Men and women around the world routinely consult with trusted cosmetic surgeons to lift brows, erase worry lines, unpack under eye bags, and more. You would think that, with the long history of facelifts behind us, there would be little question about what’s possible with this procedure. In fact, the opposite has happened.
It isn’t that patients wonder whether or not a facelift will make them look younger. More often than not, the apprehension that some people feel stems from worry about looking “done.” You may know what we’re talking about. We’ve all seen images of high-profile people who have decided to turn back the hands of time. They don’t look younger. They barely look like themselves. The problem with poorly-planned facelifts is that they can look obvious. But that is not the objective.
A facelift is performed with the intent of repositioning tissue that has fallen from its youthful glory. Eyebrows may droop below the upper orbital rim, the bony structure of the eye. Eyelids become loose and heavy. Cheeks flatten, and jowls develop. A facelift can address each of these concerns or all of them. But it’s not that simple. Facelift surgery has changed to such an extent that you could meet someone who’s had one and never know it. Here’s why:
- Every facelift surgery is unique. This is how it should be, right? To have a facelift today doesn’t mean the same thing it did just a few decades ago. Today, we may lift only the upper face to open up the eyes and smooth worry and frown lines. A mini facelift may address only midline structures like the cheeks and temples. Each patient has specific needs, and our job is to meet them.
- It’s not all about the lift. Youthful facial features are not overly tight; they are smooth and curvaceous. The cheeks are high and rounded; lips are plump, the jawline sharp. Tightening alone cannot restore such an appearance. To do so, surgeons now frequently combine facelift surgery with volume replacement. This may be accomplished with fat from the patient’s own body, or with soft tissue fillers. Ultimately, volume restoration changes the entire outcome of facial plastic surgery.
- The lift is more conservative. Because volume needs to be present for the face to look younger, the degree of tissue lifting and “tucking” that takes place during the facelift procedure is typically much less dramatic than it used to be.