Which Kind of Facelift Is Right for You?
Quite often, it appears that our skin ages much quicker than our personalities do. Heredity, sun exposure, and lifestyle choices all play a role in aging skin, and our faces and necks often show the tell-tale signs of aging: lines, wrinkles, sagging tissues, loose skin, and volume loss. Unfortunately, there is no magical cure for these unwanted additions. Skin creams, sunscreens, and procedures like chemical peels may postpone these; however, even they cannot turn back the hands on the clock, and you may find that your skin looks years older than you feel. This disconnect can affect your self-esteem and confidence, and lines and sagging that make you appear tired, worn out, and stressed can disrupt your true emotions from being portrayed. Facelifts are one of the five most common cosmetic surgeries performed, with well over 100,000 done in the last year alone. In general, facelift surgery is designed to tighten and remove excess skin, reduce fine lines, address sagging jowls, and lift the underlying muscles in the cheeks, but it is not a one-size-fits-all procedure. The degrees of correction with facelift surgery vary as much as the patients who undergo them, and it is important to understand these differences to determine which technique is right for you.
Facelift surgery (known as a rhytidectomy) can reduce the signs of aging such as fine lines, wrinkles in the cheeks and around the mouth, jowls, and sagging skin in both the face and the neck. This procedure makes incisions in the hairline and around the ears to gently lift and tighten the underlying muscles in the cheek and jowls, re-drape and smooth the skin over the elevated muscles, and remove any excess skin, leaving you with a refreshed and more youthful appearance. Facelifts traditionally focus on the middle and lower sections of the face but can be combined with procedures like a brow or eyelid lift for a more comprehensive transformation. Traditional facelifts are generally associated with:
- General anesthesia
- Surgery length of 2.5 to 3 hours
- Patients 55 and older (usually, but not always)
- Moderate to heavy amounts of sagging skin
- Those with deeper wrinkles, significant jowls, sagging skin in the lower two-thirds of the face and jawline, and have a heavy neck
- Incisions in the hairline that extend down in front and around the ears as well as an additional small incision under the chin that addresses the loose muscles and excess skin and fat in the neck
- Recovery time of 2 or so weeks (typically 1 to 2 weeks off work)
- Results that can last over 10 years when paired with a healthy lifestyle
A mini facelift is a variation of the traditional facelift and designed for those who need a smaller degree of lift. Despite the name, mini facelifts still provide a dramatic rejuvenation of the face and neck by improving the loose and sagging skin around the jowls, cheeks, and neck. Like the traditional facelift, a mini facelift will tighten the underlying muscles before re-draping and removing the excess skin. And just like the traditional facelift, a mini facelift can be combined with other surgical or non-surgical procedures to give you your ideal amount of rejuvenation. Mini facelifts are associated with:
- Local or sedational anesthesia
- Surgery length of approximately an hour and a half
- Patients 40 to 55 years old (usually, but not always)
- Mild to moderate amounts of sagging skin
- Those with skin laxity in the face and neck but not a heavy neck
- Fewer incisions hidden in the natural creases around the ears
- Quicker recovery time
- Lower cost than traditional facelift
- Results that can last up to 8 years
If you have sagging skin, deep creases, excess skin in your neck, or loss of muscle tone in your face, Dr. Pontell can help you regain your youthful appearance. Dr. Pontell is a board-certified plastic surgeon with years of experience in both traditional and mini facelifts. For more information or to schedule your consultation, call our office at (610) 688-7100 or fill out our online contact form.