The unusually high number of consultations we’ve had for face and neck lift procedures in the hot summer months leads us to believe that we’re doing something very right in the facial rejuvenation world, so we thought we might share with you our thoughts on what makes a facelift “good”.
The traditional facelift season is in the wintertime when the cold makes it easier to stay inside and lay low for a while, so the rising popularity we’ve seen outside of this usual season has us feeling very confident about the way we handle surgical facial rejuvenation.
Keep reading to learn more about the tell-tale signs of a good facelift…
All good facial rejuvenation surgery has the following list of items in common:
- HIDDEN SCARS. Facelift and neck lift scars are usually positioned around the front and back of the ear, and are hidden in the natural skin creases in those areas. Be cautious with “short scar” or “behind the ear only” techniques as they can look reasonable immediately after surgery, but become very noticeable after 6 months when the scars stretch and widen. Scars are a necessary evil of any surgical procedure, and the key is not to expect them to be eliminated since this is impossible to do without compromising the integrity of the operation. The goal is to conceal them, not eliminate them. The operation must be performed correctly in order for it to last and maintain a result that you’re happy with, and it is almost always necessary for the surgeon to access the surgical area though an incision all the way around the ear. Scars that widen after short-cut operations are extremely difficult to fix, so if a heavily marketed procedure seems too good to be true, assume that it is and avoid it.
- DOCTOR AND PATIENT ON THE SAME PAGE. It’s a very common misunderstanding that a facelift and a neck lift are two separate procedures, and that they can be performed independently of one another. This isn’t entirely true. Facelifts and neck lifts are essentially the same operation that is focused on a different area of the face. Most people who are interested in facial rejuvenation surgery are concerned with their sagging neck, so this is a very common area of “focus” in the operation. A procedure performed with the focus on the neck may be referred to as a neck lift, but that does not mean that nothing happens to the face. In fact, it should not mean that nothing changes on the face. Performing the operation this way would lead to a very unnatural result if the neck becomes youthful and tight while the rest of the face remains jowly and sagging. The converse is also true about performing a facelift without touching the neck. Although this is possible, it will always produce a result that is less impressive and less natural than if both areas were rejuvenated in balance. The key piece of information here is that it is possible for your surgeon to focus on the area bothers you the most… your neck and jawline, or your jowls and cheeks, or both. An experienced facelift surgeon can tailor the procedure specifically to your desires and goals, so make sure you’re on the same page with him about this prior to surgery.
- A GOOD JAWLINE. A beautiful, uninterrupted jawline with minimal jowling is a hallmark of a good face or neck lift, regardless of the area of focus that you and your surgeon decide on. A defined jawline from the chin to the neck looks young and natural, and is always rated very highly in satisfaction surveys about the procedure.
- NOT TOO TIGHT. One of most common concerns that facelift patients express is that they don’t want to be “pulled to tight”. The keyword here is pulled. Nothing should be pulled during face or neck lift surgery if it’s performed properly. It’s not pulling that leads to a natural result, it’s lifting. Lifting is the key to repositioning the cheeks, jowls, and jawline into a higher position to counteract the effect of gravity. Short-cut operations with too-good-to-be-true scars and recovery periods are often designed to pull rather than lift because pulling is easier and quicker than performing the procedure correctly. Anyone interested in facelift surgery should take this very seriously since problems that result from being pulled rather than lifted are very difficult to fix.
- GOOD PREOPERATIVE PLANNING.Good planning always leads to good results, and this is especially true with facelift surgery. Planning for facelift surgery is necessary in three areas: 1) the recovery period, 2) preoperative health evaluation, and 3) stopping all non-prescription medications at least one month before surgery.
- Recovery: For most patients, there will be a 10-14 day initial recovery period where you will be advised to avoid all strenuous activity like lifting, bending, and exercise. This is important to know because the recovery period for facelift surgery is longer than other forms of cosmetic surgery, and your life needs to be planned in advance. Take the time to minimize duties at work, with children and pets, and plan how you will stay out of the hot weather. Being too active in the early period after facelift surgery predisposes you to bleeding and additional swelling that will only prolong your overall recovery.
- Health Evaluation: If you are older than 50, or if you take any prescription medications, it will be necessary to have a routine checkup from your medical doctor before surgery. These evaluations usually include bloodwork, an EKG, and a physical exam, but they can be more extensive if your doctor feels that it’s necessary to evaluate anything further. Do not wait until the last minute to schedule your checkup. You may be surprised to find that you can’t get an appointment with your doctor for a while, or that it takes longer than you thought to get your results, so plan ahead and schedule this well in advance of your surgery.
- Medications: It’s extremely important to stop all non-prescription medications, especially NSAID’s like aspirin and ibuprofen, herbal supplements, and even healthy teas, at least one month prior to facelift surgery. All of these items thin the blood and predispose you to bleeding problems, so make sure they are well out of your system before you go under the knife. Click here for more specific info on medications to avoid before surgery.
If you have any questions about facelift surgery, or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 917-703-7069 or click here to send us a message through our website.Nicholas Vendemia, M.D. Plastic Surgeon New York
Photo Credit: Manhattan Aesthetic Surgery LLC