Eventually, our face and neck show our age. As we get older, our skin loses firmness and elasticity, which causes the skin to droop and sag, leading to jowls and folds along the jawline, under the chin and on the neck. Those fine lines on the forehead, the corners of the eyes and around the nose and mouth turn into deeper wrinkles and folds. While there’s nothing you can do to avoid aging, as a Houston cosmetic surgeon, I do perform a variety of procedures that can turn the clock back and make you look years younger. One of the most popular facial cosmetic procedures for doing this is the facelift, or the rhytidectomy.
While injections, topical solutions and procedures like a non-invasive facelift can be really helpful and make you appear more youthful, they won’t bring about the dramatic outcome that a facelift will. That’s because a facelift involves surgically tightening the skin on the face and neck and it addresses the deep underlying tissue for lasting results. Yet, there are several different types of facelifts and the one you choose will depend on your goals and areas of concern. Here are the facelift options I offer at Premiere Surgical Arts:
For moderate to more significant aging, a traditional full facelift may be your best bet. A traditional facelift is typically performed under IV sedation or general anesthesia. I make incisions behind the hairline by the temples and in the natural folds in front of the ears. I separate the skin from the deep tissues and muscles. I then lift the skin from the neck, cheeks and temples, as well as reposition and lift the connective tissue. I also remove excess fat and skin to help smooth out wrinkles and creases and get rid of jowls and sagging from under the chin. Since many of my Houston facelift patients opt for a neck lift too, at this point, I bring the neck muscles together and stitch them at the midline to create a sling that will support the jaw and neck. Sometimes, I’ll also perform liposuction on the jowls and neck or add cheek or chin implants for volume if that’s part of the plan. To wrap things up, I re-drape the skin over the newly created underlying structure and close the incisions.
A cheek lift is one of the more minimally invasive facelift options. A cheek lift focuses on the mid-face (the area between the eyes and the mouth). This area is extremely vulnerable to gravity. As we age, we often lose some of the tone and fat in the cheek area and experience deepening tear troughs, leading to bags and dark circles Additionally, nasio-labial lines form between the bottom edges of the nose and the corners of the mouth and deepen over the years.
A cheek lift is performed under IV sedation or general anesthesia. I make small incisions right above the temples behind the hairline. Through the incisions, I lift the cheek tissue up and secure the cheek mound with stitches. This smoothes out nasio-labial lines and can also help mask the loss of volume under the eyes. To truly address the tear trough and re-contour the lower eyelid fat pads, however, the procedure is often combined with dermal fillers or eyelid surgery.
A mini lift, sometimes called a mini facelift, is great for patients who have mild sagging and jowls. It’s less invasive than traditional facelift surgery and can help you nip the signs of aging in the bud before they get more pronounced. I perform mini facelifts using local anesthesia and sedation or, sometimes, general anesthesia. During the procedure, I make small, short incisions either above the ears in your hairline or in the natural creases around the ear. Then, I lift and tighten the tissue to get rid of jowls and lift and define the jawline. It can help you look younger, fresher and rejuvenated.
What Type of Facelift is the Best for Me?
The ideal candidate for a facelift is someone who has facial sagging but still has some elasticity left in the skin. This is why most of my Houston facelift patients are in their 40s to 70s. Yet, sometimes, older patients can still get amazing results. I always do a thorough exam, talk with you about your concerns and treatment goals and assess your health before recommending the facelift options I think are best suited to your needs. Generally, patients with more significant sagging and jowls may want to consider a traditional facelift, while those with mild sagging, could benefit more from a cheek lift or a mini lift. However, the less invasive options can also be combined with other procedures for impactful results even when the signs of aging are fairly advanced.
What is the Facelift Recovery Like?
After your procedure, you’ll likely have some swelling, bruising and discomfort. I’ll prescribe medication to manage any pain, though for many patients, the discomfort is much milder than they expected. To keep the swelling and bruising to a minimum, you can apply cold compresses. You will also want to rest for the first few days post-surgery and keep your head elevated even when you’re lying down. At the conclusion of your procedure, I apply a padded dressing. This will come off in about a day or two. I’ll also remove any stitches or staples within five to 10 days. Full recovery takes approximately two to three weeks with most patients able to return to work in two weeks.
If you’re concerned about sagging skin on the face and neck, schedule a consultation at Premiere Surgical Arts. I’ll discuss our Houston facelift options with you to help you decide on the procedure that will give you a smoother, brighter, more youthful look.