When it comes to the facelift procedure, many people have misconceptions about how the process actually works. Most people think that the majority of the changes made during facelift surgery have to do with the skin, but the process involves much more fundamental changes as well, which is what gives the facelift long-lasting and natural-looking results. In addition, the facelift procedure is so customizable, that it’s hard to categorize exactly what happens for each surgery. To really understand what a facelift does, however, we need to look deeper—beneath the surface of the facial skin. Here are some of the processes that take place during a facelift.
The Role of the SMAS
The superficial muscular aponeurotic system (SMAS) is one of the most important factors in any facelift procedure. The musculature of the face is affected by gravity and time, and contributes heavily to the overall appearance of the face. No matter how in-depth the facelift procedure may be, the SMAS layer is lifted and tightened at least to some degree.
As we age, we start to lose volume and facial fat in the face, which, along with collagen loss can make the skin sag and the face look gaunt and aged. During a facelift, facial fat can be repositioned and removed as needed to create a smoother and refreshed appearance.
As skin loses elasticity and begins to sag, skin tightening during a facelift procedure is a necessary part of the procedure. However, the amount of tightening is usually subtle, to avoid an unnatural look and over-tightening of the face. This is the last, most superficial step in the procedure.
A Limited Approach
Today, facelift procedures are some of the most custom plastic surgeries available, and the idea is to tailor a procedure that will be maximally effective and minimally invasive. A limited incision facelift uses smaller incisions located near the ear to reduce recovery time and scarring. For patients that need more intensive procedures, additional incisions under the chin and/or at the hairline may be used to tighten these areas. Because of this flexibility, modern facelift procedures are much safer and gentler than traditional methods.
Recovery & Results
The great news about the gentle approach to facelifts is that recovery time is minimal for the amount of improvement that can be achieved. Patients can be back to many normal activities within 10-14 days after surgery, and nearly back to normal within three weeks. Some residual swelling will take several months to resolve, but the initial healing process is relatively quick, especially when compared to older facelift techniques that were more invasive. Results should look very natural and can last for years—sometimes as long as a decade or more. While it’s not possible to stop the clock entirely, it is possible to slow down the progression of aging significantly and regain a youthful appearance.
A Surgeon with Your Best Interests in Mind
When it comes to plastic surgery, you can’t just choose the first surgeon you find on an internet search. Finding the right surgeon involves lots of research as well as in-person consultations. You will want to find a provider who not only has the skill and knowledge required to give you great results, but a surgeon with your best interests in mind—a surgeon who will customize your procedure and ensure you are getting the results you want for the least amount of recovery required.
Come to meet Dr. Edward Buckingham who is a board certified plastic surgeon that works to give patients beautiful, natural results using gentle techniques. Dr. Buckingham offers patients the limited incision facelift as well as many other surgical and minimally-invasive procedures to suit every need. To learn more about facial rejuvenation with Dr. Buckingham, call Buckingham Center at (512) 401-2500, in Austin to schedule a consultation.