Having a face lift can turn back the clock in ways that few other procedures are able to, which is why this remains one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries available today. Unfortunately, not every person who wishes to have a facelift will be a suitable candidate. At SANDS Aesthetics + Plastic Surgery in Metairie, LA, when potential patients come in from New Orleans and across the state, we do a careful evaluation to ensure this is the right procedure for them.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Getting a Face Lift?
Most people who are reasonably healthy, who are non-smokers, and who are not taking medications that may thin the blood can safely undergo facial cosmetic surgery. It is important to fully discuss any health concerns you may have with the doctor at your consultation so that we can give you an honest assessment of your suitability.
Being in Good Physical Health
This is the number one factor that we must take into consideration when determining your suitability for a face lift. Any type of surgery does place some stress on the body, so it is important to be fit enough to go under general anesthetic and successfully get through the recovery process that follows. The healthier you are, the faster you will bounce back after the procedure.
The Condition of Your Skin
While we often work with more mature patients, ideally we like to see that the patient has retained some skin elasticity. Even a patient in their 70’s who has taken care of their skin over the years can still have very good suppleness. A person with good skin will recover much more quickly and their scars will fade faster.
Smokers and heavy drinkers are advised to avoid elective surgery. These habits can interfere with proper blood coagulation and wound healing. Nicotine, in particular, can cause surgical complications and result in decreased blood flow. You will also be asked about any medication that you are taking – in some cases, certain medications (such as aspirin) can simply be paused for a reasonable amount of time prior to surgery.
Having Realistic Expectations
When considering plastic surgery, a person’s psychological health can be just as important as their physical health. The patient must be able to understand that this procedure can certainly take several years off their face but will not dramatically change their appearance. They must also accept that the aging process will continue after they have healed from this surgery.
Who Makes a Good Face Lift Candidate?
Anyone who is healthy, a non-smoker, and who still has reasonably good skin can expect to see positive results from this procedure. A person who wants to take about 10 years off their appearance is a great candidate, but a person who wants to look 20 again may not be! Having realistic expectations is an important part of this process.
The ideal candidate will have wrinkles and sagging in the lower part of the face and/or neck. They might also have a lack of definition along the jawline. Sometimes these are patients who have already tried less invasive treatments but are now ready to commit to a longer-term anti-aging solution.
What Is the Best Age for This Procedure?
There does seem to be a trend towards younger people seeking facelifts, however, most of our facial rejuvenation patients tend to be in their 50’s or 60’s. Most people do not come in for a consultation until there is really something bothering them, however, there are advantages to taking a proactive approach and having this surgery done at an earlier stage when the skin is still very supple.
The argument for having a face lift in one’s 40’s is that less dramatic intervention will be required, the results can be more subtle, and the recovery process will likely be quicker. Younger patients are also less likely to have health issues that might make surgery ill-advised.
What Results To Expect
Whether you opt to have a full face lift that includes the neck, or a partial, more targeted lift, you can expect to see tighter, re-contoured skin and a lifted appearance to the underlying tissues and muscle. A face lift only focuses on the bottom two-thirds of the face and on the neck, which is why some patients opt to also have a brow lift and/or eyelid surgery at the same time.
Patients can realistically expect to maintain their results for up to 10 years. Eventually, the effects of gravity will continue to take hold, but almost every patient finds that they continue to look younger than they did pre-surgery for many years after the procedure takes place. How long these results last can vary greatly depending on genetics and lifestyle factors.
How Does Facial Rejuvenation Work?
The surgeon typically makes an incision at the hairline and near the ear, where it will be as inconspicuous as possible. Fat and excess skin may be trimmed, and the underlying connective tissues and muscles will be tightened. If a neck lift is also going to be performed, the skin around the neck will be pulled up and back, which involves another small incision under the chin.
There will be sutures put in place that will need to be removed within the first two weeks following surgery. In some cases, dissolvable stitches or a special type of surgical “glue” may be used — these options can be discussed with your doctor during the consultation. Taking very good care of the incision sites in the months following surgery will ensure that any scarring fades over time.
The Recovery Period
It is normal to experience some discomfort following any surgery, but this is nothing that can’t be managed with some pain medication that will be prescribed by your surgeon. It is important to rest for the first week following surgery, and not to attempt a return to normal daily activities until at least the second week post-op. More intense activity such as running or a high-impact exercise routine should not be resumed for about a month.
Your doctor will give you instructions on when the dressing may come off, how to care for the incision sites, and any other steps you can take to make your recovery easier. Following these instructions to the letter is crucial to ensuring a faster recovery. If you ever have any questions, or would like to book an extra follow-up visit, our office is just a phone call away.
How Long Does It Take To See Final Results?
Your more youthful, lifted appearance will be evident after a few weeks, but patients can expect to see the final outcome in two or three months. As your fresher, younger appearance begins to gradually reveal itself, you can extend and maximize these results by staying moisturized, avoiding the sun, and engaging in healthy lifestyle habits.
Is Facial Cosmetic Surgery Safe?
For people who fit the profile of a suitable candidate, as noted above, then yes this is a very safe procedure. The majority of patients are able to get through surgery and the entire recovery process without any issues that are outside the norm. Patients are closely monitored throughout the recovery process to ensure that everything is going according to schedule.
How To Choose a Surgeon
Doing your research to find a plastic surgeon you are comfortable with is crucial to this process. Make sure your surgeon is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. This is the only way to guarantee that you are being treated by someone who has the expertise, education, and best practice standards you are looking for.
You will also want to work with someone who has extensive experience specifically with facial rejuvenation procedures. Performing surgery on the face requires a high degree of aesthetic and technical skill. The surgeon you choose should have an innate understanding of facial contour and symmetry. Ask to see “before and after” pictures so that you can see exactly what the surgeon’s work looks like.
Booking a Consultation in Louisiana
If you live in the New Orleans area and would like to learn more about your facial rejuvenation options, contact us today at SANDS Aesthetics + Plastic Surgery in Metairie, LA. We will set up an initial consultation to answer any questions you may have and determine if you would be a suitable candidate for this life-changing procedure.