In the past, facelift surgery was seen as being highly effective—but not exactly subtle. In addition to creating visible incision scars along the hairline, historic facelift surgery often produced a dramatically “lifted” look. That patient’s brow-line would appear to be swept upwards and his or her eyes would often have a telltale slant. In short, thirty years ago, you knew when someone had undergone a facelift; even if he or she looked younger as a result, he or she also looked different. Fortunately, times have changed. Just like many medical operations that were once invasive surgeries can now be performed via “keyhole” methods and other modern techniques, facelift surgery has been refined substantially over the last decade.
Introducing Today’s Facelift
Facelifts in 2017 are performed using highly advanced, specialized techniques. As a result, facelifts today produce a more subtle look that promises to be virtually invisible to anyone who did not see the patient prior to his or her surgery. In this sense, facelift surgery is now one of the best-kept anti-aging secrets. Few people realize just how effective it has become, and even fewer people suspect miraculously young-looking individuals of having a facelift.
The advanced techniques mentioned above take two main forms: The subcutaneous musculoaponeurotic system facelift (SMAS) and the deep plane facelift.
Rather than making use of lengthy incisions, the SMAS facelift relies on the careful placement of sutures in the patient’s connective tissues. These sutures tighten the connective tissues that support the muscles of the mid-face area and neck, providing a subtle but effective lift that counteracts the effects of gravity.
During a deep plane facelift, on the other hand, the surgeon will make incisions in order to reach the underside of the muscles that support the face and neck. Doing so allows the surgeon to “re-drape” the skin over the muscles, rather than simply pulling it back and stretching it. This method is extremely good at keeping the patient’s facial proportions intact while also producing a profound increase in skin tightness. Deep plane facelifts look so “natural” that patients who have them are usually thought to possess extremely good genetics—few would believe they’ve had plastic surgery. The results of this kind of facelift are also very long-lasting.
What about Non-Surgical Alternatives?
With the range of nonsurgical facelift alternatives on the market today (such as Juvéderm® and other fillers, and BOTOX®), some people wonder why the facelift remains in use at all. There are a few reasons: First and foremost, nonsurgical alternatives don’t work for everyone. Because many of these treatments use the body’s natural healing response (that is, they stimulate the production of collagen and elastin), their results tend to vary from person to person. Likewise, nonsurgical treatments cannot yet produce the same very profound results that surgical procedures do. This is especially true where skin tightening is concerned. Patients over the age of 50 who have significant drooping in multiple areas of their face and neck will not benefit substantially from nonsurgical alternatives. Moreover, many older patients need specialized procedures incorporated into their facelifts, such as adding an eyelid lift to improve vision clarity.
Finally, there is the matter of longevity. Nonsurgical anti-aging treatments typically wear off within about three to six months. Patients must therefore continually budget for top-up injections, and ultimately it becomes more practical and convenient for them to simply have surgery. The results of a facelift are often apparent for an amazing ten to fifteen years after surgery.
Nonsurgical procedures can, however, enhance the anti-aging effects of facelift surgery. Using fillers to restore lost volume in the cheeks and lips, for example, can round out a facelift beautifully. Likewise, skin resurfacing treatments (like laser, and chemical peels) can remove age spots and other imperfections in the skin that are not targeted by surgery. Ultimately, attacking the signs of aging from multiple angles is usually the most thorough and pleasing strategy.
Facelifts: The Gold Standard in Anti-Aging Procedures
With all of the above information taken into account, it’s unsurprising that the facelift is experiencing something of a renaissance in the USA. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, there was a 28 percent increase in facelifts performed between 1997 and 2015. If you’re interested in combating the visible effects of aging, facelift surgery is clearly well worth considering.