Six Surprising Facts About Facelift Surgery
Do you wonder whether non-surgical treatments (devices, creams, facials and lasers) that promise the result of a facelift really work? Have you had a surgical facelift procedure that didn’t produce the results you were looking for? If it seems like reliable information about facelifts is hard to come by, let the following clear up the confusion.
Fact No. 1: A true facelift results in a natural looking and dramatic improvement to your overall facial appearance. Gone are the days of the “wind tunnel” look, achieved decades ago when surgeons simply pulled the skin of the face back and trimmed away any excess. Today’s specialists reposition the deep structures of the face to for amazing and long-lasting results, with patients looking five to 15 years younger for up to 10 years.
A successful surgical facelift, then, targets the deep-down structures of the face to:
- tighten and lift the jowls and jaw line;
- lift and tighten loose skin in the neck;
- improve/sharpen the neck angle; and
- lift structures of the face, like cheeks, that have fallen by repositioning them to where they were before.
Fact No. 2: Don’t expect a surgical facelift to improve wrinkles, folds or fine age spots – these are surface-layer imperfections that need to be addressed with different treatments. As such, patients may choose to follow up their surgical facelift with gradual skin-resurfacing, Botox or filler treatments. If you’re interested in combining your facelift surgery with some type of surface repair, ask your surgeon about a simultaneous CO2 laser or chemical peel and consider scheduling subsequent appointments for Botox (to improve the look of deep wrinkles and sun damage) and filler (to add volume to the cheeks/lips).
Fact No. 3: As evidenced by the list above, a surgical facelift treats the lower face rather than mid-level features or the eyes/forehead. As such, a facelift should really be called a lower facelift since it can improve the jaw line, jowls and neck. If you opt for a facelift but want some work done on your eyes as well, an additional procedure (an eyelid lift or a brow lift) can be done at the same time to remove extra skin and fat from that area of the face. Doing two procedures simultaneous may sound intimidating, but it’s a good way to reduce two recovery periods into one.
Fact No. 4: During a facelift incisions are made to access the deep structural layer of the face and pull it to a higher, tighter position. The length of these incisions is directly related to two things: the “size” of the facelift and the length of recovery. Not only do smaller/shorter incisions mean “smaller” results (i.e., a less dramatic or noticeable overall change), they also mean less downtime thanks to reduced swelling and bruising. While bigger/longer incisions increase the recovery period, they also lead to a higher degree of lifting for a far more dramatic improvement to the lower face and neck.
Some procedures, like the lifestyle lift, are marketed as having less downtime than a full-blown facelift. But since these use smaller incisions to decrease recovery time, they can only offer minimal results. The truth is, tiny cuts don’t give the surgeon enough access to make much of a change. Many patients opt for a mini facelift because they think they’ll recover quickly but end up being disappointed by the results.
The key to a successful facelift is to be assessed by a specialist who will determine the degree of sagging you have in your lower face and neck and recommend the incision type that’s most appropriate for the lift you need. Candidates for short-incision facelifts can use some improvement to their jowls and jaw line but do not require any changes to their neck. A patient with a sagging neck, however, will likely require longer incisions.
Fact No. 5: Non-surgical procedures advertised as facelifts aren’t facelifts at all. A surgical facelift results in a tightened neck and jaw line and smoothed jowls, while a so-called lunchtime or liquid facelift simply uses Botox and/or fillers to smooth wrinkles and add volume to the face, they can’t produce the same result as a surgical facelift.
Fact No. 6: If you’re interested in pursuing a surgical facelift it’s critical to see a specialist who is an expert in both the surgical and non-surgical approaches for rejuvenating the face. While choosing the wrong procedure isn’t often dangerous, it can be a big waste of time and money. A facelift specialist will be able to recommend the types of treatments to best achieve your goals and manage your expectations properly about the recovery period.