A facelift is truly the gold standard for rejuvenating the face. Non-surgical options such as injectable fillers can certainly help to turn back the clock by temporarily filling in fine lines and wrinkles, but can’t lift drooping skin. Sometimes this is confusing for patients who had hoped to rely on dermal fillers and Botox to solve all of their facial woes.
Even though a facelift can achieve so much, there is still a significant fear associated with the idea of surgery and surgery to the fact at that. Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Stephan Finical of Charlotte sets the record straight on the power of the facelift and why patients who need one have no reason to fear.
Why is a Facelift the Gold Standard?
Everyday a new non-surgical procedure for facial rejuvenation hits the market. And while these procedures are often game changers in their own little niches, eventually a point is reached when non-surgical treatments no longer work. Why?
Think about your skin when you were 20. You turn your head to check out a shop window and when you turn back, your skin seamlessly snaps into place.“It’s like flexing a rubber band,” explains Dr Finical. As you get older, into your 40’s and beyond, your skin begins to loose elasticity. It “becomes more like a string.” Now when you turn towards that window, the string still extends to full length, but when you turn back, instead of flexing into place, your skin droops.
This loss of elasticity and recoil of the skin is one of the fundamental problems with facial aging. The only way to correct this is by taking away the redundant skin. This is why a facelift is always going to be the gold standard for re-contouring and rejuvenating the face.
What Are the Signs that It’s Time for a Facelift?
If you find that your reflection in the mirror looks older than you feel on the inside then it may be time to consider facial rejuvenation. For patients in their 30’s and 40’s, skin elasticity should remain fairly strong and so volume loss is the main issue to be addressed. This subset of patients is where injectable fillers really shine; when volume is the only concern, fillers can be utilized to temporarily replace it. With update treatments ranging from every 6-18 months, patients can enjoy rejuvenation for considerable time without ever having to enter the operating room.
Loose skin starting in the 40’s and 50’s will decide when surgical rejuvenation is required. Loose skin around the neck and drooping jowls are tell tale signs that skin excision will be necessary to tighten the face up. As of right now, there are no non-surgical devices nor techniques that can fully restore tautness to loose skin.
Is There a Right Age for a Facelift?
The right age for a facelift is going to vary by patient. People don’t really want to hear that they need a facelift, and “most people probably wait a little too long,” says Dr. Finical. He recently performed a facelift on a patient who was in her 40’s. While it was not the most dramatic change, it did improve what was bothering her and she was thrilled. Now, for the next 10-15 years, she’ll have a great facial contour that she otherwise would not have had. Furthermore, if she’d waited another 10 years to have her facelift, they might not have achieved the same result. Sometimes, earlier is better. And facelift patients can, and may need to, still get injectables or other non-surgical treatments.
A facelift is not a panacea, but no other procedure will fully address loose skin and the jowling.
How Long Do Facelift Results Last?
If you ask a plastic surgeon how long will a facelift last, the textbook answer is 7-10 years. That said, Dr. Finical believes, “people really get a permanent improvement.” Let’s say that your facelift takes a decade off your face. For the rest of your life, your face will continue to look 10 years younger than your actual age. Now, this doesn’t mean that you might not need a “touch up” down the road. Dr. Finical loves doing secondary facelifts because “you can usually tweak them just a little bit” and get really great results.
“I love to do facelifts,” he shares. “It’s one of these kinds of things where you’re not trying to make them look different. You’re trying to make them look better.” It’s both fun and rewarding when patients come in for their follow-up finally feeling in sync, finally, with their reflection in the mirror.