Why do the ravages of time always seem to march on—across our face? While aging imparts more wisdom and experience, it can also make you look older than you actually feel. Over the years there have been revolutionary advances in aesthetic medicine—especially when it comes to facelifts. Cosmetic surgery has become a helpful tool for people eager to rejuvenate their appearance and turn back the hands of time.

Many patients who visit Associated Plastic Surgeons say they no longer recognize the person staring back in the mirror, says Dr. Mark McClung, who has done thousands of successful facelifts over his storied 25-year career. “They may still feel vibrant and energetic, but their face tells a different story,” he says. “They see a person who looks exhausted or, well, just plain old.”

McClung points out that a facelift remains the gold standard procedure for comprehensive facial rejuvenation. “It helps treat saggy facial skin brought on by the natural aging process,” he says. “Today’s innovative techniques can help reconstruct a more youthful contour along your face, jaw, and neck. It can also help get rid of loose skin. But, with any surgical procedure, there can be downtime.”

Interested in learning more? McClung says these are the top five things you should know before considering a facelift.

Who is the best candidate for a facelift?
“It can run the gamut—typically anyone between the ages of 40 to 80 who is in generally good health. A few things to note: you must be a non-smoker for a month before the surgery. Patients must not be on any blood thinners, and off aspirin for two weeks and anti-inflammatories for one week. Here’s what I tell people: I want my patients to be self-motivated and not doing this procedure to please someone else.”

Is there such a thing as a mini-facelift? What is it?
“Yes, a mini-facelift is one where postauricular (behind the ear) incisions are omitted in favor of those in front of the ear only. This limits the correction of the neck and is most commonly performed for those in their 40s and early 50s.  It’s important to approach the facelift as a way of achieving a balanced, natural look, but this means accounting for all areas of laxity and need for contour correction. A mini-facelift may not do the trick.

Now, some patients opt for a neck lift, a version of the operation that emphasizes neck correction over cheek and mid-face correction. Additional tightening of the neck is performed with a platysmaplasty, which involves a short incision under the chin and direct tightening of the muscle layer in the neck called the platysma, combined with additional fat removal as needed.”

What does downtime look like?
“Everyone is different, but the recovery process typically involves four to five days of consistent icing and limited activity. Expect to be out of commission for up to two, sometimes three weeks. Patients must sleep with their head in an elevated position for up to a week. Usually, you can shower and shampoo after a couple of days. Sutures are removed at one week and a lightweight facial compression garment is used for a week, sometimes two.

Meanwhile, don’t expect to exercise for at least three weeks—and then only light cardio is allowed. Most patients tell me they find a facelift isn’t particularly painful. Most often pain meds are used for one to three days. It’s a small price to pay for a procedure that can last upwards of ten years.”

What flaws would you like to correct?
“Hopefully, you’d like to see a younger, more rested-looking face in the mirror. We’re not here to change your appearance so much that you look like someone else entirely. Ask yourself which areas of your face you’re unhappy with, or which subtle flaws you’d like to fix.

Remember, we want to restore and rejuvenate your visage, not reinvent it. If you’re considering a facelift solely to boost your self-esteem, think twice. A facelift isn’t an automatic cure-all. It won’t enhance the quality of your life if you’re not sure exactly what you’re looking to get out of it.”

Can I combine different procedures?
“Well, yes and no. Facelifts can be combined with eyelid correction as well as a browlift. Be mindful, there’s a limitation to the length of operation that can be done under local anesthesia. I might suggest a perioral chemical peel for lip lines beforehand. Pre- and post-op skin care is also very important and should be addressed by our skilled estheticians.”

At Associated Plastic Surgeons, all of our doctors are well-versed in various facelift procedures and ready to help you achieve your aesthetic goals. Want to learn more or schedule a consultation? Call us today at (913) 451-3722 or visit us here.