Utah facelift surgeon, Dr. Scott Thompson, discusses his facelift technique and what patients can expect from surgery.
“There are three main things that happen as we age. The first is that gravity takes effect and the face starts to migrate downward. The second thing is that our face deflates to some extent. It’s not just the face following but it’s also volume loss. And third is the skin itself, the texture of the skin changes and we start to form lines and wrinkles and we get spots and different things like that on our skin.
So anything that is restoring from an aging standpoint needs to address those things and think about those things. Today we’re talking about the facelift and the facelift is primarily to address the gravity changes that happen with the aging process. The approach that I like to take is a comprehensive approach that manages the mid-face/cheek area, & lower face area – which is the jowl and neck. Anything that doesn’t address all three of those areas runs the risk of not really looking quite as natural because you’re just fixing one area.
If you’ve ever seen bad facelift scars they tend to be spread and stretched and really visible and that’s because the skin was closed under tension. My approach is a deep-plane lift and then no tension on the skin closure. In terms of incisions for a facelift, if we’re talking about a more comprehensive facelift, the incision needs to go around this hairline here, behind this cartilage here to hide it, behind the ear, and into the hairline. Many facelifts tout a short incision that ends at the earlobe, and that’s great if you are really only trying to address the jowl, but if the neck is an issue the extended incision is important. It heals very well and is difficult to see.
This extended full facelift we’re talking about doesn’t really have a defined age range. It could be performed on someone as young as their early 40’s or someone in their 80’s. It really depends on the individual, the way they are aging, and also the approach they want to take to the aging process. It’s really most important that you just come in and have a visit, have a consultation, and I can evaluate your face specifically and also what your goals are and we can usually make a good decision from there.
I feel very strongly that any cosmetic or plastic surgery should not be something that is immediately apparent. The person should not look like they had surgery, they should look like themselves. I’ve had a lot of people come in and tell me, wow, I didn’t expect it was going to be this good. I didn’t expect it to be this dramatic but I still look like myself, I look like the person I used to look like. I think it’s really important that the surgeon is really able to help guide the patient in the right direction. Maybe they don’t need anything at all. It’s a balance of me listening to what the patient is concerned by, but also providing some kind of professional guidance in terms of what may actually not be a good thing to do. So this surgery is not just about the way that people perceive you but it’s about the way you perceive yourself. I think facelift surgery is one of those surgeries that can really make a dramatic difference in your overall self perception and also the way that people see you.
In general, we’re just trying to make that person be the best self they can be and maximize their good qualities and their features.”