Am I Ready for a Facelift?
Aging happens to all of us. It may progress more slowly in some than in others thanks to genetic and environmental factors, but it catches up with all of us eventually. If you’re someone who wants to maintain a more youthful and energetic look, you may have already decided that you want to get a facelift when the time comes—but how do you know when it’s time? As a double board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in facial rejuvenation (especially the face lift and the minimally invasive Band Aid Mini Facelift I developed), I’ve compiled a few tips to help you decide if you’re ready for a facelift.
- What signs of aging do you have? Aging typically starts with fine lines and wrinkles, but it progresses into lax facial skin, a loss of volume in the face, and other “symptoms.” The occasional wrinkle or crease is usually best addressed with non-surgical “spot treatments” like cosmetic facial injections (think Botox®, Dysport®, or Restylane®) or laser procedures such as my Band Aid Laser Skin Resurfacing. But it’s probably time for a facelift if you’re noticing sagging skin (like jowls) or a more gaunt-looking facial structure, because both of these issues are reduced with a face lift or a Band Aid Facelift.
- What area of your face are you most concerned about? A facelift really focuses on the lower area of the face—the cheeks through the jawline and underside of the chin. If it’s primarily your forehead, eyes, or neck that makes you uncomfortable, you may be a better candidate for a brow lift, eyelid surgery, or neck lift (or their minimally invasive Band Aid counterparts). Keep in mind that each of these surgeries can often be combined with a facelift or Band Aid Mini Facelift too, for those who want to address several areas of the face at once.
- How long do you want your results to last? Technically, there are no “permanent” solutions to aging, because there is no way to stop the aging process entirely. But the more extensive of an improvement you reach for, the longer it generally lasts before your new signs of aging have progressed far enough to make you look the way you did pre-surgically. Non-surgical skin treatments typically last several months (for injectables) to a few years (for skin tightening or laser procedures), but a face lift often lasts as long as ten to twelve years, depending on the patient’s unique aging process.
- How stable is your weight? Although natural aging is the primary cause of facial skin laxity, losing significant amounts of weight can play a role in this as well. In order to achieve results that will last as long as possible, it’s best to reach your ideal, stable weight before surgery.
- Are you considering a facelift because of your physical aging or because you’ve reached an age when many people get face lifts? Every person ages at their own pace, due to heredity, lifestyle choices, environmental factors, and more. That’s why there’s no specific age when it’s time for a facelift or a Band Aid Mini Face Lift—one patient may be ready for the surgery at 45 while another doesn’t find it necessary until 60.
- Are you prepared for a recovery period? Though it may be cosmetic, a face lift is still a surgery, so make sure you can accept some downtime in order to give your body the chance to heal. The recovery time varies based on the extensiveness of your surgery as well as your body’s unique healing process, but if you want to minimize your downtime, ask me whether you may be a candidate for my minimally invasive Band Aid Face Lift instead.
- Do you have realistic expectations for your results? Facelifts can make a powerful difference in your appearance, but it’s important to recognize their limitations, too. They won’t erase every fine line and wrinkle you have (in fact, if they did, the results would look unnatural and less attractive), and they won’t take you from looking 60 to looking 20. Review some facelift before and after pictures to get an idea of what the results typically look like.
At the end of the day, the decision to have a face lift or mini face lift is about you feeling comfortable and confident in your own skin. So ask yourself if this is the case for you, but be sure to also seek the expert advice of a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in facial rejuvenation. If you’re ready to take the next step, schedule a consultation with me, Dr. John L. LeRoy. Or, for more plastic surgery tips and the latest cosmetic surgery news, follow John L. LeRoy, MD, FACS on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
Every patient is understandably nervous before plastic surgery. It is, after all, a medical surgery, ... Read more