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 817-731-5330. We serve patients in Fort Worth, TX and surrounding communities and we welcome patients who wish to travel from outside the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
Benefits of a
Depending on our genes and environmental exposures (sun, cigarettes, etc.), facial aging can begin in the 30s but is usually noticed in the 40s and 50s. Elements such as sun exposure, gravity, and repetitive facial movements result in breakdown of supportive elastic fibers in the skin. The end result is skin laxity, creases, and wrinkles that cause 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
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 the 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.
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 buildup. 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?
What is the best age for a facelift?
Will a facelift improve my whole face?
What can I do to improve my appearance without surgery?
Are facelifts painful?
How long will my facelift last? Will I require another one in the future?
What about scars?
Will people notice my facelift?
What can I do to prolong my results?
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.
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.
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 ageing 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.
Dr. Steele will recommend topical scar therapy (downloadable scar instructions) postoperatively for optimal scar healing.