If you're like most people, you'd prefer to avoid surgery whenever possible. And with a plethora of new non-invasive or minimally invasive anti-aging treatments such as laser resurfacing, heat-induced skin tightening, neuromodulators, threadlifts, and injectable dermal fillers, you can sometimes avoid facelift surgery for years. However, when you add up the time and expense of these recurring procedures, plus consider the fact that you will continue to age despite your best efforts, a facelift can be the most expedient and satisfying solution to looking as young as possible for as long as possible.
How do you know it's time to trade in the temporary relief of injectables and high-energy treatments for a more permanent and dramatic rhytidectomy (facelift) from an expert in facial aesthetics, such as Dr. Julio Garcia – one of the top plastic surgeons Las Vegas ? The following may help you decide:
You Try the “Index Finger Lift”
One of the first signs of aging you may notice -- besides “expression lines” (i.e., wrinkles) that can be smoothed out with Botox or another neuromodulator -- is that your face seems “lower” or “sunken.” Your cheeks aren't as full as they were in your youth. You may find yourself moving your face upward slightly with your index fingers while you look in the mirror. If your face looks rejuvenated when you lift up, you may be in the early stages of facial sagging that will eventually require a facelift.
Fillers Have Stopped Working
Dermal fillers are usually one of the first steps people take when they realize that their faces have begun to sag and they are developing creases and lines that can't be smoothed with Botox. Fillers may be composed of hyaluronic acid (HA) (Juvederm, Voluma, Volbella, Restylane, Restylane Silk, Belotero), Calcium Hydroxylapatite (CaHa) microspheres (Radiesse), or poly-L-lactic acid microparticles (Sculptra). The HA fillers provide instant volume, as hyaluronic acid is hydrophilic and plumps the skin with moisture.
The presence of the filler also helps to stimulate collagen, which allows the results to last for 6 months to 2 years. The microparticle-type fillers are collagen stimulators: their presence amps up the production of collagen to a high degree. The new collagen gradually replaces the microspheres and continues to be produced at a higher rate than before the filler was injected. Results can last up to 2 years or more.
While the dermal fillers can provide dramatic rejuvenations, they must be re-administered frequently. And, at some point, as the skin continues to age and degrade, they cannot provide enough lift to keep you looking fresh and vital.
Non-invasive “Lifting” Doesn't Lift
There are many terrific non-invasive or minimally invasive therapies out there that heat and contract the collagen layer in the skin to provide skin tightening. They also stimulate the long-term production of new collagen. Some popular modalities include Ultherapy – which uses ultrasound energy -- and Thermi – which relies on radiofrequency energy. While these techniques are great for preventing the early signs of aging, once your skin has begun to sag significantly, no amount of stimulation will be able to produce enough collagen to thoroughly rejuvenate your skin.
Non-invasive lifts work best for people who are still in their 30s or 40s who want to get ahead of the aging curve by boosting their collagen levels. These treatments need to be repeated at least yearly and will become less effective over time, as the skin begins to degrade.
Your Threadlift Failed
In the hopes of putting off surgery, many men and women opt for a less invasive procedure called a thread lift, where plastic barbed threads are inserted into the midface area and pulled to create an instant lift. These thread lifts go by a variety of names and brands, but the basic concept is the same. Unfortunately, so is the result: a beautiful lift that lasts only months to a year at best. Over the years, many patients have come to the clinic, ready for a traditional facelift after their threads either failed, drooped, or even began to become visible through the skin,
You Have a Saggy Neck and/or Jowling
Thanks to the thinness of neck skin and its poor adherence to the underlying platysma muscle, the neck is one of the places where age-related damage shows up most dramatically. In the early stages, while jowls are just a suggestion, and neck sagging has not yet progressed to a turkey neck, dermal fillers may be sufficient to lift the skin, particularly when accompanied by a skin-tightening treatment. Once a turkey neck or jowls have developed, however, minimally invasive techniques will provide either unsatisfactory or very temporary results.
You Are Ready
Whether you've tried the less invasive anti-aging remedies or not, if you are tired of combating aging and are ready to look more rejuvenated, healthy and alert, then you may be ready for a facelift. Consulting with Dr. Garcia will give you a chance to have your skin quality, bone structure and musculature evaluated to see if you are ready for and/or would respond well to a facelift. Dr. Garcia will turn his artist-trained eye to your face to be sure you get the procedures that will work best for you.
The only real cure for turkey neck is to tighten the platysmal muscles in the neck, remove pockets of fat from under the chin through liposuction, tighten the skin and trim off the excess.
If your neck is your only issue, a neck lift may be sufficiently rejuvenating to last you up to five to eight years.
Lower Face Lift
If you have already begun to develop jowls, then you will need a lower face lift in addition to a neck lift. During your procedure, Dr. Garcia will tighten your neck muscles and skin, remove excess skin and fat, remove fat from the jowls, and dissect and lift the lower SMAS layer.
The result will be a rejuvenated neck, cleaner jawline, removal of jowls, and resolution of sagging of the lower face. A lower facelift with neck lift and platysmaplasty will turn back the clock anywhere from five to eight years and last about that long, too.
Full Face Lift With Fat Grafting
If you have also begun to lose volume in the mid-face, Dr. Garcia will perform a traditional rhytidectomy (facelift). Facelifts have come a long way from the windswept look of yore. Now the SMAS layer of the face is dissected and tightened, the skin is lifted both horizontally and vertically for a more natural draping, and fat grafts are often used to restore volume to your cheeks and midface. The lower face will also be lifted and jowls removed.
When performed with fat grafting, a neck lift and platysmaplasty, a rhytidectomy is a dramatically rejuvenating procedure that makes you look younger, healthier, and more vibrant. After your lift, acquaintances will notice something “different” and “improved,” but they will probably attribute it to weight loss or looking rested. In the hands of an expert like Dr. Garcia, your facelift will not look “done”: It will look like you, only better and more vitalized.
If you have avoided plastic surgery, but are now ready for a facelift, you may also benefit from other surgeries to make your rejuvenation complete. A brow lift and/or upper and lower blepharoplasty can be performed at the same time as your facelift to remove eye bags, resolve hooded or sagging eyes, and lift a sagging brow.
Ten Years in the Fountain of Youth
While there is no cosmetic procedure as yet that can completely reverse the aging process, a beautifully performed facelift can help you look anywhere from five to 10 years younger and will last for up to 10 years. With the aid of proper nutrition and exercise, excellent skin care, regular resurfacing with lasers, microneedling and/or chemical peels, proper sun protection, and dermal fillers plus neuromodulators as needed, the benefits could last even longer. The best first step is to talk to Dr. Garcia to find out when and if a facelift is right for you.