Dallas, TX board-certified Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, Dr. A Jay Burns, offers a full spectrum of facial cosmetic procedures. One of his most popular surgical treatments is a facelift. This procedure generally focuses on the bottom two-thirds of the face to tighten and lift the skin to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes, nose, and mouth. He can discuss what type of facelift is needed at a private consultation, and the type of procedure you will need will depend on your skin laxity, age, lifestyle, and other influences. Some men and women are candidates for a full facelift, while others only need moderate lifting. The age range varies for a facelift candidate and is based on physiological aging rather than strict chronological aging. The average age is about 50 years old with a typical range from 45 – 65. With several decades of cosmetic surgical experience, Dr. Burns understands the complex anatomy and intricacies of a facelift procedure. The goal with each facelift is to produce natural, becoming results that look soft and beautiful.
Ideal candidates for facelift surgery will have noticeable facial lines, wrinkles, sagging, and drooping of the jowls. Age doesn’t necessarily define when the appropriate time is to have a facelift because there are various types of lifts depending on the cosmetic concerns you have. If you are over the age of 35 and desire a more youthful appearance, a facelift might be chosen that is different for our 65 and over patients. Skin elasticity is the key factor. Ideal candidates will be in good physical health, be a nonsmoker, and have realistic expectations. Before a surgery is recommended, nonsurgical options will also be discussed to see if you will benefit from certain procedures such as fillers, BOTOX, or laser treatment.
Plan Your Procedure
- Procedure Recovery Location
There are various types of facelifts that address different concerns. Some rejuvenate the lower face, while some target the mid-face. In addition, some methods are more invasive than others. It is very common for patients to also incorporate a brow lift or a nonsurgical treatment, such as fillers to increase facial volume, and/or BOTOX to soften the overlook of the upper face. Some of the more common facelift options include:
- Mini Facelift
A small incision is made around the ears to elevate and tighten the skin around the mouth and jaw line. It gently lifts the lower face for just the right subtle result.
- Mid Facelift
Using similar techniques as the mini facelift, this procedure focuses on the skin around the cheekbones and jaw. The lift goes higher up on the face and addresses the bottom two-thirds of the face.
- Full Facelift
A full facelift generally places the incision along the hairline, extending down to the temples, stopping at the base of the ears. The underlying facial tissues and muscles are pulled and tightened to create a lifted appearance, which reduces excessive wrinkles and sagging. It is used for patients who have signs of advanced aging. During a full facelift, several techniques may be combined, including an eyelid lift, and a neck lift to address the entire face.
- Lower Facelift
This particular facelift addresses the neck and chin and in many cases the lower jowls. It may use a combination of surgical tightening, neck liposuction, and nonsurgical methods such as Kybella, which is used for nonsurgical neck and chin reduction.
The main complications of a facelift some patients may face are facial nerve injury (which is rare) and numbness of the surgical area.
What to Expect
Regardless of which facelift procedure is performed to meet your specific cosmetic concerns, the goal is to create subtle, yet amazing results. Most facelift surgeries are performed under general anesthesia and can take between 2 – 4 hours, depending on how invasive the procedure is, as well as if any other procedures are being combined. You should expect to experience swelling, bruising, and soreness after surgery. Recovery time varies depending on the type of facelift you receive, but generally, 2 – 4 weeks is common. After the healing process is complete, you can expect to have a more defined, youthful appearance. The face will appear softer, slightly lifted, and rejuvenated. Seniors should not expect to look decades younger, but the number of wrinkles and sagging skin will be significantly improved.
Dr. Burns selects surgical technique that optimizes result, but it will take a while to recover. He does not believe in shortcuts to success, and will not hide the facts of how long you will be in recovery. You may also experience the following after a facelift:
Pain is not typically problematic in facelifts, and in most instances a patient may experience a moderate pain in the first 24 hours. Discomfort is usually felt behind both ears with a tightness across the neck and under the chin from ear to ear. The perception of the severity of this tightness varies from patient to patient.
Surgical drains are placed behind the ears in the scalp and are used to drain the neck area for 24 hours typically, but may be left in place for 48 hours.
Steroid dose pack is given for 5 days and minimizes swelling in the first 48 hours. The most swelling typically occurs on day 4 – 5 post op as the steroid is tapered off and decreases on day 5 – 7.
The bruising on your face usually maximizes on day 3 – 5 and resolves over 2 – 3 weeks.
The decision is up to you when you want to return to driving. You must be able to brake, respond quickly, and easily turn to eliminate your blind spot. When these conditions are met you may resume driving, typically in the 2nd or 3rd week.
Most patients feel comfortable socializing in foreign environments (places and locations they do not usually frequent) at 3 weeks to avoid seeing close friends and acquaintances. At 3 weeks, healing is still taking place and will still be visible. You should be aware that you will not yet look like yourself for about 6 weeks.
Some patients experience a post-operative depression as they wait for the changes in their face to appear in weeks 1 – 3. It is not unusual for patients, no matter how stable and solid their live may be, to experience some depression with any surgical face change, even when the changes are very positive. Dr. Burns will reassure you and give you an honest explanation of your progress at each visit.
The Right Facelift for You
Facelift surgery has come very far in recent years, allowing men and women in various decades to look and feel younger. Some treatments are less invasive and allow just enough enhancement to carry you through a number of years. Even the more advanced treatments result in natural, beautiful outcomes for many of our older patients. If you are considering facelift surgery and would like to understand what your options are, we invite you to call our office and schedule your consultation today.