An expert face lift can deliver the largest amount of desired change in good candidates, which is why it’s often referred to as the “Gold Standard” of facial rejuvenation, the highest standard to which all other procedures are compared. The improvements are not only substantial, they typically last in the range of 8–10 years.
If we want to improve a certain area of the face, there are a large variety of procedures to consider. So it’s important to seek consultation with a well-respected, experienced plastic surgeon in order to determine the procedures that are the most appropriate for you.
An “Un-Operated” Look
A major concern among facelift patients is that they’ll look like they’ve been “operated” on. We feel this concern is very legitimate, so we, too, want to provide our clients with significant rejuvenation without creating an operated appearance. It takes serious training, years of experience, a good eye and appropriate expectations. A more youthful and natural appearance is a fundamental goal for facelift procedures.
Softness is important for a natural appearance. A lot of people who look strange or “operated” on have had surgical procedures, but have not had volume added. They have had tissues on the facial skeleton tightened, but at the loss of softness—giving them an acute, deflated look. Many facelifts are complemented with the addition of injectable volume by using fat grafting, or injectable fillers.
Another problem is “too much surgery” performed on their face. Once someone crosses the line and has had too much work done, they look odd. It really doesn’t matter what age you are if you look strange—that’s all people will notice. When patients get to a certain age, especially if they’ve already had one or two surgeries, it’s better to use more injectables and fillers and think less about any additional surgery.
Our procedures are “moderately aggressive.” Aggressive techniques can look unnatural and pose higher levels of risk. On the other extreme, techniques that aren’t aggressive enough don’t deliver a satisfactory amount of change.
One common misconception about facelifts is that surgeons are just removing excess skin and “pulling” tissues to reduce wrinkles and sagging. Some excess tissue can be removed if appropriate, but most lifting is actually accomplished on a much deeper level. Through small, well-concealed incisions, we are able to access the connective tissues and muscle groups of the face, and strategically move them to new positions. These tissues quickly bond into their new positions using the body’s natural healing process, resulting in lift and a more youthful appearance. This is the main reason facelifts are so long lasting.
Facelift procedures are divided into three major areas: The brow lift, the mid-face lift, and the lower-face/neck lift. Brow lifts address sagging tissues on the forehead, vertical wrinkles (frown lines), and the position of the eyebrows. Mid-face lifts address the deep creases under the eyes and from the nose to the corner of the mouth. Lower-face and neck lifts are probably the most common facelift procedure, where we address the loss of muscle tone that results in jowls and sagging tissue under the chin.
Facelifts are “outpatient” procedures. That means that even though patients leave the same day as the procedure, they should plan on taking two or three weeks off to recover. The first week being the toughest. Patients cannot drive themselves and should not be left alone. Be prepared in advance: have your home cleaned, groceries bought, and some food prepared beforehand so you don’t have to worry about the little stuff while you are down.
After the first week, patients recover enough to move around but there’s still quite a lot of bruising or swelling. Don’t allow yourself to become frustrated by trying to do too much too soon—you won’t be physically up to it. Be relaxed and patient. The part of recovery that can be the most challenging isn’t so much the pain, but rather the anxiety of waiting and wondering, “How’s my face going to look, because right now it sure looks swollen and terrible?”
We keep close tabs on patients as they recover. We schedule follow-up meetings in our office and patients are free to call any time—day or night—if any problems develop. Surgery is medicine and medicine is about healing. We do everything in our power to help the body heal quickly and well. With careful monitoring, any potential problems are addressed before they fully develop, getting recovery back on track. Once recovery is behind you, look forward to your rejuvenated face smiling at you in the mirror for years to come.
It is important also to realize that procedures can be performed simultaneously or in stages to gradually improve facial appearance without overly dramatic changes. Areas of concern may be treated early to avoid larger procedures later. The best results are often achieved in conjunction with the use of injectable fillers and skin-care procedures.