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How many of us that are feeling the effects of aging look in the mirror and push back the skin in front of our ears? In an instant, the temporary tightening of our jowls reveals the jawline of our youth, we see a reduction in our nose-to-mouth lines and create a smoother complexion on our cheeks.

At the same time, we know that achieving this effect more permanently will probably involve some intervention. Healthline.com says that sagging skin on the face is caused by several factors including the thinning of the skin’s surface, collagen loss, and sun damage.

So, how is best to reverse these signs of aging and prevent them from getting worse? Undoubtedly, facelift surgery is one of the most effective and long-lasting facial rejuvenation procedures available. But for many, surgery may feel too frightening, too expensive, and without any guarantees about the outcome.

The good news is that facelift surgery, or rhytidectomy, has advanced rapidly in recent years, with some procedures being completed relatively quickly under local anesthesia and requiring only minimal downtime

In fact, in 2020 the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported that board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States performed over 230,000 facelifts on patients. This statistic has grown by 75% since 2000. The procedure has gained popularity so much that it’s now the third highest performed cosmetic surgery next to eyelid surgery and rhinoplasty, with 94% of patients reporting a RealSelf ‘worth it’ rating.

Am I A Good Candidate For A Facelift?

Here at the Kaplan Center, we always recommend a personal consultation with Dr. Kaplan so that he can perform an in-depth assessment of your profile, discuss your concerns and suggest a bespoke treatment plan for you. However, there are some general measures you can apply on your own to see if a facelift may be the solution that you’re looking for.

  • According to realself.com, one of the first tests of a potential facelift candidate is to assess the extent of sagging in the cheeks, neck, and jowls. This laxity can be seen around the jawline itself, but also where the mouth meets the jaw.
  • Another clue is the bands running up and down the neck. If the platysma muscles appear loose, are visible, and hang down, surgery may be recommended.
  • And of course, many people are bothered by prominent facial folds or marionette lines. These are the lines that run between the mouth and the chin. A board-certified surgeon with a skilled aesthetic eye will be able to reduce these.

What Can A Facelift Achieve?

The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery explains that facelift surgery works to lift and firm
sagging facial tissues to restore a more naturally youthful facial appearance.

Facelifts are suitable for all genders, with 99% of procedures being carried out on patients over 40 years old and consisting of a wide range of surgeries that target different parts of the facial structure. This procedure is not a “one size fits all” solution.

What Type Of Facelift Procedures Are There?

The Silhouette Instalift

The Silhouette Instalift is a type of thread lift that reduces sagging skin on the cheeks and jowls. By using sutures placed under the skin, it can also create more definition in the neck area and lessen nose-to-mouth lines. The threads are absorbed so don’t need removing and patients see immediate results. The sutures also stimulate the production of collagen to delay further signs of aging. This procedure often suits younger candidates. 

The Mini Facelift

This option aims to reverse a mild degree of jowling and sagging skin and is carried out through a short incision above or in the natural creases around each ear or under the hairline. It is suitable for patients with earlier signs of aging who are looking to create a more youthful jawline and lower face. 92% of patients reviewed said the operation was worth it for them, with one patient saying she thinks she looks “100% better”.

The Mid-Facelift

The mid-facelift is often a great solution for those who have loose skin in the midfacial area, specifically the cheeks. It lifts the tissues to lessen deep creases and can create a more defined facial structure, reduce marionette lines, and improve the lower eye area. Because of its focus, it is less suitable for patients who would like to improve definition around the jawline.

Deep Plane/SMAS Facelift

The deep plane facelift is a solution often provided for candidates with severely loose skin on their cheeks and laxity in the neck area. Through incisions just behind the hairline, the muscle tissue and skin are lifted to reduce heavy cheeks, sagging skin, and laxity in the neck area. While it is the most invasive type of facelift surgery because it lifts the deeper tissues, it provides the longest-lasting, and some argue the most natural results. One patient claims, “My results are incredible – I look easily 10 years younger.”

The Neck Lift

The neck lift – or lower rhytidectomy – as the name suggests – focuses its attention on the jawline, jowls, and removal of fatty deposits under the chin. It also addresses loose neck skin and sagging platysma muscles.

How Long Will It Take To Recover?

Downtime from facelift surgery depends to a large extent on how invasive the surgery has been and whether it has been performed under local or general anesthetic. Patients can usually go home on the same day as their operation. They could feel disorientated during their first days of recovery and require support from family and friends. Plasticsurgery.org emphasizes the need to follow postoperative incision care, keeping them clean to prevent infection.

During the first week, patients will need to rest and may need pain medication as recommended by their physician. Swelling should reduce after a few days and by the end of week 2, many feel ready to return to work and exercise with permission from their surgeon. It’s worth noting that it may take up to a year for minor swelling and tightness to vanish but if a patient has any concerns, they should contact their doctor.

Complementary Procedures

It’s worth noting that a facelift focuses on the lower portion of the face as well as the neck, so if the areas that bother you are around the eyes and the forehead, it is possible to address those at the same time. Combining surgeries like blepharoplasty (to repair droopy eyelids), a brow lift or forehead rhytidectomy (which smooths the forehead and makes the eyes appear more open) or ear reshaping (which can bring balance to the ears and face) with facelift surgery can save a patient both downtime and money.

Are There Any Less-Invasive Procedures That Will Improve Sagging Skin?

If the surgical route isn’t something that you’d like to go down, there are less-invasive options to choose from, depending on how extensive the signs of aging are. These procedures can be fast to administer (and for the patient to see the results), don’t require general anesthesia and therefore, only require minimal downtime, and are relatively affordable.

On the downside, they are likely to deliver less dramatic results which don’t last as long. This means they will need to be repeated more often. Candidates may want to research dermal fillers, Botox, fat injections, and laser and ultrasound treatments.

How Much Does A Facelift Cost?

A facelift is an elective procedure and, as a result, isn’t usually covered by insurance. Patients need to do their research and calculate their likely costs based on the surgeon’s fee, the operating room costs, the anesthetic, and any follow-up appointments and pain relief. While the price tag depends on the type of procedure chosen, the American Society of Cosmetic Surgeons says that in 2020, the average surgeon/physician fees were $8005.

What Are The Next Steps?

The key to finding the right path for you is, to be honest about your goals for the procedure and to discuss these with Dr. Kaplan. He is a skilled physician in facelift surgery and if he feels an intervention is an appropriate route, he will create a solution just for you. For more information, please contact info@thekaplancenter.com or call our office at 201-710-7771 New Jersey or 212-731-4543 New York.