A facelift can be a life-changing procedure that significantly turns back the clock on wrinkles and sagging skin. At the Mack Cosmetic Center in Tampa, FL, renowned facial cosmetic surgeon Dr. William P. Mack performs this surgery on patients who are at a point in life where they want more lasting results than those that can be achieved with non-invasive treatments.
What Is the Right Age for a Facelift?
Many people who inquire about having a facelift have already tried the standard non-invasive options such as fillers, Botox, and lasers, but are at a stage in their life where the signs of aging have become noticeable enough to require more significant intervention. While excellent results can be achieve with a non-invasive approach, the reality is that only surgery can guarantee the longer-term results that many patients are looking for.
If you have deep wrinkles and significant sagging, and have already explored other treatments, then it may be time to invest in a more lasting solution. While the recovery process will be longer than what you are used to after a more simple treatment, most patients find that this is a very small price to pay to get the kind of substantial results that can be achieved with surgery.
Knowing When the Time Has Come for Surgery
Since every individual ages at their own rate, there is no perfect age at which we recommend having this surgery. Facelift patients typically range in age from 45 to 70, but if a person is in good health, they can still safely have this procedure done even later in life.
Only in very rare circumstances would anyone under the age of 40 have this surgery. Even if a person is aging prematurely, there are so many other non-surgical options available now to address this problem that there should be no need to have a surgery at a younger age. If you are under age 40 and unhappy with your appearance, at least explore your other options first before rushing into a more invasive procedure.
Patients in Their 40’s
While it is not uncommon for patients in their 40’s to request a full lift, some people in this age category really only need a partial lift of either the neck, lower face, mid face, and/or brows. We never want to do more than is necessary to achieve a beautiful outcome. Your options for addressing the parts of your face and neck that really require help can be discussed at your consultation. It may also be advised to combine a partial lift with other less invasive treatments.
Patients in Their 50’s
By the time a person reaches their 50’s, the signs of aging are typically much more noticeable. Problem areas that could previously be camouflaged with hair and makeup are now much harder to hide. Even if you have been able to get away with a minimal anti-aging routine up to this point, in your 50’s, most people require more significant intervention.
If you skin is in very good shape for your age, you may still be able to benefit from Botox and fillers alone, but surgery will always produce the most substantial outcome. It is also a good idea to get your lift done before the signs of aging are so advanced that it will be obvious you’ve had surgery. For people who are concerned with having the most natural result possible, getting their procedure done earlier is always better.
Patients in Their 60’s or 70’s
Having a facial procedure done at this stage of life can easily make a person look 10-15 years younger. There will typically be significant wrinkling and sagging in place, so the results will be more dramatic than those achieved on a younger person who requires less correction. Still, the goal is always to achieve the most natural result possible. Some patients in this age group request that a few wrinkles be left in place so that they don’t have an overly “pulled” appearance.
What About Older Patients?
We do in fact have more mature patients over the age 75 requesting this surgery. People are living much long than they used to and want to look good for as long as possible! There is no rule against this as long as the person is in good health. We will do an even more thorough health screening and run some additional tests to ensure that older patients are fit to go under sedation.
The Best Candidates for Surgery
The only requirements for surgery of this nature is that the patient be in good overall health, a non-smoker, and able to invest the time required in the recovery process. Smoking can impede the healing process, so it is critical that patients give up this habit several months before surgery (or better yet, permanently).
Having time to recover is a must. This is a not a procedure where you can go back to work the next day – you will need at least one full week to rest and recuperate, and will not be able to engage in any intense physical activity until your doctor gives you the go-ahead to do so. If you don’t think that you’ll be able to make this time commitment, it might be better to postpone surgery until a later date when life is less hectic.
What To Expect with a Facelift
If you have decided that the time is right for surgery, it is important to understand exactly what is involved with this procedure. Your surgeon will remove excess skin, tighten up the underlying tissues and muscle, and pull back the facial skin to ensure a smooth contour. This is an outpatient procedure, usually performed with an IV drip (“twilight sedation”) as well as a local anesthetic, so there is absolutely no discomfort during surgery.
Where Will the Incisions be?
A facelift incision typically begins at the temples, just above the ear. It continues downward and around the earlobe where is tucks into the hairline behind the ear. Once the underlying tissues have been tightened, the skin is then gently pulled back along this incision line. Sutures are placed, with a dressing overtop. The entire procedure usually takes between two and three hours.
The Recovery Process
It is important to have someone to take you home after your procedure, and also to help you for at least a couple of days post-op. You will need to get plenty of rest, stay hydrated, and sleep in an elevated position. Physical activity, even light housework, must be avoided for the first week.
The dressing will be removed the day after surgery, and your doctor will give you instructions for incision care. The more closely you follow the doctor’s instructions, the quicker the healing process will be. Your progress will be closely monitored through several follow-up visits to make sure everything is healing up nicely.
When To Expect Final Results
While you will feel much better after the first week post-op, it can take several months for the healing process to be fully complete. This is normal. A facelift is a long-term investment in your appearance, and some patience is required to achieve the final outcome. After a few months, your scars should be fading and any puffiness should have fully subsided, revealing your tighter, younger, and more refreshed face.
When A Patient Is Undergoing Several Procedures
Some patients like to make the most of their time in the operating room and have several procedures performed at once. Patients often opt to have a neck lift or eyelid lift at the same time to maximize results. We can also administer fillers at this time to augment the results of a facelift, creating the most smooth and lifted end result possible. Having multiple procedures is safe and convenient, but you may need to allow for extra recovery time.
Ensuring a Natural End Result
Our goal is always to make sure that patients do not have an “overdone” or stretched appearance that is a tell-tale sign of having had a facelift. The goal is to look younger and more refreshed, not to completely iron out every line on the face. Dr. Mack uses all his experience to ensure that patients get a significant result without it being obvious that they had surgery.
Find Out How You Can Turn Back the Clock
If you would like to learn more about your surgical and non-surgical options for improving your appearance, there is no time like the present. Contact us today at the Mack Cosmetic Center in Tampa, FL so that we can arrange a consultation with Dr. William P. Mack.