Working in Three Dimensions

Faces in paintings are flat. Portraits have only the illusion of contour, thanks to shading and other tricks employed by talented artists. Faces in real life, however, are made up of angles, planes, and curves that can be viewed from a variety of positions. Each view reveals a different perspective of the visible features. When it comes to facelift surgery, Toronto Plastic Surgeon Dr. Wayne Carman emphasizes this distinction: Experienced plastic surgeons think in three dimensions.

A facelift is occasionally likened to pulling a bedsheet tight to smooth out any wrinkles. While this analogy conveys the basic idea of a facelift, it can create the mistaken impression that the face is an even, flat surface. In reality, skin must be carefully lifted and positioned, taking underlying contours into account. In many cases, liposuction may also be employed to reduce volume in the targeted areas—typically the neck and jowls. This further refines facial contours.

Skin pulled straight back and sutured into place to address sagging can give the patient a “windblown” look. Dr. Carman chooses to work with shorter incisions and puts more emphasis on reinforcing deeper layers of the face. This allows the skin to “relax” more, while still appearing smoother and more youthful. Ultimately, these techniques create a more natural look that works with a patient’s unique contours, as opposed to serving as a “one-size-fits-all” approach that tightens each person’s skin the same way.

When considering a facelift in the Toronto area, patients are encouraged to discuss these concepts with their plastic surgeon. Before-and-after photos are also an excellent way to see the results a surgeon is capable of delivering. Do the faces in these photos have softer, smoother features? Or do they resemble celebrities who make headlines for undergoing obvious plastic surgery procedures?

Plastic Surgeon Dr. Wayne Carman can explain more about what makes a natural-looking facelift. Call (416) 322-7108 or 1-888-451-1140 to schedule a consultation, or visit

Written by Wayne Carman

Dr. Carman is a Toronto Plastic Surgeon practicing breast, body and facial cosmetic surgery.