What is a Face Lift?
A face lift is a surgical procedure that tightens muscles, removes excess skin and fat from the face (and sometimes the neck as well), and reforms skin so that signs of aging aren't so apparent. Face lifts can benefit men as well as women, so they've become very popular among both sexes, especially in patients older than 40. Record numbers of people are now seeking out a face lift of their own in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and beyond.
Simply put, a face lift is designed to improve a patient's appearance and produce a more rested look. Good cosmetic surgeons, such as ours at YOUnique Cosmetic Surgery, take special care to ensure the most natural-looking results, so the patient looks rejuvenated, refreshed, and even more youthful, as opposed to just having had surgery done. The surgery requires an expert blend of medical expertise and artistic talent, as it concerns a patient's health and safety as well as appearance.
What are the effects of aging?
Aging is inevitable. Try as we might to prevent it from happening, to stop getting older, it's a fact of life we must face. There are dozens of factors to consider when aging is concerned, especially when you're talking about the effects aging has on your skin, and especially the skin on your face. However, sagging of the face and neck, wrinkles and frown and laugh lines, and loss of facial volume play the biggest roles in the loss of a youthful look. All of these factors can be drastically improved by a face lift.
Specifically, a face lift can address:
- mid-face tissue sagging
- deep creases, such as those that appear below the eyes and others that run from the nose to the corners of the mouth
- displaced or missing fat
- jowls due to skin tone laxity
- double chin
Scientists are still studying and seeking to understand what drives the aging process, particularly on our skin, but we do know that the sorts of changes addressed by a face lift are typically due to a combination of factors. Wrinkles, creases, and volume shifts and loss occur as beneficial elements in the skin naturally diminish as time goes by. The aging process is helped along, however, by environmental damage, including UV radiation from the sun, which can dry out skin, making it less pliant and able to maintain smooth, rounded contours.
Even weight loss can contribute to a sagging look, since the loss of fat in key areas can cause insufficiently resilient skin to hang instead of tighten.
Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, staying hydrated, using proper sun protection, and otherwise caring for your skin and body can all certainly help to keep you looking youthful and vibrant, but even people who live their lives with their skin health in mind can find themselves considering a face lift as time and gravity team up to pull features downward and form wrinkles despite those best efforts.
What is the process for a face lift?
Dr. Youssef has perfected the art of the face lift over many years. This is an outpatient procedure taking only hours to complete.
Though Dr. Youssef and his team have an efficient workflow that allows him to deliver superior results safely and quickly, a face lift is still a complex surgical procedure that requires patients to receive an anesthetic. The procedure should be done under IV sedation, which dulls sensation by extremely relaxing the patient, or twilight sleep, which renders a patient unconscious. Dr. Youssef will go over the benefits of each method and will help to determine the appropriate choice for individual needs and preferences at the time of the consultation.
Once proper sedation has been given, Dr. Youssef will make small incisions, meticulously placed to minimize the appearance of scars.
Placement depends on the scope of the face lift, as well as each patient's unique anatomy and ultimate goals. These incisions will allow him to remove and reposition fat as necessary to create slimmer and more youthful contours.
A face lift may also involve some liposuction for the removal of unwanted fat.
Once everything is in place, the surgeon will redrape the skin over the newly shaped tissues, ensuring that it is tight and firm. Excess skin is trimmed away, and what remains is sutured into place to begin healing.
In some instances, the surgeon may place a drainage tube behind the ear so that excess blood and fluid don't pool up under the skin. If it's necessary, the tube is removed within one or two days of the surgery.
Swelling, bruising, and related side effects will fade in the days following a face lift, gradually revealing the new contours. While everyone heals at different rates, you should plan on one to two weeks of recovery time before returning to daily life.
Some people choose to wait six weeks before attending any major social events, and it can take a year for all of the changes made by the surgery to fully resolve, but most people find that they can clearly see the results they were hoping for within one or two months.
Our surgeons also offer a "mini face lift," also referred to as the "lifestyle lift," "one-hour face lift," or the "quick lift." This procedure targets the neck and jowls and is usually done along with a chemical peel or laser skin resurfacing and fillers to help fight the appearance of aging. The "mini" offers a more natural look than a full face lift, it involves less invasive procedures, and recovery time is minimal.
What are the risks of a face lift?
As with any surgical procedure, there's always the possibility of complications. The risks associated with a face lift are quite limited, and are usually isolated events that are very minor and temporary. They can include discomfort, swelling, numbness, bruising, and a feeling of tightness of the facial skin. The most common risk is infection or hematoma.
It's very important that you stop smoking cigarettes prior to your face lift. Quitting now will greatly improve the recovery process, as smoking interferes with the body's natural healing processes. Also, consider that any substances that increase blood flow or thin the blood will impact the surgical process. Talk with your primary doctor about plans you have a for a face lift to determine whether any medications you're taking might be safely suspended for a short while before and after your surgery to allow for more ideal healing conditions.
Be sure to discuss any medications, other prior or planned cosmetic treatments, and your current health and medical history with the YOUnique team at your consultation to reduce the associated risks.
What can I expect from a face lift?
Most patients report a seven-to 10-day recovery period with the face lift. The "mini lift" has a shorter recovery time of two to five days. There will be some discomfort after the surgery. It's important to keep the area around the incisions clean and dry to promote healing.
The results of your face lift will last for several years, but the surgery can't "stop the clock." Aging will continue, and environmental factors will always greatly affect the condition of your skin, though you will look younger at a couple of years out than you would have if you hadn't had the surgery. After your recovery, you'll be given information and instructions about how to maximize the benefits of your face lift.
Keep in mind that a face lift is meant only to address contours, from creases to sagging, so it won't improve any issues you might have with skin tone. The YOUnique staff offers several skin rejuvenation treatments for patients looking to improve their facial appearance beyond what a face lift can do.
Chemical peels and microdermabrasion can even out irregular pigmentation and reduce the appearance of sun damage and aging by removing the outermost layer of skin to reveal a newer, fresher skin layer of skin waiting beneath. Laser skin resurfacing can help to reduce the appearance of acne scars and other blemishes.
Talk to our expert surgeons at your consultation to determine how soon any desired skin treatments can be performed after a face lift.
Can I get face lift effects without surgery?
There are non-surgical options, including what's known as a "liquid face lift", for people seeking a non-invasive approach with minimal downtime. This procedure is tailored to the patient, each of whom receives a customized array of treatments. The various injectables available can work together to lift and fill out specific areas of the face, creating an overall more youthful look. While this is ideal for people who want to avoid a traditional face lift, it also offers results that don't last as long as the surgical version. The effects of BOTOX® and dermal fillers fade over time, eventually returning a face to its original state.
What options do I have for the rest of my face?
Since a face lift focuses on features from the mid-face down, patients who want to surgically address wrinkles around their eyes and on their forehead must choose other options, whether they want the benefits alone or want to combine them with a face lift procedure.
A blepharoplasty, also known as an eyelid lift, can complement a face lift by tightening drooping skin and removing and resculpting fat deposits that can contribute to a tired appearance. A forehead lift or brow lift focuses, of course, on the area between the eyes and the hairline where deep creases can form.
Patients who choose a face lift also frequently opt to get a neck lift as well, to further define their jawline and tighten muscle and tissue laxity below their chin. This procedure can be performed at the same time as a face lift, which increases the surgical time but represents less recuperation and recovery time than if the two surgeries were handled separately.
Chin and cheek implants are another option for patients who want to alter their facial contours, adding more definition to the targeted areas.
How do I start?
A face lift may be the choice for you if you're looking for a way to bring a natural, youthful look back to your face. Whether you've decided which face lift option seems right for you or you have questions on how best to achieve your facial aesthetic goals, the YOUnique Cosmetic Surgery team is available to answer questions and provide guidance.