None of us want to walk around looking like survivors of the facelift operating table. We want to look natural, as if for some reason we’re lucky and life has exempted us from wrinkles and jowls. As if our youthful spirit is protecting our youthful face.
Well, we are lucky, because cosmetic surgery techniques have improved hugely in the past 15 to 20 years. In the early days, much reliance was placed on simply tightening the skin. This created a stretched-out look. It took care of surface lines but did nothing for the sagging muscles and tissue beneath the skin. So within a few years that skin was drooping again.
More recent techniques focus instead on restructuring the tissue mass by tightening muscles and removing excess fat. And they have become less heavily invasive.
For example, with the new technique called tumescent liposuction the flesh is first injected with a warm solution of agents, which cause swelling. Then excess fat is removed using very small cannulae, which insert smoothly and easily into this swollen tissue, rather than the much larger cannulae that were formerly used. This results in a more natural look, as well as in less blood loss, pain, and likelihood of infection. Tumescent liposuction is especially useful on facial and neck areas, which require great precision.
The Three Areas of the Face
Facial aging creates changes that can be modified piecemeal by considering the face as having three zones:
- The upper face (forehead and upper eyelids)
- The middle face (lower eyelids, nose and cheeks)
- The lower face (mouth, jawline, neck)
When cosmetic surgery is performed in this context, a variety of small operations can be combined into an individually-tailored whole.
Facelifts Appropriate to the Individual
Another person may achieve better results by having a cheek implant or excision, or a rhinoplasty. And someone else may need work on the mouth, neck and jawline, such as a lip enhancement, chin implant, or ear setback.
And of course, some of us may need a special combination affecting all 3 of the facial areas.
So rather than all of us simply getting “a facelift”, we can choose different combinations of smaller surgeries, according to our individual needs or preferences. This leads to more individual results that stem naturally from our inborn facial features.
Facelifts Appropriate to Your Age
Today, facelifts are being performed earlier in life. A person in their 40s has a different degree of aging than a person in their 50s or 60s.
So a person in their 40s still has elastic skin and needs only some tightening of the underneath tissue, with minimal incisions.
In our 50s, all that sun-tanning is showing up in the texture of our skin, so we not only need tightening of the subcutaneous tissue, but also improvement in the skin texture. That could be treatment of uneven pigmentation, removal of wrinkles and fine lines, and adjustment of the amount of fat in the face and neck areas.
If you are over 60, you have even more skin damage, and may also have some bone degeneration and shrinkage of the middle face, which changes the overall shape of the face. Therefore, the surgical focus is rather different. Fat may be added in one area and removed from another. Volume and support will be added to the cheekbone and jaw areas to give more definition to the facial shape. This yields more natural looking results than simply tightening skin and muscle.
Our facial appearance is of course shaped by our lifestyles, personalities, hairstyle, nutritional habits etc. as well as by our age. A good cosmetic surgeon will plan your facelift to match your age and individual appearance, and this will give you a natural fresher look.