American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals

How to get the best results from your facelift

Despite the ever-increasing popularity of nonsurgical facial rejuvenation procedures, surgical facelifts still remain a popular option for patients seeking to look younger and refreshed. In fact, the results of nonsurgical treatments rarely come close to those of an expertly performed facelift. So how do we explain the variety of facelift outcomes we see out in our everyday lives? Some are amazing, and some... not so much.

Who is the best plastic surgeon for me?

One factor is the plastic surgeon performing the procedure. You should take the time to find the right plastic surgeon for them. There are plenty of resources on this website that will help you learn how to pick the right surgeon for your concerns. No surgeon can be an expert at all cosmetic plastic surgery procedures, so if you are looking to have a facelift procedure make sure your plastic surgeon focuses on facelifts.

How old do I really look?

Another factor is the patient themselves. More specifically it is the state of the starting anatomy of the patient. When I evaluate a patient for facelift surgery, the questions I ask myself are as follows:

  1. How much volume loss does this patient have?
  2. How much damage has their skin sustained?
  3. What types of asymmetries does their face show?
  4. How likely will they be to follow my aftercare instructions?

Managing volume loss

When deciding on how to surgically rejuvenate the aging face, one thing I look at is volume. As we age, bone and fat are lost, creating a deflated, saggy appearance to the face. Adding volume back to the face during surgery will optimize the results and give you a more natural appearance. Options for adding volume include filler injections, facial fat transfer and facial implant surgery.

Getting the skin in shape for surgery

Healthy skin is the key to a good facelift outcome. When the skin has sustained years of sun damage, the patient smokes cigarettes and/or yo-yo dieting has resulted in loose skin, the outcomes from facelift surgery will probably be underwhelming. All patients benefit from a course of skin preparation before facelift surgery to get it into the best shape possible for surgery. Options for skin preparation include stopping smoking, use of sunblock, medical grade skin care, skin procedures (microdermabrasion, chemical peels, microneedling, dermaplaning) and skin tightening procedures (ultrasound, radiofrequency, laser).

Managing asymmetry

Everyone has asymmetries of the face. In fact, it is best to assume you still won't be perfectly symmetric after surgery. That being said small asymmetries in volume and position can be managed by making adjustments during surgery. A good surgeon will be able to spot these asymmetries and account for them during the procedure. This helps get the best outcomes for the patient.

Good aftercare is essential

If you buy a Ferrari, you probably will take it to get detailed every now and then. You'll get the oil changed and tires rotated. You should view maintaining the results of your facelift in the same way. It is unrealistic to assume that once you get a facelift, you have to do nothing else. In fact, it is essential that you take good care of yourself to keep your facelift looking great over the years. The average facelift lasts 7-10 years before a patient has aged enough to require additional work. Things that help maintain your facelift results include avoiding smoking, use of sunblock, medical skin care, skin rejuvenation procedures and maintaining weight stability.

In today's fast-paced, media-driven world, people want to look and feel their best. While nonsurgical options continue to play a huge role in the management of the aging face, facelifts are still the gold standard for those wanting to look young and refreshed.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.


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