When we think of facelift surgery, we often picture the “bad celebrity facelift photos” that we see in gossip magazines. Public figures such as Kenny Rogers, Priscilla Presley, Joan Rivers, Rupert Everett and others have been skewered for shocking transformations that left them looking as if they’d taken a ride in a convertible jet plane. What we don’t often realize is how many people have had terrific success with facelifts. We simply don’t know about them because they still look natural and not, well, strange.
A good facelift is one that aims for a refreshed look rather than a total transformation. In the past, cosmetic surgeons would simply make an incision around the ear and pull the top layer of skin tighter. While this worked to tighten the skin and eliminate some wrinkles, the technique contributed to the “wind tunnel” look and the results did not last very long. Today, improved techniques include an adjustment to your SMAS and possible other smaller procedures such as fat transfers, eye lifts and a neck lift to achieve the best results.
What is an SMAS Facelift?
SMAS stands for Superficial Musculo-Aponeurotic System. The SMAS is a very strong, thin layer that acts like Saran Wrap to adhere the skin to the deeper tissues and muscles of the face.
SMAS strategies are used during traditional facelifts to improve the patient’s overall aesthetic and to give the longest lasting result. Instead of adjusting only the top layer of skin, SMAS techniques are most often used today and vary from cutting, lifting and anchoring the SMAS behind the ear to simply tightening the SMAS with regular or barbed sutures. Each patient’s individual anatomy is unique, and only the surgeon can determine the most effective technique for each patient. Whatever SMAS technique is used, the end goal is the same – to give you a powerful and lasting lift with the most natural-looking results.
What Other Procedures often Accompany Facelifts?
Most of us are surprised to learn that regular people have a completely different definition of what constitutes a “face” than do plastic surgeons. To most individuals, a face is the entire front part of the head, or whatever area is not covered by hair, including the forehead, eyes, temples, nose, cheeks, chin and jaw. But to a plastic surgeon, for the purposes of a traditional facelift, the face is defined as the cheeks, mouth and the area in front of the ears. It does not include the forehead, eyes, neck or jaw. These areas are often rejuvenated with other procedures in conjunction with a traditional facelift, because smoothing and plumping the lower face without addressing a sagging neck or drooping eyes would give an unnatural result. For this reason, other procedures such as eye lifts, neck lifts and brow lifts are often performed in combination with a facelift.
While a facelift can certainly tighten the skin, smooth wrinkles and lift sagging cheeks, a facelift alone cannot replace volume. Lost volume is the biggest indicator of advancing age, which is why many patients choose to combine a fat transfer with a facelift.
By taking unwanted fat from another part of the patient’s body, often in the hip area, processing it and then reinjecting it into sunken areas of the face, doctors can truly achieve a complete facial rejuvenation. Dermal fillers such as Restylane, Perlane, Radiesse, and Juverderm are wonderful non-invasive options for replacing lost volume in the nasolabial folds, marionette line, temples and cheeks.
If you have decided to undergo surgery for a facelift, it is a good time to utilize fat transfer because you are already on the operating table and the results from fat transfer last five years or more. Synthetic fillers typically last only 12-18 months. Plus, because the fat comes from your own body, there is no risk of rejection or allergic reaction.
At What Age Should I Consider a Facelift?
Each individual face is unique and certain genetic factors or environmental factors could put some people at greater risk for early aging. However, the typical age for a cosmetic facelift is between 45 and 65 years old. If you’ve tried diet and exercise, and you’ve tried less invasive techniques such as Botox, IPL, lasers, dermal fillers, chemical peels, ultherapy. etc, and you still are not happy with your facial results, then a facelift might be a good option for achieving your aesthetic goals.
Learn About Traditional Face Lift Surgery and Better Techniques Available
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