- Who is a candidate for a facelift?
- Why are these changes happening to my face and neck?
- What can be done to treat these signs of aging?
- What does a facelift involve?
- What is the best treatment for me?
- What does facelift surgery and recovery entail?
- How long will the results of a facelift last?
Growing older does not mean you have to look older. Over time, the loss of skin elasticity as we age, combined with environmental factors such as sun exposure, cause us to develop wrinkles of the face and neck as well as sagging skin on the cheeks, jaw line and neck. You may have noticed that some people age more gracefully than others. Often, there’s more to this than just “good genes.” Many patients here in New Jersey owe their youthful looks to facelift surgery. When these patients look younger, they often feel younger too.
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, facelift was the seventh most popular cosmetic surgery in 2012, with 119,006 face lifts performed on both men and women across the country.
You may be a candidate for a facelift if you experience the following:
- a loss of skin elasticity and muscle tone of the face and neck
- jowls and deep creases between the base of the nose and corners of the mouth (known as the nasolabial folds)
- loss of youthful chin, jaw line definition and neck contours
- a tired facial appearance
Because gravity and the aging process affect individuals at different times, there is no “right time” to start thinking about a facelift. Both men and women who are concerned about improving the signs of facial aging are potentially candidates for a facelift.
41 year old before and after a mini facelift and fat injections to her cheeks and nasolabial folds. She also had an upper eyelid blepharoplasty along with a brow lift. She has received many favorable compliments, loves her appearance and feels much more self confident.
68 year old before and after a face and neck lift along with fat injections. She is very happy with her facial and neck rejuvenation and feels she looks years younger.
As we age, our faces change in predictable ways. Our skin, as well as the soft tissues beneath it, loses some of its key biochemical components such as collagen and elastin. This loss of structural support allows gravity, in addition to years of facial expression, to loosen and stretch this framework. People often say that they have developed “jowls” or a “turkey neck” to describe some of these changes.
Whereas our skin used to be smooth, as part of the aging process, it develops wrinkles and lines, areas of discoloration and blotchiness. Environmental factors such as sun exposure and smoking worsen and accelerate aging.
The fatty tissue beneath the skin, called subcutaneous tissue, atrophies to varying degrees as part of the aging process. This loss of facial volume contributes to a sunken or hollow appearance in certain parts of the face.
Before picture of 68 year old patient exemplifies usual results of the aging process: laxity of skin in cheeks and neck, wrinkles. Dr. Parker performed a full facelift and neck lift. She is pleased with improved contour to her neck and face.
Medical terminology can sometimes be confusing. A face lift, or rhytidectomy, is an operation that addresses the lower two thirds of the aging face and is often combined with a neck lift. A brow lift, otherwise known as a forehead lift, corrects the aging forehead and eyebrows; that is, the upper third of the face. An eyelid lift, otherwise known as a blepharoplasty, rejuvenates the aging eyelids. This can involve the upper lids, lower lids or both.
50 year old patient before and after a brow lift to improve the upper third of her face, an upper and lower lid blepharoplasty to correct the areas around her eyes and a face and neck lift to rejuvenate the lower two thirds of her face as well as her neck.
In performing a facelift, Dr. Parker makes carefully concealed incisions in front of and behind the ear which allow him to address the lower two thirds of the face and neck. He separates the skin along with a 3-4 mm thickness of fatty tissue from the deeper fatty tissue, the underlying muscles and their covering layer, called fascia. The fascia, in the face, is also known as the submusculoaponeurotic system, or SMAS. Dr. Parker next lifts and tightens the SMAS with sutures, which elevate the deep facial fat into a more youthful position. This also gets rid of the jowls.
Dr. Parker will address the loss or atrophy of facial fat with fat injections. He will liposuction fat from the patient’s abdomen or other area, purify it, then judiciously inject it into the areas of atrophy to help create more youthful contours.
In performing a neck lift, Dr. Parker lifts and tightens the fascia overlying the broad, paired platysmal muscles in the neck through these same well concealed incisions in front of and behind the ear. This allows him to tighten and better define the jaw line, as well as reduce a double chin or “turkey neck”.
The last step in performing a facelift and/ or neck lift is to remove the excess skin from in front of and behind the ear. Dr. Parker then very carefully closes all of the incisions with sutures to make the resultant scars inconspicuous.
In performing this type of state of the art, two-layer facelift, Dr. Parker achieves a natural and longer lasting lift in both the face and neck.
“After my first meeting at your office with Christine and yourself, my decision was made for me. I would like to say that your whole staff are a very caring and professional group and go beyond helpful. I could not be more pleased with the results; friends and relatives alike look at me and say, ‘You look like you have been on a very long and relaxing holiday.’ If asked, I would recommend your facility without hesitation, and have done so. Thank you so very much for everything.”
—Face Lift Patient
In treating the aging face and neck, many options currently exist and continue to expand. The many available options can often be confusing to the patient. During your initial consultation with Dr. Parker, he will listen to your concerns, perform a physical examination of your entire face to assess your skin quality, soft tissue laxity and volume. Dr. Parker will then review his findings with you as well as the various options for treatment. This will allow him to customize a treatment plan along with you based on your age, individual anatomy, particular desires, resources and time for recovery.
The modern standard, or classic facelift, addresses the signs of facial aging that occur from the just below the eyes down to the base of the neck.
46 year old before and after classic facelift to rejuvenate her face and neck. The patient very much liked her results, saying her face and neck look firmer and tighter.
A mini facelift addresses aging in the cheeks and along the jaw line, but not the neck. The incisions are shorter and the recovery quicker. Mini lifts are often an excellent choice for younger patients without advanced facial aging or severe sagging in the neck.
38 year old before and after mini facelift to refresh her face and improve early jowling. Patient also had a lower lid blepharoplasty. She says she looks and feels younger.
A neck lift is part of a standard or classic facelift, but can also be performed as a stand- alone procedure to rejuvenate an aging neck.
46 year old before and after an isolated neck lift to treat neck laxity. The patient was very pleased with her more youthful neck and cleaner jawline.
Volume which has been lost from the face, due to aging and subcutaneous tissue atrophy, can be restored through the use of judicious fat injections.
47 year old before and after a mini facelift with judicious fat injections to treat laxity of mid and lower face. The patient was excited about the fuller cheekbones and the rejuvenated, more youthful appearance of her face.
61 year old patient before and after endoscopic brow lift, upper and lower blepharoplasty, a facelift and a peri-oral dermabrasion to address facial aging. The brow lift and blepharoplasty has re-opened her eyes, and the facelift has rejuvenated allowed the cheeks and jowls while giving the neck a more pleasing contour.
Environmental and aging damage to the skin surface can be improved most directly by non surgical facial rejuvenation. This can include a customized skin care regime, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, IPL or laser treatments.
“Thank you again for helping me look my best for my daughter’s wedding. The entire groom’s side and some of the people from my side “who knew me” thought I was one of the bridesmaids. They didn’t realize I was the mother-of-the-bride until the priest called the mothers up to the altar to light the candles. I received so many compliments on my appearance, and, of course, your work was a major contributing factor. Thank you again for your expertise.”
—Face Lift Patient
A facelift is performed in our onsite, fully certified, ambulatory surgery center called Surgiplex, under monitored intravenous sedation or general anesthesia administered by one of our board certified anesthesiologists. The time of surgery will vary based on what type of facelift procedure is being performed as well as any additional surgeries.
Patients are monitored overnight in our surgical facility by a registered nurse with one-on-one nursing care. After surgery, there is very little pain and most patients do not request medication. Stitches are removed within one week. Swelling and discoloration subside within 10 to 14 days. Camouflage make-up may be applied after one week. Patients may return to normal activities in 10 to 14 days and exercise in two to three weeks.
Most of our patients lead active lives and are anxious to return to their activities as soon as possible after surgery. With that in mind, we have tailored our surgical procedures, anesthesia, and medications administered, and we have developed a unique Rapid Recovery peri-operative program to accelerate our patients’ recuperation after surgery. While everyone heals differently, we aim to optimize how our patients recover by minimizing swelling and bruising. Most of our patients are able to rejoin society within 10-14 days. During both your consultation with Dr. Parker and in your pre-op education visit with our Nurse Educator, your anticipated recovery will be discussed in detail.
“I would like to thank you for the wonderful job you did on my face. Having a facelift, a nasoplasty, a blepharoplasty, and a brow lift done at the same time was definitely not an easy job. Being a doctor, I know a lot about these procedures, and I also know a couple of very good plastic surgeons whom I could have chosen to do them. Choosing you was therefore not an easy decision for me, but the results show that I wasn’t wrong…. Surgiplex is a very modern, well-equipped facility where good quality, safe intra- and post-operative care can be provided. Considering all of the above, I have no reserve in recommending you to any person interested in having plastic surgery.”
—Face Lift Patient
A facelift does not stop the aging process. If Dr. Parker performed a facelift on one of two aging twins, the patient who had the facelift will always look younger as they both continue to age.
It is said that a biplane SMAS facelift should last approximately 8 to 12 years. This number will vary based on an individual’s genetics, how well they maintain their health, and whether or not they smoke, tan excessively or have substantial weight fluctuations.
50 year old patient shown 10 years after an endoscopic brow lift, upper and lower blepharoplasty, facelift, and peri-oral dermabrasion. The patient has been delighted with her natural appearance and the restoration and long-term maintenance of her youthful facial features.
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Paul M. Parker, M.D. · Parker Center for Plastic Surgery · Paramus NJ