When is the Right Time for a Facelift?
Is 40 too young? Is 70 too old? These are but a few of the questions our patients at Anton Aesthetics, a Newport Beach plastic surgery and skin care practice ask when considering a facelift.
The truth is age doesn’t matter. There are plenty of 40-something men and women that opt for facelift surgery. Likewise, we see patients well into their 70s who still want to embrace the vibrancy of their youthfulness and choose a facelift and other procedures to help them look as young as they feel.
We certainly don’t advocate a facelift before it is warranted, and today there are plenty of non-surgical treatments to improve the signs of aging. For instance, volume loss in the temples and cheeks can be augmented with a variety of fillers/volumizers and postpone the desired timing of a facelift. However, a facelift is the best option for the type of facial aging that presents as “sags and bags.” The key is determining whether you are a candidate for a facelift, fillers, or both.
Surgery is for Sags and Bags
A facelift is performed to reposition and/or re-shape sagging tissues of the face and neck into more youthful contours so that the neckline, jawline, and triangulation of the face are better visualized. This makes the face appear more rested and less tired. Upper and lower blepharoplasties are often performed at the same time. Browlifts (forehead lifts) are needed less frequently (with the advent of Botox), but can be done at the same time. Most texture issues, fine lines and other wrinkles are not addressed with a facelift, but other modalities exist to improve them, which are often performed in the office.
A two-layered facelift should always be done. The deeper SMAS (sub-muscular aponeurotic system) layer is comprised of more inelastic fibrous tissue that can hold the tension when elevated and repositioned. This layer is the key to a natural appearing facelift as the overlying skin can be redraped with minimal tension, and this combination best withstands the test of time.
In general, a good candidate for a facelift has one or more of the following physical changes:
- Enlarging jowls obscuring the jaw line.
- Sagging of the midface with deepening of the nasolabial groove.
- Fuller neck angle with excess fat and skin.
- Lateral brow line that has dropped below the boney rim.
A facelift is done under general or sometimes twilight anesthesia and takes approximately four hours. Incisions are strategically placed around the ear behind anatomic landmarks, such as the tragus and posterior ear crease. Once healed, the thin scars should be difficult to see even when water or wind is sweeping your hair backwards.
Actual Patient of Dr. Mark A. Anton, MD, FACS
Image Three Weeks Post Operation
Facelift versus Fillers
It is common for patients to combine a facelift with other facial rejuvenating surgeries, including a blepharoplasty (upper and/or lower eyes), rhinoplasty (nose job), brow lift, or fat transfer with PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma). It is important to note that fat transfers and other fillers are not a substitute for a facelift.
Let’s be very clear, a facelift is the only procedure that can combat “sags and bags.” Fillers or volumizers can help rejuvenate the face, but only by recontouring highs or hollows; they do not really lift. So-called “liquid facelifts” are often the culprits behind a recent and disturbing trend in faces that are over-inflated and unnatural looking.
Achieving a natural and thus more youthful appearance requires an expert who understands how to apply fillers in a balanced way. Lasers and other skin-tightening devices, such as radio frequency/ultrasound technologies, profess to improve skin laxity, but any significant improvements from these modalities are hard to find.
Making an Informed Decision
Deciding to have a facelift is a very personal decision, usually one that involves thoughtful deliberation. Your very first consideration should be selecting the right plastic surgeon – one that is Board Certified in Plastic Surgery, with years of surgical experience and training.
Dr. Anton is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon with an additional Facial Fellowship and has been practicing in Newport Beach, California for over 21 years. “Board certification” in plastic surgery is a significant achievement in the world of American medicine because it is a Board recognized by the ABMS (American Board of Medical Specialties). This organization only recognizes 24 Boards, ONE of which covers aesthetic plastic surgery of the entire head and body: this is the Board of Plastic Surgery. The ABMS does not recognize any board of cosmetic surgery.
During your consultation with Dr. Anton, he will discuss the many options available for facial rejuvenation. If you would like to schedule a complimentary facelift consultation with Dr. Anton, please call our offices at 949.722.1967 or fill out our online consultation form.