Facelift surgery is considered the “gold standard” in facial rejuvenation for a reason: It can treat even the most advanced signs of aging, and it produces elegant, natural results that last for ten or more years. Facelift surgery is, however, a complex operation that’s intended for older patients who have obvious loose face and neck skin. Patients under the age of 45 seldom need the extensive alterations offered by this procedure because the skin below their jawline and around their eyes is still fairly firm. That’s why we offer what is known as a “mini” facelift here at Plastic Surgery Services of Fredericksburg; this procedure is ideally suited to younger patients who have only just started to notice visible signs of aging.
Understanding the Early Stages of Aging
Though collagen loss begins fairly early in life (the rate of collagen production drops by about 1% per year after age 30), it takes a while for skin to become stretched to the point of visible looseness. Most people don’t experience sagging eyelids, hanging neck skin, and other signs of severe skin laxity until they reach about 55-60 years of age. During the early stages of the aging process, most visible aging is caused by changes in the superficial muscular aponeurotic system (SMAS).
The SMAS plays a crucial role in supporting facial skin, the connective tissues below the skin, and the fat pads that give shape to the face. As the SMAS drops, as it does during our 40s, fat pads slide downwards, creating hollows around our eyes and under our cheeks. Sometimes, fat pads on the lower face form jowls and a double chin as they descend into the submental area. The weight of these fat pads can also make creases and folds of loose skin appear more prominent.
How Can a Mini Facelift Help?
The mini facelift is designed to treat just SMAS sagging, thereby reversing undesirable changes while keeping scarring and recovery time to a minimum. To perform a mini facelift, our surgeons make two small S-shaped incisions behind each ear. Through these incisions, they can access and lift the SMAS. This raises fat pads, restoring youthful facial contours, and minimizes the appearance of loose skin.
Mini facelift surgery usually only takes two hours to complete, and most patients recover from this procedure within just one week. Better still, mini facelift surgery produces subtle results that look natural on younger faces. Because no loose skin is removed during this procedure, your skin won’t look “tight” after having a mini facelift.
For best results, we recommend combining mini facelift surgery with one or more injectable treatments. Injectable treatments can target areas of the face not treated by mini facelift surgery, like the brow, lips, and nasolabial folds. BOTOX® injections can relax the muscles around the temples, smoothing out forehead lines and crow’s feet. Dermal fillers, on the other hand, are used to fill in creases and add volume to the lips and cheeks. Injectables don’t require any additional downtime, so they’re perfect for younger patients who have a demanding work schedule or active family life.
To learn more about these treatments and how they can help you manage the early signs of aging, just contact our practice; we’ll be happy to arrange a one-on-one consultation for you.