It wasn’t until the last decade or so that the middle of the face started getting some real attention in the world of plastic surgery. It seems amazing to think of it now, but cosmetic surgery didn’t offer any targeted techniques to address sagging cheeks and the loss of volume between the corners of the eyes and the corners of the mouth until the mid 1990s. Before that time, cosmetic facial surgery had answers for the forehead and eyelids with procedures such as eye lifts and brow lifts, and jaws and necks were rejuvenated with traditional facelifts and neck lifts. Essentially, 30 percent of the face was being ignored!
It wasn’t that doctors didn’t want to offer an effective treatment for the mid face, it was simply a more complicated problem. When pulling cheeks vertically, where would the incision go? To what would the lifted tissues be anchored? These issues were eventually addressed through years of research and training, but mid-face lifts (also known as “vertical” lifts or cheek lifts) remain one of the trickier operations in the plastic surgery industry. As you look into this procedure, keep in mind that finding an experienced plastic surgeon is always of paramount importance, and even more so when considering a mid-face lift.
As we age, our skin, fat and muscle begin to move south due to gravity, genetics, lifestyle choices and repeated use. The area between the lower eyelids and the corners of the mouth is especially susceptible to aging and can result in deep nasolabial folds, volume loss, and sagging cheeks that pull the lower eyelids down.
Traditional facelift surgery pulls the skin and underlying tissues sideways towards incisions made around the ears or in the hairline. It is difficult to smooth and fill nasolabial folds with a traditional facelift, and not all patients need a procedure that effects that wide of an area. In a mid-face lift, incisions can be made in several ways but are most commonly placed in the lower eyelids or inside the mouth. For this reason, a mid-face lift is often called a “scar free facelift.” Again, it is important to choose a plastic surgeon with loads of mid-face lift experience as one undesirable outcome is the pulling down of the lower eyelid, known as eyelid retraction.
The ultimate goal of a mid-face lift surgery is to restore the naturally rounded, or convex, appearance of the face. As we age, our faces sag and lose volume, which results in a flat or concave facial profile. During the operation, the cheek skin and facial tissues are lifted and then anchored to deeper structures to prevent further cheek descent. Most plastic surgeons recommend fat grafting in combination with a mid-face lift to restore lost volume. Fat grafting uses fat from another area of the patient’s body and offers a longer lasting result than synthetic dermal fillers.
A mid-face lift is usually performed under general anesthesia and typically takes two to four hours. Recovery times are quicker than a full face lift and some patients with less extreme sagging may get by with a one-hour procedure called a SOOF lift. A SOOF (suborbicularis oculi fat) lift is a less involved procedure that simply repositions the fat pad directly under each eye to be slightly higher. A mid face lift will not fix wrinkles on the skin, an aging neck, upper eyelid or eyebrow concerns, or forehead drooping.
While it might have taken hundreds of years for cosmetic surgeons to finally address the middle third of the face, the resulting mid-face lift procedure was worth the wait. It offers yet another rejuvenation option for patients on the hunt for their most natural and beautiful selves.
Learn More About: Mid-Face Lift – A Scar Free Facelift
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