restore underlying muscle, fat, and fascia to provide foundational lifting, then gently redrape and secure skin on top. Because of the significant surgical area, there are more extensive incisions running from the temple area to the ear and possibly extending to the neck.

For patients in their 30s to 40s who see signs of aging just beginning to emerge, it’s sometimes possible to provide a non-surgical facelift. Injectables such as dermal fillers have been known to be effective at slowing down the appearance of aging, but require repeat treatments within 9 months to maintain a rejuvenated appearance.

A mid facelift primarily addresses the skin below the eyes and around the cheeks. The surgeon focuses on tightening and lifting the skin tissue, including muscle and fascia, if indicated. To enhance the bone structure and create greater definition in the cheekbone, fat grafting or facial implants may be implemented.

The mini-facelift is sometimes referred to as the “weekend facelift,” because of the smaller incisions and quicker recovery time. It’s essential to note that a surgical procedure on the face will not be healed in one weekend. However, the mini-lift recovery time is typically faster than the full alternatives. Targeting the jowls, cheeks and neck, a mini face lift provides subtle results with shorter incisions for those in their 30s and 40s. However, a skilled facial plastic surgeon may craft a rejuvenated and youthful appearance for patients of any age using this technique. The best approach for you depends on your thorough evaluation and personal needs, rather than a general age.

Given the similarities in the facelift techniques described, would you be able to determine what method was used based upon pictures alone? It’s common to combine more than one surgery or non-surgical skin treatments and injections too. Look for as much procedural information to describe the case as possible, so you understand how outcomes were achieved.

How fast can you see results after a facelift?

If you’re looking at facelift before and after photos, the results are instant! Sometimes it’s not apparent from the information provided how many months (or years) have passed between before and after pictures. Facial surgeons often document “post” photos 12 months or more after the surgery was completed, well after complete healing has occurred. That’s ideal, because residual healing can take several months to diminish, and scars will be maturing and fading throughout that time. Although they’re impressive, these photographs don’t reveal the in-depth preparation required to ready a person for surgery or the patience required of them while healing. Facelift surgery can be very satisfying for men and women of all backgrounds, provided that their expectations are realistic and they have a strong commitment to follow instructions. Maintaining overall health and excellent skin care also contributes to long-lasting results. When you view pre and post photos, try to ascertain how much time has passed between them.

Get Ready for Your Facelift

A facelift of any kind requires adequate preparation. Being mentally and physically prepared for the change can allow you to remain confident and relaxed during the whole process, both before and post-surgery. Because smoking reduces the blood flow necessary for healing to occur, it’s suggested that if a patient consumes nicotine, he or she stop at least 2 weeks before their facelift surgery. Also, some medications have been known to be counterproductive to healing. Blood thinners, vitamin E, and other nutritional supplements may need to be put on hold to prevent post-surgical complications. Your surgeon must evaluate you and advise you specifically about medical and health needs. Your surgeon will also prepare you with the expected recovery requirements, including advice to manage discomfort and recommended time off work or strenuous activity.

After The Facelift

Following facelift surgery, you’ll need to alter your daily routine to allow for a restful recovery period. Leave from the workplace should be arranged before surgery. Depending on the type of facelift completed, you should anticipate being away from your regular work for 2 weeks or longer. Supportive friends or family members will be crucial at this point in the journey. (You might even hire some extra help with housework, children, or pets.) If you normally spend time at the gym, you’ll need to put the workouts on hold for a while until your facial surgeon clears you.

Most swelling and bruising resolves within the first 2 weeks. Does that mean you’ll be ready for your close up at that point? Not likely. You can count on the residual puffiness, sensitivity, and scar maturation to improve over 6 to 12 months. Facelift before and after comparison is the most rewarding after at least 6 months have passed.

As you can see, pictures alone don’t tell the whole story. We invite you to visit Toronto facial plastic surgeon Dr. Cory Torgerson to discover need-to-know information and inspiration about facelift surgery and you.

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Dr. Cory Torgerson
Dr. Cory Torgerson
Dr. Cory Torgerson is one of Canada’s most talented and prominent facial plastic surgeons, focusing on head & neck facial surgery. Dr. Torgerson has been frequently invited to teach and lecture on these topics across North America. He has hospital privileges at Sunnybrook Hospital, one of the premier hospitals in the University of Toronto Health Network.
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