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The Difference Between A Full Facelift and Lower Facelift

Aging affects all of us and the ultimate manifestation is sagging of our skin and fat. As you are aware, there are numerous non surgical and minimally invasive options available to rejuvenate your sagging tissue. A major reason is no one wants to go under the knife. A facelift sounds scary to most of us, yet we are attracted to the promise a facelift can make us look much younger. That’s why non surgical options are so popular in the world today. But there comes a time when your degree of aging is too much for Botox, fillers, or energy based devices to overcome. When you start to seriously consider a facelift, you may have heard terms like full facelift or lower facelift. What is the difference?

Every Face Ages Differently

It all comes down to describing what part of your face is being rejuvenated. A “full “ facelift means the entire face is lifted. That means your forehead, brows, eyes, jawline and neck. But a full facelift isn’t just one surgery. Since you’re lifting the entire face, different surgeries are indicated for specific anatomic areas. If your brows are descending, then you will need a browlift as part of your overall “full facelift.” There are different ways of lifting brows, which I will discuss in another blog. But the two main options are trichophytic (within hairline) or endoscopic browlift. If your upper eyelid skin is sagging and hanging over your eyes, you will benefit from an upper blepharoplasty. Similarly, if you have bags under your eyes, you may consider a lower blepharoplasty to suspend the lower eyes. Jowling and loose neck skin are addressed with a rhytidectomy, or facelift. Rhytidectomy delivers the most dramatic result because it is resuspending deep muscular-fascia of your face (the SMAS) to rejuvenate your jawline and remove excess skin.

When To Consider A Lower Facelift

But the vast majority of patients that come to our office inquiring about facelifts are primarily bothered by their cervicofacial jowling (the sagging at the jawline, corners of mouth) as well as loose neck skin. Some may also have fat under the chin along with loose neck skin. In these more common scenarios, a “full facelift” is not the option because the patient is happy with his or her brows and eyes. The patients are candidates for what most surgeons describe as “lower facelift.” This term describes the target of lifting—your sagging jowls and loose neck. The goal of a lower facelift is to recreate a strong and youthful jawline, and improve the neck skin appearance. A lower facelift is one procedure, not various procedures. There may be adjunctive procedures indicated to enhance your facelift that may be offered by your surgeon, but they are not considered part of a formal lower facelift. Some of these adjunctive procedures include liposuction, cheek or chin implants, fat transfer, or skin resurfacing (ie CO2 laser, chemical peels).

When To Consider A Full Facelift

A full facelift will require a longer recovery since you will have more swelling and bruising. In both procedures, pain is not significant. Many complain of tightness or soreness, but rarely major pain. You may have trouble opening your eyes in the first few days after a full facelift (or if you have laser treatment around your eyes) due to the swelling. A full facelift will also demand more wound care actions since there are more incisions to care. While full facelift may see slightly longer swelling and bruising, in general, you can return to full duty and exercise in about two weeks. Most of our patients can return to work or into the public after one week. Cost is obviously higher if you have a full facelift.

How To Decide Your Facelift

The best way to determine if you are a full facelift or lower facelift candidate is to see a board certified doctor with experience performing facelifts.

For more information about a facelift, contact Dr. Kenneth Yu, Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, and his qualified team of experts serving the San Antonio, Texas area. To schedule a consultation, please contact our Concierge Patient Coordinator at 210-876-6868.