10 Tips to Find the Best Facelift Surgeon
You’re at the age when you stare into the mirror pulling back your jowls and cheeks to try to look younger. Are you ready to take the age-defying step and get a facelift? There are many things to consider. Here are some tips to think about as you make your decision:
- Firstly, making sure your doctor is a board certified surgeon specializing in facial plastic surgery and with plenty of experience in facelifts is a great starting off point. Limiting your search to board certified facial plastic surgeons, as opposed to other types of physicians who do not specialize in facial plastic surgery is a good idea. The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) has a convenient “MD Finder” search to help locate a qualified facial plastic surgeon from its membership directory.
- Besides being a specialist in facial plastic surgery, be sure your surgeon is an actual expert in facelifts, and particularly on people who look like you. If you are a 55-year old, slim woman of Middle Eastern descent, you want to be sure your doctor knows how to operate on you, based on your skin texture, laxity and other related factors. Ask to see before and after photos and even to speak with former satisfied patients.
- You also want to be sure your surgeon has many years of experience under his/her belt perfecting the facelift techniques he/she uses. There are many types of facelifting techniques. You want to be sure your surgeon doesn’t offer just one option, but a variety of options. You want an aesthetic doctor who tailors facelift techniques to the unique needs of his patients. You also want him/her to know which technique will make you look best and tell you why.
- An experienced facelift surgeon will be able to suggest for you whether you would benefit most from a full facelift, mid facelift, or a liquid facelift. There are benefits to each and together with your doctor you should be able to make a decision that’s right for you.
- The main goal of a facelift is for a patient to look natural and not like he/she has had “something done.” A facelift is supposed to look like you only better, more refreshed and youthful. Dr. Rizk concentrates on providing definition to the neck and jawline, while avoiding an overly tight look. That’s the look you should want to achieve.
- Ask your physician about her after-surgery care plan. Does the doctor suggest the use of creams and salves, what about sun exposure and the use of makeup? These are all things to consider. You’ll want to ask about what to expect as far as bruising and swelling and how long until you can resume normal everyday activities, work and exercise.
- People in their 40’s can be candidates for facelift procedures. Anyone experiencing severe drooping that can’t be addressed by less-invasive treatments, like fillers and Botox are candidates for “going under the knife.” A full facelift is ideal for counteracting the long-term effects of gravity, sun damage and aging. Candidates typically have deep lines, loose neck skin and muscles and jowls. If your doctor recommends a full facelift, make sure this is your best option and be sure you review before and after photos of other patients. This option is the most long lasting but it is also the most invasive so there are many factors to consider. This method addresses deeper tissue by going beneath the muscle and then sliding it back to its original position. By going under the muscle, the result is less swelling and bruising. It also leads to better scar healing, because there is less tension on the outer layers of skin. After the deeper tissue is lifted, the excess skin is trimmed away before sutures are placed.
- The main difference between a mid facelift and a full facelift is the degree of invasiveness. The mid facelift is intended to improve the appearance of lines extending from the nose to the mouth (naso-labial folds), as well as saggy cheeks. It is usually not for the older patient, but for those in their 40’s or 50’s. Typically, small incisions are made at the hairline and in the mouth, and the layer of fat over the cheekbones is lifted. This procedure can often be done endoscopically or through the lower eyelid. Sometimes it is included in deep plane and superficial muscular aponeurotic system (SMAS) facelifts. Many patients opt for a mid facelift because it is less invasive than a regular facelift. Results tend to be less dramatic.
- Liquid facelifts or “non-surgical facelifts” are not actual facelifts. Rather using a combination of fillers to plump static lines and Botox to freeze movement lines, a doctor will refresh a patient’s face. Also included in a non-surgical facelift could be laser treatments, micro-dermabrasions and other non-invasive aesthetic procedures. This option is meant to address moderate signs of aging, such as sun damage or smaller loss of facial volume. Depending on the treatment, results can last from a few months to a couple of years.
- It’s important to know about where you’re having your procedure. Whether a hospital or a surgical center, facilities must be certified and licensed. Do your homework and don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions. Make sure to meet with the anesthesiologist and nursing staff prior to your procedure and don’t do any procedure you don’t feel comfortable having.
According to the annual 2012 statistics from The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, members completed nearly 34,000 facelifts in this country in 2012; the report also cites that facelifts were the most common cosmetic surgical procedures undergone by women.
Written by Dr. Sam Rizk