Aging of your face and neck is inevitable with the passage of time. The facial skin loosens, the jawline softens, creases deepen, cheeks flatten, and jowls form. The speed and severity of this aging process are determined in part by genetics, sun exposure, smoking, and lifestyle.
Facelift procedures reposition the soft tissues and recontour the skin of your face to produce a refreshed, more youthful appearance. In most patients, a neck lift is performed with a facelift procedure to give a harmonious, rejuvenated look. There are many types of facelift procedures, including the mini-lift, lower facelift, S-lift, SMAS lift, MACS lift, mid-facelift, and the deep plane lift. Dr. Chung is an expert in all types of lifting procedures and will tailor the procedure to fit your individual desires and needs. Dr. Chung is well known for her technical skills, artistic eye, and NATURAL appearing results. Patients from as far away as California have flown to Boston to have their facelifts performed by Dr. Chung, as they have seen her natural-looking results and want to avoid looking “done.” Let Dr. Chung show you the virtues of the facelift.
Am I a good candidate for a facelift procedure?
If you wish to shed the sagging skin along your jawline and mid-face and are in good health, you may benefit from a facelift procedure. There is no “correct” age for facelift procedures, though most facelift procedures are performed in men and women between the ages of 40 and 70 years. Ultimately, the timing depends on your skin type, hereditary traits, bone structure, and lifestyle choices, such as smoking and sun tanning. While younger patients may benefit from a one-hour mini-lift in the office, older patients may benefit from a more comprehensive procedure. Although Dr. Chung has performed primary facelifts in patients as old as 80 years, she does not recommend that you wait too long, as the more advanced aging requires more extensive work and may limit the final outcome.
Ultimately, your wishes are important to Dr. Chung, who tailors her surgical techniques to your goals and desires. A facelift cannot stop aging, nor can it turn back the clock. What it can do is help your face look its best, giving you a healthy, more youthful appearance.
What happens during my initial consultation for a facelift?
During the initial consultation, Dr. Chung will identify your concerns and take a thorough medical history to assess for conditions such as hypertension, cardiac issues, diabetes, and smoking. For all initial consultations, Dr. Chung asks that you bring in pictures of yourself from various stages of your adult life. This serves as a roadmap for Dr. Chung to assess the changes that have happened to your face, allowing her to better understand your individual traits and discuss realistic expectations. During the physical exam, Dr. Chung will evaluate the quality and elasticity of your skin, the presence or absence of fat in the face, and the integrity of your bone structure. (Most patients don’t realize that the facial bones also age. Without an adequate bony foundation, the skin and soft tissues don’t have a solid framework on which to settle.) During the initial consultation, Dr. Chung may also recommend a chin implant to improve the appearance of the jawline, neck, and jowls. Skin type, ethnic background, degree of skin elasticity, as well as individual healing and realistic attitude are discussed during the consultation.
Depending on the appearance of other parts of the face, such as the eyes and skin, Dr. Chung may also recommend additional procedures such as a neck lift, eye lift, or a skin resurfacing procedure. She will perform a comprehensive evaluation, discuss options with you, and make recommendations. Ultimately, the decision regarding which procedure will provide you with the best results will be made after careful evaluation and discussion, carefully considering your goals and personal preferences.
What happens during my facelift procedure?
Where your facelift procedure will take place depends on your health, the type of facelift planned, and your preference. Mini-lifts are routinely performed in the Wellesley office under local anesthesia, whereas multiple combination procedures –such as a full facelift, neck lift, brow lift, and eye lift– are performed in the hospital on an outpatient basis. Most patients chose to go home after surgery, but some patients opt to stay overnight in the hospital. Dr. Chung also offers concierge services; her office is able to arrange hotel reservations, arrange for private nursing care, and plan for a personal post-operative appointment at your home/hotel. Dr. Chung also has an arrangement with Canyon Ranch in Lenox, Massachusetts, where patients may stay and recover for a week.
Before the procedure, Dr. Chung reviews your preoperative photos with you as well as the surgical plan. The conventional incision is made within the hairline at the temple and extends around the contours of the ear, around the earlobe, into the hairline behind the ear. The length and position of the incision will depend in part upon the type of facelift performed. All incisions are strategically placed within natural creases, making them barely visible once healed. After the skin incision, Dr. Chung separates the skin from the underlying fat and muscle and repositions the sagging deep tissues of the face to create a more youthful appearance. Excess skin and fat will be removed. All incisions are closed meticulously with fine stitches. Your head will be wrapped with a large dressing. Dr. Chung will be change your dressing in 1-2 days in the office.
As with all facial plastic surgery, good health and realistic expectations are prerequisites. There is no ideal facelift. Rather, the goal is to improve the overall appearance of your unique and singular face. Skin type, ethnic background, skin elasticity, individual healing, basic bone structure, as well as a positive attitude are factors that should be discussed prior to surgery.
You may also benefit from other procedures –such as eye lift or neck lift— at the same time as your facelift for a harmonious facial rejuvenation. Skin resurfacing procedures, such as a chemical peel or fractional laser treatment are also commonly performed at same time to improve the skin tone and texture. Volume augmentation procedures such as microfat injections further enhance the results of a facelift in those patients with facial volume loss.
What is the recovery like?
Immediately after surgery, there will be some swelling and bruising. This will get a little worse over the next 2 days before it gets better. You will apply ice to your face for 48 hours. After 48 hours, you may remove your head dressing, take a shower, and wash your hair. Most patients do not require any pain medications after a few days. You will clean your incisions with hydrogen peroxide and apply antibiotic ointment to the suture lines. The stitches are removed in 5-7 days after surgery. Once the stitches are removed, you may use makeup but need to be careful when removing the makeup so as not to pull on the incision line. Most patients return to work and social activities 1-2 weeks after surgery, depending upon the type of facelift performed as well any other additional procedures. Exercise may slowly be resumed a week after surgery.
What will I look like?
The majority of the swelling and bruising will be gone in 1 -2 weeks, and there will be continued improvement for several months. The incision will also be slightly pink for a few months, but will fade and ultimately become barely visible. Most people will not even know you’ve had facial surgery! You will have a wonderful refreshed quality, and those around you will comment that you look “rested” and “rejuvenated,” but will not be able to place their finger on the cause. With a facelift procedure, you will experience firsthand how an improved look will inspire an improved outlook.
“The face is the soul of the body.”