Age takes a toll on the body, especially the face. Wrinkles and sagging skin can make you feel old and even run down, but refreshing your look is easier than ever. Facelift surgery has come a long way and is no longer just about tightening the skin.
Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. John Q. Cook discusses the four dimensions of facelift, explaining how techniques have changed for the better.
The Four Dimensions
The Four Dimensions – it almost sounds like the title to a new science fiction thriller at the movie theater, but far from it. The dimensions are very real and related to the advancements that have occurred in the facelift procedure. “Facelifting has evolved in some interesting ways over the time that I’ve been doing it,” says Cook, who practices in Chicago, Illinois. Cook says he’s seen the procedure change from a very singular approach to one that involves every aspect of the face. He says it started with Dimension One, which is tone. “We were tightening skin and then we realized you aren’t just tightening skin you are tightening different levels in different directions.”
Cook says Dimension Two moves into volume. “In this dimension, we conquered volume. This is where we thought about the face not just as tightening, but restoring a three-dimensional structure.” Cook says from this point, in Dimension Three, the facelift focused on expression, as well as restoration. “The third dimension was expression. We address that using Botox, especially for places like the corners of the mouth and eyes,” he shares.
The Newest Dimension
A facelift can help you feel confident in your appearance. It can give the face a rejuvenated look with one surgery, according to Dr. Cook. He says the newest dimension helps to address all parts of the face, including the surface. Dimension Four is the surface of the face. “The most recent dimension that we are addressing is the surface,” says Cook. “We have had many ways of doing this, but now we have things like nano fat (fat grafting) to address the surface of the skin at the same time of surgery.”
Cook explains that nano fat is a concentration of regenerative elements. He says the solution is injected into the surface for maximum results. “They are naturally found in fat, and when you concentrate them and put them in the skin, you get some really wonderful effects on the skin quality.”
The Natural Look
Turning back the clock 10-15 years is possible with the right procedure and the right plastic surgeon. The goal should be a natural look, not one that looks fake or plastic, according to Cook. “We’re naturalists. We are always trying to replicate the natural facial structure.” He says one of the best road maps to help in the facelift process is a visual throwback. He asks patients to bring along a few snapshots so he has a picture of the face as it once was.
“I always get my patients to bring in pictures form 5-15 years ago and I study the face how it was then. It’s my goal to get the face back to where it was. I don’t want to to make anyone look different.” Cook says without critical analysis, something won’t look right about the finished product. “If you don’t analyze the natural structure, you will will create something that is weird and we don’t want that.”
He says it’s important to include all four dimensions in any facelift procedure to complete a rejuvenated look. “If you don’t deal with all, the face gets out of balance. Basically, we want visual harmony and to create something that is beautiful and makes intrinsic sense.”