How Long Does a Face Lift Last?
This is one of the first questions asked by virtually anyone contemplating facial rejuvenation. No one wants to invest the time and money for a procedure that has no long lasting results. The answer is "would you believe forever?". To which the person usually answers "no way." However, done by an experienced, skilled plastic surgeon who carefully measures and lifts (in the proper direction) the proper amount of tissue (SMAS, skin) so that the result is neither too conservative or too aggressive causing the "wind tunnel" effect, the results can literally last forever, but it doesn't stop the clock. The goal of the surgeon is to reduce the lax skin and to restore the lost volume that occurs with aging, making the patient look like they did 8-15 years earlier. Thus, a person having a face lift when they are 50 or 60 will also look 8-15 years younger than their actual age. So in their 70's and 80's they should still look 8 to 15 years younger. Some are happy with this goal, while other's opt to have a second face lift as they age. The results and longevity of face lifts depend on many factors. One being, genetics. Those with thicker skin tend to have a more lasting result than those with thinner skin. Those who have abused their skin with smoking, excessive sun exposure, and an unhealthy diet will not get the lasting results of those who have led healthier life styles. The type of face lift is also a factor. Those so called "lunch time facelifts" seldom last for more than a year or two. The reason being, that only the skin is lifted, which provides a temporary fix. A true face lift with a midface lift includes lifting the underlying supporting tissues, such as muscles and SMAS, and lost volume can be restored with fat grafts or "fillers." Actually, very little tension is applied to the skin, which is not a good supporting structure. Originally face lifts did not include the midface lift or address volume loss. Now with the advent of long lasting fillers and/or fat grafting, the surgeon can restore lost volume, which definitely adds a more youthful look then just tightening the skin. Tension on the skin causes unnatural skin draping and the look of a face-lifted patient. So, the answer is: a face lift can indeed last forever; Continued youthful looking longevity can also benefit from "maintenance" as the years go by with timely use of fillers, Dysport or Botox, laser procedures and an effective cosmeceutical skin care system. Are all important if the patient wants to continue looking more youthful than their actual age. These measures can also delay or prevent the necessity of a second face lift. Additional procedures that can be performed during a face lift include, eye lid procedures, forehead lifts, lip lifts, laser treatments and even nose jobs, according to the patient's goals. All procedures should be customized to each patient's needs to consistently achieve the most natural looking results. Each patient must clearly express the look that they want, and each surgeon must carefully listen to offer suggestions to meet those expectations. E. Ronald Finger, MD. FACS