To understand when to consider facelift surgery, we must first begin to understand what contributes to facial aging. In general, we think about three main factors that result in an older appearance. The first is skin quality. Throughout life, a combination of genetics, sun damage, and smoking, can affect our skin quality. Aged skin may be apparent due to hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation, fine lines or wrinkles, or rough texture.
The second facet of facial aging is volume loss. A young face is typified by fullness, high cheekbones, and triangularity. With aging, a loss of both soft tissue and skeletal volume can result in a sunken appearance. The third facet of facial aging is a loss of tissue elasticity which results in sagging of the tissue.
This may be most obviously seen with jowling, “turkey neck”, lower cheekbones, or a more rectangular facial shape. There are specific procedures that target each of these facets of facial aging, and a consult with an Albany Facial Plastic Surgeon can help you identify the procedure that may be right for you. Of these facets of facial aging, facelift surgery primarily seeks to correct the sagging tissue of the lower face and neck.
Candidates for a Facelift
People who are bothered by their jowling or turkey neck are the ideal candidates for facelift surgery. These issues can be bothersome to different people at different points in their life. Just because someone is in their 30s, it doesn’t exclude them from considering facelift surgery.
Similarly just because someone is in their 80s, it doesn’t exclude them from considering facelift surgery. If someone is otherwise healthy, and they are significantly bothered by the sagging tissue of their lower face and neck, then facelift surgery may be the ideal means to help restore their self-image and confidence.
Types of Facelifts
The specific surgical technique, or the extent of the facelift performed, is more closely related to the degree of sagging tissue rather than patient age. However, younger patients typically require less extensive lifts and older patients typically require more extensive lifts. A mini-lift, or “weekend lift”, is a short-incision facelift that is primarily designed to address jowls. This may be the ideal lift for a younger patient or someone with relatively little sagging tissue in the neck.
A slightly more extensive lift, or “extended weekend lift”, involves slightly longer incisions. This type of lift is designed to address jowling as well as correct a mild amount of excess skin in the neck. This may be the ideal lift for a middle-aged individual. The most dramatic lift, or “deep plane lift”, involves even longer incisions which are hidden behind the ear and within the hairline.
This lift is designed to correct even severe “turkey neck” appearance of the neck skin, along with jowling. Additionally, this lift can help restore a more youthful appearance of the upper cheeks. This lift is very effective at rejuvenation of the entire lower face and neck, from the cheekbones to the collarbone, and it may be ideal for the older patient.
Regardless of the technique used, recovery is fairly predictable and relatively short. In the majority of cases, people are comfortable to return to the public eye in 1-2 weeks. For a mini-lift, recovery is closer to 1 week, whereas for a deep plane lift, recovery is closer to 2 weeks. For many people who choose to undergo surgery, a facelift is a transformative experience, both on the inside and outside.
*Patient Results May Vary
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