These days you have a number of options when it comes to fighting the signs of aging on your face. Laser skin resurfacing can improve the texture and tone of your skin while injections such as Botox can reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Even though non-surgical options have increased in popularity in recent years, surgeries such as a facelift remain a viable option for many patients. When weighing your anti-aging options, it’s important to understand what a facelift can and can’t do and how it is different from the other procedures available.
It’s Evolved Over the Years
Facelift surgery has changed over the years. When first developed, at the beginning of the 20th century, the surgery focused on tightening the skin and the skin only. The skin might have looked smoother and patients somewhat younger, but the more common result was that patients looked operated on. The results of early facelift procedures was often described as "windswept," as it looked as though patients’ faces were being pushed by a strong wind.
As time went on, surgeons developed better and better ways of performing facelift surgery, producing results that were not only more natural-looking but that also lasted longer. In the 1970s, surgeons began lifting the SMAS layer below the skin. In the 1980s and 1990s, they went even deeper and the deep plane facelift was developed. Today’s facelifts involve removing extra fat, muscle and skin from the area, producing a natural looking result that can last for a decade or longer.
It Focuses on One Area of the Face
There’s often confusion about the parts of the face a facelift can rejuvenate. Although the name might suggest that the surgery refreshes the entire facial area, including the forehead and areas around the eyes, a facelift actually only focuses on the lower part of the face, such as the lower cheeks, chin and upper neck.
If you are concerned about the signs of aging in other areas of the face, such as near the eyes, a procedure such as blepharoplasty, or an eyelid lift, might be a better option. It’s possible to combine a facelift with an eyelid surgery or other procedure to create a balanced, more youthful appearance.
Age Can Be Just a Number
One of the big questions people have when considering a facelift is "Am I the right age for this procedure?" In many cases, it’s not so much a matter of age, but a matter of the amount of aging on a person’s face that determines whether he or she is a good candidate for the surgery. People age differently, based on their genes, the amount of sun exposure they have had and their habits, such as smoking or eating a poor diet. That means that a person who’s smoked a pack a day for 20 years might be ready for a facelift at age 45 while someone who’s avoided spending a lot of time in the sun or who never smoked might not be ready for the surgery until she or he is in her or his 60s or 70s.
Health also plays a part in determining whether a facelift is appropriate for a patient, more than his or her age. Generally, people are in better health when they are younger, but that isn’t always the case. A patient in her 40s who smokes might not be a good candidate for the surgery compared to a non-smoker in her 70s who has no chronic illnesses.
Results Can Last, But Aren’t Permanent
Typically, the results from a facelift are long-lasting, especially when compared to the results from a minimally invasive procedure, such as laser skin resurfacing or an injection. While you might see results from an injection that last for up to two years, in many instances, the results from a facelift can last anywhere from five to 15 years.
The longevity of a facelift’s results can create confusion for some people. There’s a misconception in some circles that the surgery produces permanent results and that it will stop the aging process in its tracks. While the surgery does turn back the clock, aging will continue after it. If you want to get the most from your facelift, there are a few things you can do to make the results last as long as possible, such as eating a healthy diet, avoiding sun exposure and quitting smoking.
If you are concerned about the signs of aging on the lower portion of your face, a facelift might be the best option for you. To learn more about the surgery and whether you’re a good fit for it, talk to a specialist, such as Dr. Jessica Kulak, today. Dr. Kulak practices at the Naderi Center, which has locations in Maryland and Virginia. To schedule a consultation with her at the Virginia practice, call 703-481-0002 today. For an appointment in Maryland, call 301-222-2020 today.