Facelift surgery is perhaps the best known facial rejuvenation surgery, and with good reason! Of all the techniques at our disposal, nothing is more predictable at recreating a more youthful lower face and neck. In terms of tightening and redefining the jawline, the facelift is in its own class.
The facelift has evolved over the past 100 years. Even today it is not the same procedure as the surgery performed 30 years ago. In our practice, patients will be able to go home the same day and rest comfortably in their own home.
In choosing the procedure that is right for you it is important to realize that there are many different kinds of facelifts with a confusing array of names associated with them.
Smaller facelifts generally involve only tightening the skin around the front of the ears and are reserved only for those patients with the least amount of jowling. Typically results are not dramatic, but have remarkably quick recoveries and often help the patient look “refreshed.” I find that this particular lift is most helpful for the patient who has had a previous facelift and feels they need a little maintenance.
The mini facelift, or “S-lift”, involves tightening both the sagging muscle of the face and neck, as well as the skin. It is the muscle tightening aspect that produces the natural, long-lasting result. This powerful technique often recreates the face the patient had 10 to 15 years earlier. Patients who benefit from a mini lift often vary from 40 to 55 years in age.
The full facelift is essentially an S-lift with extension of the tightening incision into the hairlines both in front and behind the ears. This is the best method to rejuvenate the “turkey-neck” or excessive loose skin that can develop under the chin. One indication that a full facelift is needed is that the skin of the neck is “loose” from the jawline down to the collarbone (clavicle). The lift is the most powerful tool that we have to tighten the lower face and neck.
What does the facelift involve?
This small-incision which lies in the natural crease of the ear is made. The skin is lifted and the underlying muscles are tightened. Excess fat may be removed with a tiny instrument designed for facial liposculpture. The incisions are then closed using fine sutures. The procedure normally takes between 2 to 3 hours to perform.
Who are the best candidates?
Ideal candidates for surgery are men and women in good health between who have mild to moderate lower facial and/or neck laxity. It is equally well suited for the “younger” patients seeking tightening of the lower face to stay ahead of the aging process as well as the “older” patient who wants improvement of the lower face.
Are the results permanent?
Following surgery, the normal aging process resumes. Your lifestyle choices, bone structure, skin type, sun exposure, and heredity all play a part in determining how many years it may last. In general, our patients enjoy longer-lasting results.
Are there alternatives to a surgical facelift?
In our research, we find that there has not been a technology devised that can match the facelift. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! As caring professionals, we are constantly evaluating new technologies to help our patients look younger with little or no downtime. There are many technologies that promise facelift results with no recovery. While these techniques may offer some benefit (ex: we offer Thermage for the patient who needs small correction), we find that the most reliable, effective and cost beneficial result for lower face and neck rejuvenation still comes from the facelift. When exploring these options, always be sure to ask the doctor to show you more than a few standardized before and after pictures of his results, at least3 months after the procedure. Do not rely on photographs that come from a technology company.
When can I go back to work?
Following surgery, many patients may have some bruising and swelling for several days. It is typically on the lower face or below the jawline. A support strap is worn for 7 days all the time and then just at night for a second week. Most patients take a week away from normal activities.