Do I need a facelift?
Originally reserved for the older population, the traditional facelift has given way to different variations of the procedure. Many of the newer techniques result in less down time, smaller scars, and a more natural appearance.
The pulled, or wind tunnel look has been replaced with a more natural appearance, and techniques have advanced so that more and more patients in their late thirties and early forties are having a variation of the facelift.
How do you know when to have a facelift?
As we age, there are different factors that contribute to an aging face. Weight loss, smoking, stress, sun damage, and genetics can all play a part in the aging process. Some people age better or faster than others and at different rates.
Usually, Botox, fillers and lasers can keep the need for a facelift at bay for some years. It is when the skin begins to loosen and the turgor or elasticity diminishes that a facelift might then be considered.
Different parts of the face age more quickly than others.
In the younger patient, it is often the cheeks and nasolabial folds (from the nose to around the mouth) that drop or deepen. The forehead is also area that can drop at an earlier age despite the use of muscle toxins like Botox or Dysport.
A brow or forehead lift can be done to raise the eyebrows to their original position, and can be done in less than an hour under general anesthesia.
A temporal lift also lifts the brows, but not as extensive as a full brow lift. It is done via a small incision in the hairline and lifts mainly the corners of the brow.
For fallen cheeks and deep nasolabial folds, a mid facelift addresses this area and raises the cheek. This procedure has a smaller incision size than a traditional full facelift, and can be done in about 2-3 hours under anesthesia. Many younger patients choose the type of lift.
A minilift is another option for patients who do not need a full facelift and still have good elasticity in their skin. The incisions are shorter and the healing time is shorter.
A thread lift or feather lift uses barbed suture to raise the skin. It is fairly non invasive and has minimal downtime, however the long term durability is not exceptional, and the suture can break.
The utilization of fat transfer to the face has made a huge difference in the last 15 years of facial cosmetic surgery. Usually done at the same time as a facelift or on its own in a younger patient, fat transfer can restore volume and fullness in all areas of the face that a facelift alone cannot deliver.
In the older patient, the face and the neck are usually addressed in a full facelift. A necklift can sometimes be done alone on a younger patient, but is generally done in combination with a full facelift. The incisions are longer and extend around the ear and behind the head into the hairline…however a skilled plastic surgeon will minimize scarring so that it is barely visible. This procedure takes 4-5 hours under anesthesia.
A skin only facelift is basically raising the skin and pulling it back. There is no muscle lifting done, so the downtime is less, however the results often do not last more than a few years.
A SMAS facelift stands for superficial musculo- aponeurotic system. It lifts the skin, tissue, and muscles of the face. It has much more durability and lasts longer (about 10-15-years).
A deep plane facelift is the same as a SMAS facelift, but the surgeon lifts deeper layers of the face. Older patients with deep lines and laxity may consider this for its long term results.
Depending on the needs your face requires and the decision you make with your surgeon, a facelift can be a rejuvenating experience with no more than 10 days maximum of downtime if done correctly. With the less invasive techniques, results can be seen in as little as 3 days and the patient can return to work and social life looking refreshed and vibrant.