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New Advancements in Facelifts Part 2

In my previous advancements in facelift blog, I discussed the resurgent popularity of the facelift and what it and can’t achieve. Today, I’ll discuss advances seen in the facelift procedure, as well as its cost and recovery.

What Advances Have Been Made?

There are several. The critical advance relates to the depth of treatment or dissection. Rather than simply pulling back and cutting away the extra loose skin, surgeons now lift and reposition underlying muscles. In the early days of facelifts, surgeons only pulled the skin. Due to the skin’s inherent elasticity, the results only lasted five years or less. This observation then led to surgeons over pulling the skin in an effort to compensate for this inevitable loss. Unfortunately, they created the unnatural, “wind-tunnel” look that gave plastic surgery a bad name.

Today, doctors use sutures to tighten either the connective tissue enveloping the muscles of the midface and neck (a so-called SMAS, or subcutaneous musculoaponeurotic system, lift) or the underside of the muscles themselves (a deep-plane face-lift).

This new approach allows surgeons to redrape the skin without having to over stretch it. Changing the direction of the lift also contributes to a less pinched appearance. Contemporary surgeons now have more flexibility to redrape the skin and SMAS in various vectors to achieve the desired results. Surgeons also know exactly how much skin that’s needed to lift up and which specific tether points of the muscles that must be removed in order to position everything into place in a very focused way. Some surgeons also use energy-based devices that help firm and lift the skin and melt unwanted fat during surgery.

This allows surgeons to cut less tissue and limit the bruising. Doctors also cater to our common dislike for downtime by offering partial lifts—mainly to younger (mid-40s to early 50s) people who’ve used lasers and injectables over the years. For example, mini lifts can address just limited early areas of aging such as the jowls, which will easy patients’ anxiety over looking different and shaving about a week off their recovery.

More discreet scars are a beneficial by-product of these advances. Those with a considerable amount of loose skin, however, may still require traditional incisions, which travel from the temple down along the front of the ear—or sometimes inside the ear—then around the lobe and up the back of the ear and into the hairline. Though this may sound scary and excessive, these scars (if done properly) heal very well and are imperceptible.

What About Recovery, Cost, and Upkeep?

It’s no surprise that facelifts are expensive procedures. You should expect on paying between twelve and forty thousand dollars (depending on the surgeon, the extent of the procedure, and which city) and being out of action for anywhere from one to three weeks. It’s very important you have a good support system around you. Often, significant others serve this role. Their responsibilities are not overwhelming, –primarily related to taking care of your wounds. Nevertheless, some patients may want to consider hiring a nurse for the first night to provide around-the-clock icing and emotional support.

It can be a huge help to have a professional reassuring you that everything is normal and you’re going to be fine. While doctors do prescribe painkillers, most patients report feeling stiff, swollen and uncomfortable. Many are surprised at the relative lack of pain compared to more painful surgeries (ie. tonsillectomy, C section, etc). The smooth, sculpted results of a good face-lift will generally last 10 to 15 years, but the neck—since it’s the most mobile area–may start to give away sooner. Then there are those who got a lift in their 40s and are signing up again 20 years later, because face-lifts done on younger skin—which hasn’t lost all of its elasticity—tend to last the longest.

While a facelift is still a major procedure, the advances we’ve seen have provided surgeons the ability to achieve natural looking results that last longer. If done by experienced surgeon, the procedure is quite safe.

For more information about San Antonio cosmetic surgery contact Dr. Kenneth Yu Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. We are a qualified team of experts serving the San Antonio, Texas area. To schedule a consultation, please call our Concierge Patient Coordinator at (210) 876-6868 today.