The facelift procedure has been around for years and has been performed on countless patients as a way to revitalize the appearance and reduce the most prominent symptoms of aging on the face. Also called a rhytidectomy, a facelift is a way of surgically tightening the face and neck areas. This procedure can make your skin appear smoother and years younger.
There are many individuals who have strong reservations about the facelift procedure. In the early years of the procedure’s rise and popularity, the results that a facelift provided could often be noticeably unnatural. Now, however, the facelift procedure is able to provide amazingly natural-looking results that can truly reverse the effects of aging on your face.
The secret to a great facelift is a combination of several recent advances in the approaches and techniques used in other popular surgical procedures. In the old days of the facelift procedure, the ideal methods for achieving natural-looking results had not yet been discovered, so the skin of the face would be made tighter by using more of a backwards pull to wrap the skin tightly around the muscles and features of your face. This technique sometimes resulted in that fake “windblown” look that many commonly associate with a sub-par facelift procedure.
Thankfully, time and advances in technology and medicine have given us a significantly better and more detailed understanding of how to treat the underlying causes of aesthetic facial issues and not just the symptoms. Now, the face can be lifted nearly vertically. This approach is ideal because aging and gravity pull the skin of the face downward, creating noticeable sagging, wrinkles, and folds. The goal is to repair and restore what gravity and time took away. This results in a more rested and youthful look.
The face has three thirds: the upper face, the mid face, and the lower face. The upper face includes the brow and the upper eyelids. The mid-face includes the lower eyelids, the nose, and the cheeks. The lower face goes from just below the nose to the end of your chin. The face itself is surrounded by the neck below and the brow/forehead above. Wrinkles and folds on the forehead are often handled with tiny incisions that are well-hidden in the hairline. The skin will be gently loosened from the underlying tissue and lifted with the help of a scope, which is a wand with a camera lens running through it.
We require that any patient interested in receiving a facelift schedule a consultation prior to the surgery. This provides the patient with the opportunity to discuss their reasons for wanting a facelift and gives them an opportunity to ask any questions they may have. The information gathered during your consultation, along with a thorough evaluation of your medical history and current health, is essential for determining what is “out of place” and how to fix it so that the results you receive satisfy your unique aesthetic needs.
The operation has improved so much because today’s facelift is a composite operation, borrowing the best components of other surgical techniques. We now borrow liposuction techniques such as Tumescent to separate the tissues with minimal trauma to the cells and to make the draining of fat from the body a much easier and quicker process.
A facelift can now be performed with fewer and smaller incisions and a lower impact on the patient’s body, which results in a faster healing period. Often, tissue glue is used instead of, or in addition to, sutures as a way to provide enhanced reinforcement during the healing period to ensure that the wound does not re-open or cause any complications. The glue also allows the patient to be bandage free and return to an active life sooner.
Most people just take a week off of work, rather than the two or three weeks that used to be the norm due to the more intense impact of the tradition facelift. Any post-surgical marks are nearly unnoticeable thanks to improved closing techniques.
Sagging skin, excess fat, and loose muscle tissue are all part of getting older. These mild aesthetic issues can be made less visible with proper skin care and maintenance. As we continue to age, these issues can create a compounded problem that can only be treated through surgery. Jowls and a double chin may also occur due to the sagging of the skin and facial muscles. If you’re looking in the mirror and notice any of these unfortunate side effects of the aging process, it may be time to consider receiving a facelift as a way to restore your youthful appearance and natural beauty.
Our doctors perform facelifts using the SMAS technique. Typical facelifts only lift the top layer of facial tissue, which can give patients the too-tight, “worked-on” appearance. But the SMAS technique lifts three layers of facial tissue at once, resulting in a more cohesive lift. The SMAS (superficial musculoaponeurotic system) layer is a facial tissue layer below the subcutaneous fat layer and the surface skin layer. Because the SMAS layer has fibers that connect to the other layers, lifting the SMAS layer also lifts the layers above it. This is essential for retaining the natural appearance of your face, as it keeps the layers of tissue together as one cohesive unit.
Another advantage to the SMAS facelift is the direction of its pull. Typical facelifts offer a backwards pull, another contributor to the “worked-on” look. Although this approach did create a tighter-looking face, it disrupted the natural appearance of the skin. With a SMAS facelift, the vector of pull is vertical – opposite to the pull of gravity – leading to a beautiful, natural lift.
A SMAS facelift begins with either general anesthesia or local anesthesia with IV sedation. You’ll be able to discuss these options with your plastic surgeon during a consultation.
After the anesthesia, incisions will be made in order to allow the surgeon to raise the skin layers of the area upwards. If it’s appropriate for your procedure and aesthetic goals, your surgeon may use an endoscope, a small tube with a camera and a light, in order to get a better view of the underlying tissues.
Once the SMAS layer is lifted, excess drooping skin will then be trimmed away from the face and neck. Liposuction may be used to take away fatty deposits, and the underlying muscles may be altered and trimmed.
Once this facial recontouring is complete, the remaining skin is redraped over the area. The incisions are then sealed. A bandage may be wrapped around the area, and drains may be inserted in order to safely take out excess fluids. In a day or two after the facelift surgery, you’ll be able to come back in and get these bandage and drains removed.
For one to three weeks following your facelift, you’ll need to stay home from work in order to allow the tissues to heal. It’s best to stay away from any activities that could cause strain and avoid extreme heat during the healing process. You may have some temporary bruising and swelling. Your doctor will instruct on you on how to deal with these.
The beautiful results of your facelift can last for five to ten years.