What is a facelift?

Medically called a rhytidectomy, in simple terms, a facelift is a surgery that uses hidden incisions along the hairline and ear to lift and reposition the facial tissues to a more youthful position. Unfortunately, facelift surgery is associated with the stigma of “bad” cosmetic surgery – a look that appears unnatural or overdone. The reality is, in the hands of expert facelift surgeon Dr. Brace, a facelift is often the most natural and powerful procedure a person can undergo to rejuvenate the face and neck.

A natural, refreshed look with advanced facelift surgery

A facelift performed with the most advanced techniques has tremendous power to rejuvenate self-esteem and confidence. It is the surgery that restores what you see in the mirror to be more in line with your innate sense of youthfulness. Whether you’re local in the Guelph area, or live in Milton or Kitchener, a facelift at Guelph Facial Plastics may be just what you’ve been looking for.

Schedule a Consultation

Contact Us
Contact us media

Types of facelifts

Due to the stigma of the word “facelift,” many surgeons have re-named and rebranded their version of a facelift to be more accessible to those who can benefit from this procedure. This creates some confusion for patients who are trying to research this surgery. The important distinguishing element for patients researching a facelift is to determine their tolerance for downtime and the longevity of the lift they seek.

SMAS procedures

Surgical facelifts have evolved from tightening the skin alone to tightening the layer of the face called the SMAS (superficial musculoaponeurotic system) and removing the excess skin. When the skin is treated alone (without SMAS), an unnatural appearance is created, and where the stigma of unnatural facelift surgery originates.

The procedures that tighten the SMAS are advantageous because tension is taken off the skin and put in a deeper layer of the face. This gives a natural result along the neck and jawline, but the result is limited by not allowing for correction of the nasolabial folds. The advantage is minimal downtime (one to two weeks) but the results have a shorter lifespan, with a high revision rate at 2 years.

Banner media

Deep plane facelifts

A deep plane facelift is the most advanced and natural-looking technique. This approach corrects the cheeks, jawline and neck. A deep plane lift is a delicate but extensive procedure, in which Dr. Brace releases the ligaments of the face so that the SMAS, fat pads, ligaments and muscles of the face and neck can be completely re-draped and repositioned. This gives the most balanced appearance between the face and neck, with correction of nasolabial folds and the longest lasting results, usually 10 years or longer.

Because all the tension is placed deep on the SMAS there is no stigma of an obvious or overdone facelift once the face is healed. This is Dr. Brace’s procedure of choice for facial rejuvenation. The incisions are meticulously, individually tailored, based on each person’s anatomy and degree of facial laxity. Sometimes the incisions are almost entirely in front of the ear, in others they extend behind the ear along the hairline.

Who is a candidate for this surgery?

Both men and women from across Canada seek facelift surgery from Dr. Brace. The most common reason to seek a facelift is loose hanging skin at the jowls, neck and cheeks with deep nasolabial folds. Most people seeking a facelift are in their 50s to 70s. However, deep plane facelifts are also effective in treating younger adults to improve acne-scarred skin or to remove excess skin after significant weight loss. The final reason to seek a deep plane facelift is to revise a previous facelift that placed excess and unnatural tension on the skin, creating an overly pulled appearance.

Schedule a Consultation

Contact Us
Contact us media

Facelift by Dr. Brace: Facial surgery specialist in Guelph

Dr. Brace is an expert facelift surgeon with double board-certified training. His practice is focused exclusively on surgery of the face and neck. He has studied under facelift masters and innovators and has refined his own techniques. He continues to be a lifelong student and teacher of this surgery.

His results are consistently beautiful and natural. His goal with each patient is to restore the face to a youthful shape without changing an individual’s appearance or making him or her look like someone else. Dr. Brace creates elegant refinements, reversing the changes time has created and recapturing the natural beauty and contours of the face and neck.

A Guide to Facial Rejuvenation Options

Whether you are experiencing some or all of these changes or are seeking to prevent or delay the aging process, there are a variety of treatment options available: 

Camouflage and soften lines; Add back volume.


Thicken, tighten and smooth out skin.

Laser & RF Treatments

Reposition tissues; Shape & tighten the jawline.

Surgical Procedures

It is important to target the components of the face that are responsible for the areas of concern to achieve the best and most natural outcomes. Dr. Brace focuses his practice solely on the face and neck and can recommend and offer a range of best treatments tailored to suit you. 

The pursuit of excellence: Dr. Brace

Dr. Matthew D. Brace’s pursuit of excellence has been acknowledged by several accolades and achievements. Notably, he was awarded the prestigious Jack Anderson Award at the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Annual Meeting in Nashville, a recognition earned by achieving the highest marks in both written and oral exams among facial plastic and reconstructive surgery fellows in the US and Canada.

Compassionate care with sophisticated, natural-looking outcomes

At Guelph Facial Plastics, Dr. Brace approaches each patient with a personalized and compassionate touch. He understands that each individual has unique facial features and goals, and he takes the time to listen attentively to their concerns. With an artistic eye and surgical precision, Dr. Brace tailors facelift procedures to harmonize facial proportions and restore a naturally youthful appearance, all while preserving the patient’s individuality.

Banner media

Exceptional training and skills

Dr. Brace’s extensive surgical expertise in the face comes not only from hundreds of facelift procedures but also from his advanced training and practice in head and neck surgery. Dr. Brace uses these same skills and techniques to treat patients with facial tumours. He enjoys an elite level of comfort and skill working in the face around the facial nerve.

He extends the power of the deep plane facelift to provide cutting-edge care for cancer patients by using hidden cosmetic incisions to access and remove facial cancers and to recruit skin with facelift ligament release techniques to reconstruct cancer defects. With hundreds of cases of experience, Dr. Brace is a talented surgeon with a keen artistic eye who is highly respected by his colleagues.

What is the facelift procedure?


The first step in facelift surgery is a private consultation. During the consultation, Dr. Brace will assess your general health, your facial and neck aesthetic balance, your aesthetic concerns, and the aging components of the face that lead to these concerns. He will then take standard photographs and provide you with his recommendation at this time for the best facelift result.

In most cases, Dr. Brace will point out other areas of your face that will not be corrected by a facelift and will discuss options to address these areas if needed. This may include the eyelids, brow, upper lip, and skin around the mouth. Sometimes, a facelift is unnecessary to achieve your aesthetic goals, and Dr. Brace will advocate for a different approach.


Facelift surgery is usually performed at our state-of-the-art, onsite surgery center under general anesthetic. In rare cases, the surgery is performed under IV sedation if preferred. Dr. Brace will meet you on the day of surgery and mark all the incisions and landmarks before administering anesthesia. The surgery is anywhere from 3-6 hours, depending on additional procedures being performed. Incisions are closed with fine sutures along the hairline, in front of and behind the ear. In some cases, there is a small incision in the skin under the chin Dr. Brace uses drains to minimize bruising. These can be felt in the neck as small rubber tubes. They exit behind the ear in the hair-bearing scalp. When you wake up, your head will be wrapped with a light compression dressing to apply gentle pressure to your neck and cheeks. You are able to go home on the day of surgery with a friend, family member, or caregiver providing a drive. Prescriptions for antibiotics, nausea, swelling, and pain are provided preoperatively.

Background media

Facial areas treated with a deep plane facelift

A deep plane facelift is a comprehensive and advanced surgical technique that targets multiple facial areas to achieve natural and long-lasting rejuvenation. Dr. Brace’s expertise in performing deep plane facelifts ensures a harmonious and balanced outcome for each patient. The facial areas corrected in a deep plane facelift include:

  • Cheeks: The deep plane facelift addresses sagging and loss of volume in the cheeks. By repositioning the underlying structures, youthful fullness can be restored to the midface region to enhance cheek contours.
  • Jawline: The procedure addresses the appearance of jowls and sagging skin along the jawline. By lifting and tightening the deeper tissues, the deep plane facelift creates a more defined and youthful jawline contour.
  • Neck: Deep plane facelift surgery also targets the upper neck area, addressing loose skin jowls. The procedure provides significant improvement in upper neck laxity, restoring a very natural-looking jawline profile.
  • Nasolabial folds: The deep plane facelift effectively reduces the appearance of nasolabial folds, commonly known as smile lines, by lifting and repositioning the underlying tissues without the pulling effect of older, traditional surgical approaches.
  • Lower face and mouth area: This technique also improves the lower face and mouth region, minimizing the appearance of marionette lines and creating a smoother, more refreshed appearance.

The deep plane facelift is a versatile procedure that is customized to suit each patient’s unique facial anatomy and cosmetic goals. Dr. Brace’s skill and expertise in this technique ensure a comprehensive and harmonious transformation, addressing multiple areas of concern in a single procedure. Patients can achieve natural, long-lasting results and restore an extremely natural, rejuvenated appearance with this advanced technique.

Schedule a Consultation

Contact Us
Contact us media

Recovery after a facelift

Day 0:

Bruises: After leaving the hospital, it is not uncommon to start to notice bruising around the eyes and in the neck and upper chest. Gentle application of ice packs helps decrease bruising. Anti-bruising treatment with arnica supplements will be discussed preoperatively and provided if desired.

Bleeding: a small amount of oozing from incisions onto the dressing or around the drain is normal. The drains are under suction and will also collect blood. This is normal. It is abnormal to have rapid firm swelling of the face or neck and brisk filling of the drain. This is rare but usually indicates a hematoma and requires removing the sutures in the OR to cauterize bleeding. This will be discussed in the consultation.

Swelling: The eyelids and cheeks and neck will become swollen to some degree. This should be soft swelling.

Nausea: some people develop nausea as a reaction to the anesthetic medication. IV medicines are given to minimize this. Gravol can be taken at home if it persists. Nausea does not usually persist beyond the first 24 hours after surgery.

Discomfort: Most people report the majority of discomfort to come from the dressing/head wrap as an itch or sweaty discomfort. You may experience tenderness in the cheeks or neck from a bruise.

Numbness: Elevation of the skin around the ear will often lead to cheek or ear lobe numbness. This will recover within a few months. Lidocaine injected into the face during the surgery may produce hours of facial numbness and weakness with an asymmetric smile.

Day 1:

Bruises: bruises will develop under the eyes, around the mouth, and in the neck. Use arnica as directed.

Bleeding: Dr. Brace will remove the dressing and the drains in most cases. There will be some bleeding from the drain removal site initially. This will stop within the hour with a dressing. Dr. Brace will replace the gauze dressing with an elastic compression facial sling to minimize bleeding and bruising under the skin. Firm swelling in the neck or cheeks is usually the start of a hematoma from a bleeding blood vessel. Dr. Brace will discuss this with you and what to watch for. The risk of this happening is greatest in the first 72 hours after surgery but is a rare occurrence, around 1-2%.

Discomfort: expect tenderness of the neck and cheeks. Acetaminophen and ice with the compression dressing are usually all that is required.

Swelling: usually peaks in the first 1-3 days. Dr. Brace provides a prescription for solumedrol to minimize the swelling. Sometimes the area under the cheek skin where the facelift sutures are placed will look dimpled. This will soften and is only visible due to the swelling.

Nerve function: Dr. Brace will assess the function of the facial nerve branches at your appointment. Rarely the nerve that travels to the lower lip will be bruised and weak from the surgery producing a crooked smile. This usually recovers within one to twelve weeks.

Days 2-5:

Bruises: present and may worsen and darken as blood settles

Bleeding: there should be little to no bleeding

Incisions: clean any incisions according to instructions

Discomfort: tender to touch. Acetaminophen and ice as required.

Swelling: peaking but mitigated by prescription

Day 6-7:

Dr. Brace will see you back for the removal of the sutures and to evaluate your healing progress. 

Bruises: most bruises will appear around the eyes, mouth, and neck. If there is a red or purple discolouration present, Dr. Brace will offer pulse dye laser treatments to accelerate the resolution of these bruises.

Bleeding: there may be a small amount of bleeding around the skin edges if sutures are removed. This will scab over within the first hour. The scabs can be gently removed with a Q-tip moistened with peroxide. Incisions will be red and swollen.

Discomfort: removing sutures does not hurt but can feel like the pinch of plucking a hair. Many people are anxious about this part of the follow-up and are pleasantly surprised at how easy and quick it is.

Swelling: continue with the facial sling 24 hours a day (except bathing/showering) for 2 weeks after surgery. Once you reach the 2-week post-operative recovery point, wear the sling nightly and when around the house as much as possible.

1 month:

Follow up with Dr. Brace to assess the early resolution of swelling, the healing of the incisions and resolution of bruises.

Bruises: these should all be resolved. If not, Pulse dye laser may be offered.

Discomfort: minimal, if any at all.

Swelling: Some minimal cheek and lower eyelid swelling is normal. If the cheek still has the dimpled appearance from sutures, massage will start to soften and resolve this.

Scars: red or dark pink in colour. Pulse dye laser treatments to help fade the scars will be offered. Possible injection of anti-inflammatory medication to speed up the resolution of scars.

Banner media

3 months:

Follow up with Dr. Brace

Swelling: should be resolved at this point with a nice definition of jawline, neck, and cheeks. Rarely minor swelling under the chin is still present. Dimpling should be resolved or minimal if it is present.

Scars: Scars are light pink and fading nicely. Pulse dye laser and injections as necessary

6 months:

Follow up with Dr. Brace. Photos taken. Swelling resolved. Scars faded to white lines or slight pink. Pulse dye laser or injections as necessary.

1 year:

Follow up with Dr. Brace

Scars matured and faded. The final photo taken. Any discussion of revision procedures.

Revision facelift

As in any aesthetic procedure, there will be a small subset of patients who do not achieve the complete aesthetic goals of facelift surgery. This can be for a host of factors. Common reasons to seek a revision after a deep plane facelift are the recurrence of the neck bands at the front of the neck or an unsightly scar that did not heal as intended. These are usually dealt with as a minor procedure under local anesthetic.

Background media
Doctor media

The gift of renewed confidence

One of Dr. Brace’s passions is deep plane facelift surgery. The degree of correction and restoration of youthfulness from this surgery is a key component of what drew him to facial plastic and reconstructive surgery as a specialty. The impact that this type of facelift surgery has on his patients, who are given the gift of renewed confidence and self-esteem, is Dr. Brace’s motivation to continue to refine and enhance his techniques.

Contact us media
Accessibility: If you are vision-impaired or have some other impairment covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act or a similar law, and you wish to discuss potential accommodations related to using this website, please contact our Accessibility Manager at (226) 702-8830.
Contact Us