Dr. Scott Thompson, facelift specialist in Utah, discusses his facelift technique at a recent Utah Facial Plastics seminar.
Facelift surgery is what we talk about for the soft tissue decent and what we’re going to talk about first. Facelifts have become a lot more popular in the last few decades and that’s because the techniques for lifting the face have improved a lot. I sometimes meet with hair stylists and hair dressers in my office and they tell me about scars that they’ve seen from people who have had facelifts, a shifted hairline and lots of other things that are kind of telltale signs of facelifts, or a pulled look, which is what people come to my office and tell me their biggest fear is that they’re going to look like they had a facelift. Fortunately, a lot of our techniques have evolved so that if they’re done properly, it’s really hard to tell if someone had surgery. They just look good and they look youthful.
All of these types of facial surgeries are increasing and I think it’s mainly because the techniques have improved so much. The other thing is that people are living longer, they’re staying healthy and they’re staying in the workforce longer. I have people who come to my office who say they just need to look good for their job or I’m applying for a job and need to look as good as I can.
So how is a facelift procedure performed? The idea is that we want again to make it look like nothing was done and try to make the incisions in inconspicuous areas. Sometimes the incision goes up into the hairline, sometimes it goes just below the hair line just depending on what the specific patient need is. I won’t go into details but there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to facelifts and it’s really important that we understand that every face is different and every face has to be handled different.
The most important part of a good facelift is that it’s a muscle lift. If you see someone that looks like they had a facelift it’s usually because too much tension was placed on the skin. The skin isn’t supposed to be tight. It’s supposed to be soft and loose, not so loose that it’s sagging but it’s not supposed to be tight and that’s why it looks sometimes like someone has had a facelift. If you address the deep underlying muscles then you don’t have to close the skin under any tension. You can just redrape the skin and cut off the excess.
When we do this we can achieve significant improvement, even with a heavy neck like this. We can usually take care of that lack of jawline or loss of definition of the jawline as well as lift the midface, the cheek, the nasolabial fold. The incision really is tough to see.
Facelift recovery time is about 3 weeks on average. We get all the sutures out by day 10. It will initially look kind of pulled, unnatural and tight.
There is not a correct or right age to have a facelift. If someone has aging features early on, we may decide on a facelift after some discussion and evaluation. When we lift the face as a unit it just kind of turns the clock back, it doesn’t make you look like you had something done.
A facelift is also really good for crepey neck skin. It doesn’t change the character of the skin, you can do a laser for that, but it does help get rid of some of the extra skin. I do a lot of facelifts for men too. They are a little more difficult to do.
I often do fat grafting with my facelifts. If you can combine lifting with volumization then you can really get an amazing improvement and