Plastic surgery is constantly evolving to better suit the needs of the patient. The goal of any new technique or innovation is a superior, more natural-looking result. This is definitely true when it comes to a surgical facelift.
Gone are the days of the over-pulled or “wind blown” look. Today, a great facelift is one that’s not noticeable, where friends and family just think that you look fantastic. Dr. Stafford Broumand of New York City discusses the ways in which facelifts today differ from those of the past, and why no one needs to know that you had “work” done unless you decide to tell them.
What Makes Today’s Facelift Different?
“Today’s facelift is different than yesterday’s facelift or last decade’s facelift,” explains Dr. Broumand. The goal is for your face to look rejuvenated and natural, not pulled or torqued or lumpy and bumpy. One of the main differences in facelifts today is the use of fat grafting. Volume loss in the face, particularly the mid-face, is one of the hallmarks of facial aging. The reason that many of the facelift patients of yesteryear looked “pulled” is that the surgeon was trying to combat volume loss with skin excision. Today, plastic surgeons use a little bit of your own fat as filler to re-create the normal contours of your face. Only then does the surgeon tighten the skin.
“It’s always about the neck and the jowls,” explains Broumand. If your surgeon can get the neck to look younger, get rid of the jowling by repositioning the skin along the jawline, and make sure that the cheeks look like they did a decade or two ago, that’s a great facelift. The other differences with facelifts today is that surgeons are more adept at hiding the scars and the new facelift techniques have a much faster recovery.
A facelift is the gold standard in terms of facial rejuvenation, but it is surgery. And any time that the skin is cut, it is going to leave some kind of scar. However today, facelift incisions are extremely well-concealed. Depending on whether the patient is a man or woman, the incisions are typically hidden:
- at the edge of the ear
- within the hairline in front and behind the ear
- in the crevice behind the ear
The lift part of the facelift is always performed in the direction of the ear, but there are different “vectors” that the surgeon needs to consider. “There is a different sort of directional pull for the deeper tissues, which is the muscle layer, and the skin layer,” shares Broumand. The muscle layer is what gets tightened while the skin layer gets lifted up and re-draped over the new contour. The end result is a firmer, smoother looking face that is no way appears “pulled”.
Faster Recovery with Today’s Facelift
One of the areas of plastic surgery that is exploding with new innovations is the recovery period. No patient wants to experience any more downtime than absolutely necessary. With a facelift, this is particularly important since your face is always on display. While the recovery period is going to vary by patient, facelift patients can be up and about in as little time as a week to 10 days. You will still have some tell-tale signs so you will need to be comfortable going out in a scarf or using your hair to hide your incision lines.
For those patients who don’t want anyone to know that they’ve had work done, plan on laying low for 2-3 weeks. Like anything, the recovery is a process. Once your surgery is done, you can either go home or stay in a hotel. The following day, you will see your surgeon for a follow-up visit to have your bandages changed. Over the next week, your incisions will begin to heal. Any stitches, which are usually placed around the ear, will be removed at around 5-7 days post surgery.
The bruising may take a few weeks to completely resolve, but the last area to heal is along the clavicle because it’s the lowest point, and this can easily be hidden with a shirt. All in all, today’s facelift is a much more effective procedure for turning back the clock without anyone be any the wiser.