It’s natural to want to look your best. In fact, feeling confident about your outward appearance is an important component to feeling good about your overall health. Unfortunately, your skin’s vibrant, youthful appearance is something that can be very easily stolen by time since the natural aging process robs the skin of the vital proteins necessary to remain smooth and supple. At Soler Cosmetic Plastic Surgery in Tampa, FL, we know that a face lift can be a transformative procedure that will help you look younger and feel more confident.
A face lift is a surgical procedure that aims to lift and tighten the skin of the face to achieve a more youthful appearance. Skin laxity caused by age is rooted in collagen and elastin depletion, but while some aesthetic treatments seek to enhance the production of these proteins, this surgical technique physically tightens the skin to produce longer-lasting results. But is this procedure right for you?
Who Is a Good Candidate for a Face Lift?
In general, if you have severe wrinkles and skin laxity, there’s a good chance that you are a good candidate for this procedure. Candidates will need to attend a consultation appointment to determine if their skin condition is appropriate for this procedure or if other treatments are better for their appearance goals. Patients who are considering this procedure typically have concerns such as:
- Sagging or loose skin
- Moderate to severe wrinkles
- Sagging jowls
- Sunken cheeks
- Double chin
- Poor jawline definition
Because this is a surgical procedure that will require the use of invasive techniques and general anesthesia, you must be fully qualified as a candidate before your treatment is scheduled. For some, this may mean that certain labs and exams must be performed before your procedure is scheduled. Some of the qualifications we look at to determine if you are a good candidate for this surgery include:
Patients must be in good general health. This means that you do not have medical concerns such as high blood pressure or cardiovascular issues. Being in good health means you will have fewer risks when general anesthesia is used for your procedure. Your good health will also determine how well you recover from the procedure since those who are healthy will recover more quickly and more comfortably.
Elastic Skin Condition
The condition of your skin is also important. Your skin condition should be at the point where there is still some natural elasticity and flexibility remaining in the structure of your skin. Basically, your skin still needs to have some amount of “bounce” for this procedure to be as effective as possible. The suppleness of your skin can be tested by pinching your skin and seeing how long it takes for your skin to become smooth. If your skin remains somewhat pinched, then you may not have an ideal skin condition for this procedure.
Balanced Bone Structure
It’s sometimes overlooked, but the best candidates for this procedure are those who have a naturally balanced bone structure. Ideally, your bone structure should be symmetrical so you can have the best results of your treatment. Of course, if your underlying bone structure isn’t ideal for this treatment, other plastic surgery procedures can correct asymmetry or you can explore fillers to contour your face so your results are optimal.
You must also have a realistic expectation for your results. This procedure can effectively take 10 years off the face on average, but factors such as your skin health, your genetics, and your skin type may affect how much younger you will look after this procedure. This procedure will only lift and tighten the skin; it will not correct other issues, such as those related to your bone structure. Please be sure to speak with your provider about the results you can reasonably expect from this procedure.
Commitment To Maintain Results
Ideally, patients seeking this surgery are also committed to maintaining the results of this procedure. The results of your procedure will last for several years, but you can get the most out of your overall results if you are proactive about your skin health. You may be able to better maintain your results when you use active skincare products like retinol and when you protect your skin from UV exposure by wearing SPF during the day.
How Do You Know If You Need a Face Lift?
For most people, plastic surgery is a matter of “want” rather than “need”. However, there may be some signs to watch out for to determine if you will benefit from a face lift procedure. For example, you can do a simple at-home “pull” test that will let you decide whether or not this procedure will help you achieve your aesthetic goals. All you need to do is stand in front of a mirror at home and use your fingertips to gently pull the skin around your ears upward; if this action also lifts the skin on your cheeks, then you may find this procedure beneficial.
Naturally, because everyone has different skin needs and goals, the signs that this procedure may be right for you will be different for everybody. However, some signs may indicate now is the best time for this procedure, such as:
- Deep wrinkles on the lower face
- Prominent cheekbones
- Sagging jowls
- Double chin or sagging neck
Is There a Right Age for This Procedure?
There is no “right” age to have this procedure, as many people as young as 35 have this procedure, particularly if excessive sun damage has caused premature aging. However, because age-related changes will cause the skin to continue losing volume, most skin experts recommend waiting for this procedure until you are at least age 50. This is because the majority of age-related changes will occur by age 50, meaning it will be easier to reverse some of these changes to achieve a more youthful appearance.
Of course, because lifestyle factors and genetics will determine how rapidly your skin ages, you will only be able to know the right time to have this procedure after attending a consultation. Factors like alcohol consumption, smoking tobacco, and damage from unprotected sun exposure can all cause more rapid aging in the skin and can also impact the overall results of your lift procedure.
Can You Combine This Procedure?
Yes. In fact, it’s fairly common to combine this procedure with other facial surgery, including nose jobs, eyebrow lifts, chin, and jawline augmentation, and fat transfer in the cheeks. Using other surgical techniques in conjunction with this one will help you achieve your desired appearance goals. As to whether or not it’s necessary to combine procedures, that is something that will be determined by your aesthetic goals and the advice of your surgeon.
Sometimes, it makes more sense to combine your procedures as this will shorten the overall recovery time you will have. For patients who combine a face lift with other procedures, you will be able to achieve faster results and take less time off from work. This can be especially important if you are using these procedures to prepare for an important life event.
Should You Consider Non-Surgical Alternatives?
While plastic surgery can certainly achieve dramatic improvements in your overall appearance and help you look younger, you may also want to consider non-surgical alternatives. For patients who only have mild to moderate age-related concerns, treatments such as neurotoxins, dermal fillers, and facials or chemical peels can all be good alternatives to help you achieve your restorative goals.
In particular, if you have superficial skin concerns related to aging, such as dark spots, then you may need a non-surgical alternative to correct your appearance concerns. While plastic surgery can lift and tighten the skin, it can’t correct issues related to pigmentation, so additional treatments may be necessary to correct sun damage.
How Dermal Fillers Can Help
Dermal fillers are the number one alternative to plastic surgery for the face, especially when it comes to filling in hollow areas of the skin. Dermal fillers can be used to target a specific region of the face or combined into a “liquid lift” for all-over skin restoration. Dermal fillers work by injecting gel formulas into the sub-dermal layers of the skin to increase skin volume, which smooths away the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. However, dermal fillers can usually only produce results that last about nine to 12 months.
Dermal fillers may be a better choice for your aesthetic needs if your signs of aging are not advanced enough to qualify for a face lift. For those who are only starting to see fine lines, wrinkles, and skin laxity, you may consider dermal fillers as a temporary stop-gap to slow the aging process until your skin condition is advanced enough for plastic surgery.
What Can You Expect From a Face Lift?
Overall, this particular plastic surgery is a simple technique that involves making small incisions in the hairline or behind the ear and then pulling the skin taut to reduce wrinkles. The procedure itself will take about two to four hours, or longer if other surgical techniques are involved. Because of the crafty placement for the incisions, you will not need to worry about any scarring after your surgery.
This procedure involves the use of general anesthesia, so you will likely be instructed to fast overnight before your appointment. You should abstain from tobacco and alcohol for at least 48 hours before your surgery. You will also need to arrange for time off work and for someone to drive you home after your procedure.
You will have several aftercare instructions to follow after your procedure, including how to wash your face, the best way to sleep, and how long you will need to avoid strenuous activities. You may also be given prescriptions to use after your treatment.
How Long Is Recovery?
Your recovery time will take about two to four weeks, which is when you will be mostly healed from the procedure and allowed to return to normal daily activities. Your recovery time may be faster if you are in good health and follow your aftercare tips closely.
How Soon Will You See Results?
You will be able to see the first results of your procedure about two to four weeks after your surgery. Your full results will be visible after about six months.
How Long Will Results Last?
The results of this procedure can last for a decade or longer. In fact, it’s common for this procedure to produce results that last for 12 to 14 years for most people.
Schedule a Consultation Today
If you want to look your best and reduce severe signs of aging, then you may want to consider a face lift procedure. Most people are who are in good health and have realistic expectations are good candidates for this procedure. Please contact Soler Cosmetic Plastic Surgery in Tampa, FL to schedule your consultation today.