Choosing the Right Facelift

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A facelift is a deceptively complex and technique-dependent procedure that is often misunderstood. When we stand in front of a mirror with our hands lifting our neck and cheeks, it all looks pretty simple. However, the face is a multi-layered structure with skin, fat, muscle, connective tissue and glandular tissue. These collectively affect your appearance and consequently the results of your surgery.

For many years, surgeons performed facelifts by simply undermining and tightening the skin. This can initially look great, but skin will stretch over time and the result will fade quickly. Multiple attempts to correct this can lead to distortion and a windswept appearance.

On the other hand, The 'SMAS' lift, which tightens the underlying muscle and connective tissue, became popular in the 80's. While this technique has many variations, the principle of using this less elastic structure to create lift is now the basis of modern facelift surgery.

Today our knowledge of facial anatomy has allowed us to expand our use of this technique to eyelids, mid-face and neck. The results are more consistent and longer lasting. We can now do facelifts that go down into the neck to address neck bands, lift jowls while pulling the skin in a different direction, and lift the upper cheek and eyelid as a unit.

The most recent advances in facial rejuvenation have been volume replacement. One sign of facial aging is sagging as a result of facial deflation that is not merely stretching of the skin. We have learned that adding volume to the cheeks and mid-face will look far more natural and youthful than just tightening the skin. Volume replacement can be done with fat grafting or long-lasting fillers such as Voluma or Sculptra.

Most facial procedure patients can return to work in 7-10 days with some restrictions. Remember that facelifts can take as little as 2-3 hours or as long as 7 hours. The length of the procedure is directly related to how much is being done. The best result is achieved when you do the most effective procedure appropriate for the patients needs. When choosing surgery, the shortest, newest, least invasive or minimal approach may sound appealing, but when it is over what really matters is that your facelift looks good and lasts.
Article by
Lexington Plastic Surgeon