Facial features make the first impression always. When the features begin to show signs of aging – even if small on their own – this can cause an overt shift in someone’s appearance. Time and gravity can take a toll, making us look tired and old – beyond our years. Eyelids in particular can cause a lot of subtle havoc, but correcting them may not be the answer. One solution to counter the loss of volume is to add volume, solving the issues of aged lower eyelids altogether. Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jason Cooper discusses how a midface lift can counteract aging by the restoration of lost volume..
A Newer Approach to Lower Eyelids
Wanting to look and feel younger is nothing new. We all want to project an image of vitality, but that can be difficult if time and genetics have taken a toll on the face. Over time, wrinkles develop, eyelids get “puffy” and the cheeks begin to sag.
The first thought is to remove and stretch the skin, but Dr. Cooper says that plan isn’t the best approach. “When I see patients come to me with lower eyelid bags or sagging cheeks, it is always one of the most common misconceptions in plastic surgery,” he shares.
Cooper says times have changed and he prefers to treat the aging face in a different way. “It used to be that in the 90’s and 2000’s, and even surgeons today, would remove fat from the lower eyelids and tighten the skin, but what I do is something totally different.”
He’s decided that a better way to deal with the aging face is to fill in the loss of volume with fat, rather than remove skin or stretch it. “I really feel like the purpose of adding volume to the upper portion of the face is to augment that area and to fill in that sagging skin with fat that is taken from another area of the body.”
The Midface Lift
The midface lift is a dual purpose, powerful procedure that restores the look of the cheek and the lower eyelid, according to Dr. Cooper. He says it is a reliable operation for improving facial appearance. “Often times I will ask the patient to bring in a photo of themselves when they were five, ten or even 15 years younger than currently and we will look at it together and I will show them how they had more volume in the face at that time, as well as how the transition between lid and cheek was smoother at that time,” shares Cooper.
He says the goal is to turn back the clock as much as possible, using fat transfer and lift surgery, if necessary. “Now, it will vary which patient will need a lift and which patient will need fat to augment the area,” he details. “For those with better skin quality or younger in age, you can augment the upper portion of the cheek and lower eyelid to smooth that transition from the lid to the cheek.”
The Look of the Future
People who are in good health with flattened and/or sagging cheeks and bothersome contouring of the eyelids are usually good candidates for a midface lift. Sometimes these same people have considered a facelift, but may think they are too young for that procedure. Cooper says the procedure can often work to delay the need for any further work. “I feel like what I am doing with the midface lift makes it a powerful operation with the smooth contour from the lower eyelid onto the upper portion of the cheek,” he says.
The midface lift is performed under general or local anesthesia and is generally coupled with a lower eyelid operation, or blepharoplasty. Cooper says his goal is a bright, soft appearance – nothing harsh – so he says very little skin is removed. “I think the over-tightening, hollowed-out eyelids should be a thing of the past. What I want for my patients is a nice smooth contour of the lower eyelid as well as the upper portion of the cheek in order to regain their youthful appearance.”
The appearance after a midface lift should be full and smooth, according to Cooper, who says adding volume and leaving skin in place makes all the difference. “That sunken lower lid is a thing of the past because I want my patients to have a smooth look from the lower eyelid to the cheek, and that’s what I am doing with fat augmentation in that area.”