We’ll gladly take the wisdom of the years. Our lifetime of accomplishments & experiences. But not necessarily the wear and tear of those years on our face.
Time becomes the gift that gives and takes. And for some of us, the years weigh heavily on our appearance, making us look perpetually tired or angry or sad…NOT reflecting how we feel on the inside. And in a culture that equates youth with energy, employability, innovation and drive, cosmetic procedures like facelifts are no longer taboo or exclusive to celebrities & the mega-rich.
If you’re longing for the fresher version of yourself, a facelift could be your path to rejuvenation. Over time, your skin and underlying facial tissue weaken because of the everyday activities and movements of your face. In the same way rubber can lose its elasticity, so can your skin. Facelifts remove and tighten excess skin, while repositioning fat deposits and muscles which have sagged or warped over time.
Facelifts fall into several categories: Full, lower, and mini lifts.
Each targets specific areas of the face to reduce or remove the visible signs of aging on the skin and underlying tissues.
Full facelifts are the most complex because they are actually a combination of separate procedures that work together to rejuvenate the overall appearance of the face. Because everyone ages differently, the procedures that worked for one person could be completely inappropriate for another. That makes each facelift as unique as each face. The surgical philosophy at mia Aesthetics is that “beauty is fluid” — and Dr. Alvarez and his team strive to achieve each person’s individual ideal of beauty. No cookie cutters here. The surgeries generally included in a full facelift target the lower face, mid-face, and neck.
Lower facelifts target only the lower portion of the face and are used to sculpt the skin and tissue around the mouth, jaw, and neck. Lower facelifts help to remove the signs of weariness and falsely expressed emotions (sadness, anger, fatigue) which can look permanent on aging skin.
Facelift procedures can remove deep-set wrinkles, sagging jowls, fatty deposits or banding on the face and neck. This is accomplished by removing or repositioning fat to areas which will fill in wrinkled or sagging skin, as well as reducing and tightening skin around the lower jaw.
Because emotions are commonly shown around the mouth, that area’s been getting a workout since the day you were born! That’s why it’s often the first place to show signs of aging. By improving the look and feel of the skin around your mouth, you may find that besides looking younger, a facelift will improve your resting expression. In other words, no more “resting sad face” or “resting scowl face”!
Mini facelifts generally involve a single incision site along the ear. This tiny S-shaped incision is designed to be virtually invisible once healed. Also known as the “weekend facelift” this procedure is popular among women aged 40-50 who have only just begun to show signs of aging. Skin that has severe deep wrinkles and signs of aging would not generally benefit much from a mini facelift.
A vibrant, youthful appearance can have countless positive benefits in your day-to-day life, but the best reason for undergoing any cosmetic procedure is to improve your self-confidence. If looking younger and more attractive will boost your confidence and make you feel like a better version of yourself, there is simply no reason not to consider a facelift.
Because beauty is personal and a facelift is such a custom procedure, the consultation is extremely important in the planning phase. You will meet with Dr. Alvarez or one of his elite surgeons at the mia Aesthetics clinic in Miami to discuss your goals and review all your options. The doctor will offer you invaluable insight and recommend which procedure may be best for you. This is a great time to ask him questions and pick his brain.
Our surgeon will also assess your health, making sure you’re in shape for surgery. And this is your opportunity to learn and get to know the doctor…because establishing communication and trust with your surgeon is a critical component to a successful surgery.
What does it take for you to have a successful facelift?
General good health, a positive self-image and attitude, realistic expectations, and the ability to devote time to the healing process.
What characteristics does a facelift patient commonly have?
- Fat deposits in the face which have shifted or fallen to create hollows or winkles.
- Sagging skin along the jawline or fatty jowls
- Creases or folds extending from the corners of the mouth to the nose
- Marionette lines which extend from the corners of the mouth down to the chin
- A double chin resulting from fallen fat deposits or excess skin.
- Creases or banding along the neck
- Any loss of muscle tone in the lower face leading to an aged appearance
For maximum comfort, most cosmetic surgeries utilize one of two anesthesia types, depending on how detailed the procedure will be. General anesthesia is almost always used for full facelifts, so patients are unconscious and immobile for surgery.
Local anesthesia combined with sedation may be used for less complicated procedures such as lower or mini facelifts. In this instance, the area surrounding the surgical site will be numbed and you will receive intravenous sedation to relax you and keep your body still. You may fall asleep as a result of the sedation, but many patients remain awake throughout their procedures.
Your mia Aesthetics surgeon will make incisions necessary to access the targeted areas of the face. Through these incisions, the doctor will reposition and tighten the facial muscles & skin for a smooth, youthful appearance. Fat may be repositioned to fill in facial hollows and promote symmetry. Excess skin and fat will be removed before the incisions are closed and dressings are applied.
Swelling, bruising, and bleeding at the incisions are typical after a facelift. Post-op, patients need to remain fairly inactive, elevating the head as much as possible for the first week or so to maximize healing and prevent unnecessary strain on the body.
Initially, patients may have a surgical drain at the incision site to reduce swelling. This drain must be emptied and reset frequently to prevent a fluid buildup. Drains are typically removed a few days after surgery. The sutures will either dissolve in a couple of weeks or be removed along with the drain.
Patients will gradually resume normal activities and most return to office jobs about 1-2 weeks after surgery, depending on the extent of the facelift. Bending, lifting, strenuous exercise, and some other activities will be off-limits for several weeks following a facelift. Patients should take great care to follow all the instructions for recovery to enhance the results of the procedure and help prevent complications.
Swelling will subside over the weeks and months following surgery, and patients can expect to see final results in about 6-12 months, though preliminary results will be visible after about 6-8 weeks.
Choosing the Right Surgeon
Facelift surgery is an extremely customized procedure, and good results require the skill of an expert surgeon with great technique and artistry. Choosing your plastic surgeon is perhaps the most important decision you will make regarding your procedure, and we encourage you to research and meet with several candidates before choosing your surgeon. mia Aesthetics is founded on the principle that high-quality aesthetic care should be customized to each person’s beauty ideal, and our surgeons rejects the notion of cookie-cutter looks. As you evaluate your choices, it’s important you find a skilled and compassionate doctor whom you can trust and who willingly answers your questions and addresses your concerns. Take your time, and never choose a surgeon who makes you feel uncomfortable in any way.
How long does facelift surgery take?
Most facelifts take at least a few hours, and more extensive surgeries can take much longer. You should expect to spend all day at the surgical center, and a couple of hours in recovery before you will be allowed to return home. Your surgeon can give you a more precise timeline based on what your specific surgery will entail.
What are the risks of facelift surgery?
As with any invasive surgery, facelift surgery carries risks, all of which can be minimized by choosing the right surgeon and practicing good pre- and post-operative care.
Infection is a risk with any surgery, and incision sites should be carefully monitored for possible signs of infection. Swelling accompanied by heat, redness that occurs days or weeks after the procedure, and discolored fluid can all be signs of infection.
Other complications can include numbness, hair loss, poor healing, skin necrosis, and nerve damage.
Smoking is not allowed for at least 6 weeks prior to your procedure and for several months afterwards. Tobacco use in general is not advisable for those going under the knife because it can trigger complications.
When can I go back to work?
Most facelift patients return to office work within a week or two, with the understanding that vigorous physical activity is still prohibited until about week 6 or until the surgeon gives you the all-clear.
How much scarring will I have?
The amount of scarring you experience from facelift surgery will generally depend on your skin type and color, as well as the type of facelift you get, which affects how many incisions you’ll have and where they’ll will be placed. Rest assured that most surgeons will be able to minimize the amount of scarring from the procedure by locating the incisions in discreet locations. If you are particularly concerned about scarring or have experienced keloid scarring in the past, discuss this with your surgeon.
How long will the results of my facelift last?
That’s the million dollar question! And the definitive answer is: It depends. A facelift turns back time but doesn’t stop it. Everyone ages at a different rate, and lifestyle, genetics, and environment all play a role in how long the results of a facelift will last. Patients who lead a healthy lifestyle should expect the results of a facelift to last many years—as many as 8-10 years for a full facelift. And any “new” aging to your face will still be on your younger, fresher face…so you haven’t stopped time, but you’ve seriously slowed it down!