What is a Facelift?
A Facelift is perhaps one of the least understood of all aesthetic surgical procedures. Many people believe that a person needs to be quite mature to have this procedure done, or that the procedure itself results in a tight, expressionless “operated-on” look. In Dr. Lorenc’s opinion, today’s advanced Facelift options work as well for patients in their 40s as they do for patients in their 70s, and his surgical objective is to subtly improve and refresh, rather than drastically alter, a patient’s overall appearance.
How does a Facelift work?
A Facelift restores a youthful shape to the face. It doesn’t correct skin tone or texture or the eyes, nose or eyebrows, which can be addressed with additional procedures, such as injectables and lasers.
Most Facelifts focus solely on the middle and lower thirds of the face and not the forehead. Ask about a brow lift or injectables if your forehead is a concern.
Volume is not restored with a Facelift. Elevating the cheeks can give a more voluminous look, but unless fat transfer or fillers are incorporated, no additional volume is added.
The ideal candidate for a Facelift
Are you tired of looking in the mirror and seeing an aging face with saggy skin? Facial aging is inevitable, but when the changes that you see start to bother you—think sagging skin, looseness in your neck and a poorly defined jawline—you may want to consider a Facelift, the only rejuvenation option that will provide you with long-lasting improvement. The end result will always be a more refreshed and youthful, but very natural version of yourself. Together, we will look at your face and the areas that are affected by the signs of aging to decide which techniques are best for you.
Although a Facelift can dramatically improve and rejuvenate your appearance, it doesn’t stop the aging process. Keep in mind that your face will continue to age with time.
If you have any of the following conditions, a Facelift might be right for you.
- Deep wrinkles
- Are over 40 and in good health
The ideal candidate has good skin, with deep folds around the mouth and a loss of fullness in the cheeks. Also physically healthy men and women who are realistic in their expectations and interested in reducing the appearance of sagging face and neck skin. Patients with a well-defined bone structure and skin that still retains some elasticity often receive the best results.
The Facelift Procedure
Underlying muscle and facial tissue is tightened and repositioned. Loose, sagging, or excess skin is removed. Incision marks are shorter and hard to notice. Incision marks do not alter the hairline. Local anesthesia combined with sedation is commonly used during face lift surgery, though general anesthesia can be used instead.
Types of Facelifts
- Mini-Facelift: Known as a limited-incision lift, this technique is ideal for younger patients with early signs of aging and sagging. It is less invasive and uses shorter incisions.
- Mid-Facelift: Designed to treat just the mid-face area, this type of lift elevates the cheeks to a more youthful position.
- Full Facelift: This lift targets other more serious signs of aging such as excess sagging and skin laxity, deep creases and jowling. It also provides the longest-lasting results.
A Mini-Facelift may provide the results you’re looking for with minimal scarring. The Mini-Facelift is suited to those who have limited sagginess or excess skin in the mid-face, jawline and neck, and few concerns with a droopy brow.
These Facelifts are less invasive and use short-scar and endoscopic techniques to reposition the underlying facial tissues for a more youthful contour. If you choose to have a Mini-Face Lift in your 40s, the rate at which the lower part of your face ages may be lessened. It’s becoming more common for women in their 40s and 50s to have smaller Face Lifts to correct early signs of aging and improve definition.
By using smaller incisions placed at the temples and in the hairline (which can be hidden easier), the underlying muscles are tightened, which provides a youthful boost to the face.
Procedure time for Mini-Facelift is 60-90 minutes and the recovery time is one to three weeks. The more elastic your skin is, the longer-lasting the results will be—up to eight to 12 years.
The midface/cheek area is key in the formula for a more youthful appearance. With age, the fatty tissue that normally drapes over the cheekbones can sag. The result is less prominent cheekbones and a droopy fold of skin and fat between the nose and the cheeks (referred to as the nasolabial folds). By elevating and tightening the underlying structure of the cheeks and removing any extra skin in the area, the midface has a more youthful look to it and better definition. Many doctors elect to use an endoscope (a special tool with cameras that allows your surgeon to view and reach distant anatomies through small incisions) when operating on the midface, to reach deeper or more contained areas.
I like to perform this type of lift to target concerns in the middle of the face and cheeks with very small incisions that are about 1 to 2 centimeters in length, which makes for a minimally invasive operation.
Procedure time is approximately two hours. You will probably be swollen and bruised for four to 10 days. Results can last upward of 10 years.
The traditional Facelift (technically known as rhytidectomy) is the most comprehensive way to address multiple signs of aging from the forehead to the neck, and all areas in between. If you are in your 50s or 60s and opt for a traditional Facelift, your face will age more slowly, and you’ll look at least 10 years younger.
This type of lift allows for fat redistribution, muscle reposition and removal of excess skin in order to provide the most permanent results of all types of Face Lifts available today.
When Dr. Lorenc performs a full Facelift, he hides the incisions in the contour of the ear, around the earlobe, and/or in the hairline. A small incision under the chin might be necessary if fat needs to be removed and if the muscle in the neck requires additional smoothing. For the most natural look, I use the SMAS (superficial muscular aponeurotic system) technique, in which the deeper layers of tissue and the muscle below the skin are tightened and excess skin is removed, which smooths out deep wrinkles.
Procedure time is two to four hours. It will take about two weeks before you can return to work. It can take a few months for all the swelling and bruising to go down and up to six months for your scars to fade.
Results are permanent in that you’ll always look seven to ten years younger than if you hadn’t had it done.
Benefits of having a Facelift early
In the past, a Facelift was considered appropriate only for older women. Today, women in their late 40’s and early 50’s are opting for Facelifts to help prevent excessive skin laxity associated with aging. Surgeons are making the argument that there are benefits to starting early, such as:
- Better healing: Most often, having surgery when you’re younger means that you should have an easier recovery.
- Reduced cost: If you haven’t entered the full-fledged realm of aging, you may not need to tack on additional surgeries.
- Prevention: Patients used to wait until their faces started to fall before they would lift it. Doing surgery early may help preserve the structure before it sags.
- Improved support: You’re altering the foundation so the muscles and tissues act as a support mechanism, which means you can change the course of aging that you were on.
- Better Patient Satisfaction: Scientific data shows that younger patients are happier with their results, which are also longer lasting than in older patients with significant laxity. However, proper skin maintenance is essential, and younger patients will need to make sure they are taking the necessary precautions like sun protection and skin care to prolong and enhance their results.
How much pain will I experience during the procedure?
Though most patients only experience mild pain or discomfort, pain medication will be prescribed to help control any discomfort that you do experience.
The pre Facelift timeline prep
1 to 3 Months Before
Get your skin in good shape with regular use of a retinoid and treatments like chemical peels and microdermabrasion. Avoid the sun at all costs. If you are a smoker, stop smoking at least three weeks before and after surgery.
2 to 4 Weeks Before
Get medical clearance from your primary physician. Your plastic surgeon will order blood work to assess your health and detect anything that may compromise your recovery.
1 to 2 Weeks Before
Avoid taking anti-inflammatories, aspirin and certain herbs and vitamins, which can increase risk of bleeding. Preoperative photographs will be taken. You’ll be asked to sign informed consent documents that spell out the procedure you’re having, what to expect, instructions to follow and any possible risks.
The Day Before
Eat well and try to avoid anything spicy, rich or greasy. Pack a bag, and be sure to include comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that you don’t need to pull over your head, and a hat or scarf to wear on the way home.
Recovery and healing
After surgery, the face is likely to appear bruised, pale and swollen, and some numbness can occur. It’s best for patients to take it easy during the first week and to keep their head elevated during the first few days to help control swelling. Expect at least 10 to 14 days recovery time before returning to work. You may experience swelling, bruising, or stiffness that usually subsides within four to six weeks
Are there scars after a Facelift?
The incisions for a Facelift tend to be hidden behind the ears and in the natural creases of the skin, often healing as thin thread-like lines that are well camouflaged.
What other procedures can enhance my results?
Neck lift: In many cases, a neck lift is performed in conjunction with a Facelift to achieve maximum rejuvenation and a natural-looking, balanced result. Since the face and neck are so closely connected and tend to age at the same rate, it’s rare to see one showing the signs of aging while the other area is free of them. A combination Facelift and neck lift procedure may be recommended for you if your skin is excessively saggy, or you have a loss of muscle tone. Similar to a Facelift, a neck lift eliminates fatty deposits, repositions underlying tissue and gets rid of excess skin for a more youthful look. Your surgery may be customized so that it tackles your aging.
Brow lift: If a Mid-Facelift is performed along with an endoscopic brow lift, the cheek area can be elevated while raising or lowering the brow, addressing the upper and lower eyelids and treating under-eye bags. Another perk is that the two procedures can be performed through the same incisions.
Schedule a consultation
If you are interested in learning more about a Facelift, and would like to see if you are a good candidate, contact us to schedule a consultation at our office in New York City.