What a Facelift Can (and Can’t) Do for You

Published: May 16, 2022
Category: Facelift

Facelift surgery is one of the most effective procedures to restore a more youthful-looking appearance. When performed by an experienced and skilled board-certified plastic surgeon, it can take years off a patient’s face with results that look entirely natural and beautifully refreshed. Even so, a Facelift does have limitations on what it can and can’t achieve. In some cases, additional procedures may be needed to rejuvenate the face further to address advanced aging or a patient’s aesthetic goals. Here is what to realistically expect from Facelift surgery and what it is capable of doing for the overall appearance of your face.

What is the Focus of a Facelift?

“Lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin are all natural parts of aging, but their appearance can be frustrating because they make us appear older than we feel,” says Dr. Robert Wilke, a board-certified plastic surgeon, and partner with Edina Plastic Surgery. “Genetics, diet, lifestyle, and skincare habits all play essential roles in how quickly we notice the signs of aging emerge. Facelift surgery focuses on correcting these changes, so patients look like a younger, more refreshed version of themselves.”

Facelift surgery, technically referred to as Rhytidectomy, rejuvenates the face by lifting and repositioning sagging skin and facial muscles. The procedure removes excess skin and fat and tightens underlying muscles. In doing so, skin appears smoother, the overall balance of facial features is enhanced, and the contours of the face become more defined.

What CAN a Facelift Do for You?

#1 – A Facelift CAN tighten your jawline and redefine your neckline

“One of the primary benefits of a Facelift is this surgery’s effect on the neck and the jawline,” explains Dr. Wilke. “With age and respective collagen loss, tissue from the cheek and mid-face area tends to drop and lands squarely at the sides of the jawline. Sagging skin in this area is commonly referred to as jowls. As jowls pull our lower face downwards, our neck also changes in appearance. The thin, delicate skin here may start to sag and become crepey, giving the appearance of a turkey gobbler. Although some non-surgical therapies can be used for tightening skin, none can achieve what a surgical Facelift can in terms of improving the tightness, contour, and youthfulness of the lower face.”

#2 – A Facelift CAN lift drooping facial muscles

In its infancy, Facelift surgery focused primarily on tightening the skin and did not address repositioning the sagging facial muscles beneath. As a result, some patients appeared overly tight and unnatural. Today’s Facelift incorporates techniques that revolve around rejuvenating the superficial muscular aponeurotic system, or SMAS. The SMAS is a layer of connective tissue and muscle that supports the fat pads that give our cheeks their lift and contour.

“As we age, the drooping of the SMAS causes our cheeks to flatten, which in turn causes our jawline to sag and form jowls,” says Dr. Wilke. “This process can also make our cheekbones appear gaunt and create hollows beneath our eyes as tissues succumb to the pull of gravity. During a Facelift, a plastic surgeon lifts and repositions the SMAS to recreate a more youthful foundation for the overlying skin of the face to sit upon.”

#3 – A Facelift CAN improve the appearance of some deep lines and wrinkles

Because Facelift surgery removes and tightens sagging skin, there can be a marked improvement in some lines and wrinkles on the face. These improvements will be limited to the lower face and be especially prominent on the cheeks and sides of the mouth.

What a Facelift CAN’T Do for You

#1 – A Facelift CAN’T get rid of every line and wrinkle

“A Facelift is not the end all – be all when it comes to facial rejuvenation,” says Dr. Wilke. “It is a very effective and significant tool in the toolbox, but additional surgeries and treatments may be needed to further correct and rejuvenate facial features. Edina Plastic Surgery is unique in that we offer the Full Focus Facelift. This comprehensive package offers 360 degrees of facial rejuvenation by bundling in skin and laser treatments and skincare products from our medical spa, Skin Artisans, to take our patients’ Facelift results to a whole new level.”

#2 – A Facelift CAN’T smooth forehead lines or rejuvenate your eyes

Because Facelift surgery focuses primarily on the lower face, patients concerned about sagging skin around the eyes, or a heavy, drooping brow, may need additional procedures to rejuvenate these areas.

“It is common for a patient to add eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) or a brow lift to their Facelift surgery to achieve more dramatic results,” explains Dr. Wilke. “A Blepharoplasty can be performed on the upper, lower, or both eyelids to remove excess skin, puffy fat pads, and to tighten the skin in this area. A brow lift will elevate heavy, drooping eyebrows to a more youthful position and can help smooth deep horizontal creases that run across the forehead.”

#3 – A Facelift CAN’T completely change the way you look

“A Facelift is about restoration, NOT alteration,” states Dr. Wilke. “Your surgeon’s goal is to restore your appearance to what you looked like ten years ago, not make you look like an entirely different person. In fact, we love it when you bring pictures of yourself from a decade ago to your consultation so we can hear exactly what you liked about your appearance at that time and observe the natural contours and definition your face once had. A Facelift does not change your bone structure or make you appear significantly different. Think of it more so as a means to restore, enhance, and refresh your facial features with natural-looking results that are 100% authentically YOU.”

#4 – A Facelift CAN’T stop the aging process

Unfortunately, there is no magical procedure available to date that can stop the aging process at a cellular level. Even if you have a Facelift, you will still develop wrinkles over time as natural aging commences and skin continues to lose elasticity. Using clinical skincare products and receiving consistent skin and laser treatments can significantly impact how healthy and youthful our skin appears through the years and is highly recommended to enhance and maintain the results of Facelift surgery.

“A Facelift can absolutely turn back the clock on an aging face, but that clock will continue to tick,” says Dr. Wilke. “Although aging will be inevitable, Facelift surgery delays the signs significantly so you can enjoy a more youthful-looking outward appearance that matches how you feel on the inside!”

Schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss Facelift surgery with Dr. Wilke or another board-certified plastic surgeon at Edina Plastic Surgery by calling (612) 688-3177, texting (952) 925-1765, or CLICKING HERE!

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