FACELIFT Procedure Pictures
Our face is the first thing people see, and generates long lasting impressions with those with whom we interact. Unwanted wrinkles, creases, and sagging skin can give an illusion of an older appearance and fatigue. Many patients seek a facelift procedure because they feel the person they see in the mirror does not reflect their true age and vibrancy.
Over time, the facial skin deteriorates due to sun exposure, gravity, genetics, daily stress, and environmental factors such as smoking. The end result is deep wrinkles, loss of facial fullness, and skin sagging. While skin care and minimally invasive procedures like Botox®, Juvederm®, and Restylane® can provide some localized, temporary improvement, patients with widespread changes of aging and sun damage will benefit from a full face and neck lift.
If you are ready to learn more about how a face/neck lift can improve your look, request a consultation online with Dr. Steele, or call our office at 712-224-8677. We serve patients in Sioux City, IA and surrounding communities and we welcome patients who wish to travel from Sioux Falls, SD and Omaha, NE.
Benefits of a Facelift/Neck lift
Depending on our genes and environmental exposures (sun, cigarettes, etc.), facial aging can begin in the 30’s but is usually noticed in the 40’s and 50’s. Elements such as sun exposure, gravity, and repetitive facial movements results in breakdown of supportive elastic fibers in the skin. The end result is skin laxity, creases, and wrinkles that result in a loss of facial definition, jowling, and loose neck skin (turkey neck). Additionally, we lose bony support and fat in the middle face that causes descent of tissue and the deep creases just outside the mouth and nose. To illustrate the changes in your mind’s eye, picture a heart (young face) that turns into a square (old face).
Many women, and increasing numbers of men are considering a facelift to reverse the signs of gravity, sun, and time. Benefits of facelift/neck lift include the following:
- Restoring a more youthful look to the middle face by restoring volume and turning a square, boxy face into a more angled, youthful, heart-shaped face
- Eliminating jowls around the mouth
- Provide a sharper, more sculpted jaw line
- Removing a turkey neck or double chin
Understanding Face/Neck Lift
There are many described techniques for effective face and neck lifts. Dr. Steele is well versed in the many variations and nuances of modern face/neck lift procedures. Facelift surgery has evolved over the last 40 years to be more than just a skin tightening surgery. Older techniques focused on pulling the skin as tight as possible. The unfortunate side effects included a “wind tunnel look,” shifted hairlines/sideburns, pixie ears, and the “joker look.”
Modern facelift surgery manipulates the underlying supporting tissue (SMAS) for longer lasting support, while allowing the skin to be excised without undue tension. The net result is a more youthful, natural look, rather than an operated look. Additionally, the state of the art facelift of today strives to identify and reverse the natural changes of aging. The vast majority of patients will benefit from fat grafting to the middle face and regions near the eyes. This helps to restore volume loss over time and build up the cheeks to restore a more youthful, heart-shaped appearance.
The vast majority of facelift/neck lift patients will benefit from elevation and suspension of the deeper facial tissues that support the facial muscles (the SMAS layer). Dr. Steele utilizes a variety of techniques such as the MACS lift, SMAS-ectomy, and SMAS plication to manipulate the deep tissues for a longer lasting result. After careful examination of your anatomy, Dr. Steele will develop an individualized approach for optimal facial rejuvenation. The type of skin incision largely depends on the amount of skin excess:
Traditional Facelift Incision: A traditional facelift incision begins with an incision along the temporal hair, down the front of te ear, around the back of the ear and into the hairline behind the ear. This is most effective for patients with extensive neck skin laxity. Although the scars are longer, they generally heal well and are concealed within the hair and natural skin folds.
Short-Scar Facelift: For patients with less extensive neck skin laxity, a short-scar facelift may be an option. The incision in front of the ear is similar to a traditional approach, but stops just behind the earlobe or slightly above. The principle difference between the traditional and short scar facelift is the elimination of scar behind the ear and into the hairline.
In some cases it may be appropriate to combine other procedures such as a brow lift or blepharoplasty for optimal facial rejuvenation.
Dr. Steele typically performs a facelift under general anesthesia as an outpatient. Because safety is our number one goal, procedures involving prolonged anesthesia over 5-6 hours, or patients with significant medical issues are best served by an overnight stay. Small drain tubes are also placed to eliminate fluid build up. A large bulky dressing is placed to minimize movement of the neck. Dr. Steele will see you frequently during the first 10 days. The bulky neck dressing and drains are typically removed 3 days postop, sutures are usually removed around one week, and staples in the hair are removed around 10 days postop. Once the drains are out and the drain holes are healed, the patient can shampoo their hair. Makeup can be used very early to hide any bruising.
Activity restrictions (no cardio, heavy lifting, etc.) are in effect for about 3-4 weeks. Most patients can return to work within 7-10 days. Patients do not complain of significant pain with a facelift/neck lift. There is some bruising that takes 10-14 days to resolve, and swelling that may persist up to 3 months (however, the majority is gone within a few weeks).
What’s the difference between a facelift and neck lift?
A facelift focuses on the middle and lower face and generally involves a neck lift as well. A neck lift will focus only on the neck. In Dr. Steele’s experience, most women who complain about their neck appearance will also benefit from a facelift as well. Many men, however, are less interested in their face and are good candidates for a male neck lift to correct the excess neck skin.
What is the best age for a facelift?
There is no strict age criterion for a facelift, but most patients are between 45-70 years of age. The main factor is the presence of skin laxity and skin aging. Younger patients with more elastic skin are often better candidates for a short scar facelift. Because facelifts require general anesthesia, the patient’s medical health is also a significant factor.
Will a facelift improve my whole face?
A facelift only addresses the lower two-thirds of the face- cheek, jowls, and neck. These are the most common areas where people notice significant signs of aging. A brow lift or eyelid surgery is necessary to correct sagging of the eyebrows, excess eyelid skin, and eyelid puffiness. In many cases, these procedures can be combined with a facelift for complete facial rejuvenation.
What can I do to improve my appearance without surgery?
While only a facelift can provide the most dramatic improvements, other forms of facial rejuvenation can delay surgical intervention. Minimally invasive options such as Botox® and dermal fillers such as Juvederm®, and Restylane® can ease the appearance of wrinkles and lines. Other fillers can enhance facial volume and give the illusion of a lifting effect. These products may help postpone surgery for patients who are borderline for needing surgery. Also, a good skin care regimen will also improve the skin appearance by minimizing the appearance of very fine lines and skin blemishes.
Are facelifts painful?
Generally, no. Most patients tell us they need very little pain medicine postop. There can be significant swelling and bruising, but usually patients are back to their normal routine by 10-14 days.
How long will my facelift last? Will I require another one in the future?
Your facelift will generally remove 5-10 years off your appearance. The length of result will vary between patients based on the amount of skin damage, weight loss or gain, and history of smoking. On average, we tell patients that a facelift will last about 10 years. Long term studies show that the neck will show early signs of recurrent aging around 5-6 years compared to the lower face which may shows recurrent signs of aging around 8-9 years. Many patients will continue with optimal skin care and non-invasive treatments to help extend their results. A facelift can be repeated in the future if the signs of aging have recurred and the patient is still in good health.
What about scars?
The face and neck have an excellent blood supply that allows for optimal scar healing. Most of the facelift scars are concealed in natural skin creases or within the hairline and behind the ear. Dr. Steele will recommend scar therapy for optimal results.
Will people notice my facelift?
The desired goal after a facelift is a natural result in which the patient looks refreshed and not obviously “overdone.” Modern understanding of facial aging, combined with sophisticated, individualized techniques allows Dr. Steele to deliver a natural, refreshed look after facelift surgery with well hidden, discreet scars. The final result is a natural, younger looking version of yourself.
What can I do to prolong my results?
Results from facial plastic surgery are not permanent, but there are plenty of ways you can prolong the results and minimize recurring signs of aging. These include the following:
- Sun Protection: Good sun protection is especially important for optimal scar healing. Prolonged sun exposure increases and prolongs scar redness. Regular sunscreen use will also help maintain healthy skin, decrease the presence of fine lines, and decrease your risk of skin cancer.
- Skin care: A good skin care regimen including gentle cleansing, moisturizing, sun screen, and retinoid use is very helpful for maintaining a healthy skin appearance while minimizing fine lines. Topical antioxidants and a healthy diet are also very helpful.
- Tobacco-free lifestyle: Smoking has a significant impact on wound healing and accelerates facial aging. Nicotine causes restricted blood flow which results in wound infections, open wounds, and bad scars. It also causes premature aging and a sallow, discolored appearance. Best to quit smoking one month before and after surgery, and even better for your health to discontinue entirely. This applies to all nicotine products including chewing tobacco, vape cigarettes with nicotine, and nicotine patches/gums.
- Scar care: Dr. Steele will recommend topical scar therapy postoperatively for optimal scar healing.