Dr. Thompson enjoys his work as a facial plastic surgeon immensely and is acutely aware that facial appearance can significantly impact interactions with others, individual self confidence, and overall quality of life. As our society has gained further understanding of the importance of personal health, diet, and fitness, the benefit has been an ever-increasing population that, although continuing to age, continues to participate and contribute in all areas of life. However, because appearance is inextricably linked with both the way we perceive ourselves and the way others perceive us, a perfectly healthy, pleasant individual can be judged as “tired,” “angry” or “old” by those with whom they interact.
Dr. Thompson finds great satisfaction when speaking with patients after a surgical procedure and hearing statements such as “People keep telling me how great I look, but they can’t figure out what is different” or “I interact with the public in my work and I’m treated so differently by strangers now that they don’t think I’m angry anymore.”
The procedures below are performed frequently by Dr. Thompson to help patients achieve their aesthetic goals and restore their facial features. It’s best to meet with Dr. Thompson to determine which procedure(s) is right for you.
Underlying skeletal structure, including a strong jaw line, contributes greatly to overall facial harmony and aesthetic balance. A receding chin can make a well proportioned nose seem overly large and can also blur the distinction between chin and neck. When a receding chin results from dental malocclusion, consultation with an oral surgeon may be necessary. However, generally speaking, a weak chin can be effectively and relatively simply augmented with an implant intended to give better definition to the chin and jaw line.
Chin implants come in various sizes and shapes individually suited to each patient’s unique situation. For example, some are designed to be used as an adjunct to facelift surgery in order to achieve optimal correction of jowling. Others are recommended concurrently with rhinoplasty with the goal of achieving improved balance between the nose and face. Still others are placed in combination with submental liposuction to improve chin / neck distinction. During the consultation, these relationships will be discussed, and Dr. Thompson will make a recommendation based on these factors and each patient’s individual concerns and desires.
Eyelid Lift (Blepharoplasty)
With age, drooping of the eyebrows, looseness of the eyelid skin, and bulging fat cause loss of definition of the upper eyelids and bulging of the lower lids. Because the natural position of the brows and fullness of the eyelids varies among individuals, aging changes manifest themselves dramatically in some and much less so in others. The result in affected individuals is a tired, sad, or even angry appearance or an apparent decrease in the size of the eye. In an aesthetically pleasing face, the eyes are open and are the focal point of the face.
Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) is designed to restore the eyes as the natural focal point of the face by reversing age associated changes. Before proceeding with blepharoplasty, it is essential to undergo a comprehensive evaluation by a facial plastic surgeon. Many patients present requesting eyelid surgery when in actuality a sagging brow or midface may be the source of their concern and Dr. Thompson will be able to assess what is needed at an initial consultation.
Dr. Thompson sees a considerable amount of patients regarding facial rejuvenation of the lower face area and the amount of facelift surgeries he performs each year is far above the national average. When patients visit him for their intial consultation, they often report deep frustration in the looseness of their jowls, lower face and neck. Aging is inevitable, and overtime the jawline softens into the jowls, the folds around the mouth deepen, and the neck loosens and begins to sag.
Heredity, personal habits, the pull of gravity, and sun exposure contribute to the aging of the face. Unfortunately, effects of these catalysts set in far before the inside feelings and symptoms of aging occur, which is why patients often report a deep desire to just look as young as they feel inside. Diet, exercise and healthy living keep us feeling good but it often requires surgery to restore outside features to reflect how one feels on the inside.
Fat grafting, also known as fan transfer or fat injections, is a procedure used in plastic surgery to enhance a specific area of the body using the patient’s own fat. As a facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Thompson uses this procedure, typically in conjunction with a facelift, to restore lost facial volume utilizing fat tissues from the abdomen, thighs or back.
In more recent years, we have learned that aging is not just skin deep. Overtime, volume is lost in the face resulting in a sunken or gaunt appearance. By adding volume to the face with fat grafting, fullness is restored leaving patients looking more youthful and refreshed. There is also some evidence to suggest that fat grafting may actually improve the quality of the overlying skin.
As middle age approaches, age related changes begin to appear in the brow and forehead. Repeated movement of facial muscles causes furrows to develop between the brows and horizontal lines to form on the forehead. Additionally, the long-term effects of gravity manifest as drooping eyebrows and a heavy, tired, or angry appearance around the eyes.
Botox® is an excellent treatment for the horizontal forehead and vertical frown lines. A more permanent solution to address both the lines as well as the drooping brow is a forehead lift (also called a brow lift). A forehead lift can restore the brows to a more youthful position, decrease excess upper lid skin slightly, and soften frown lines.
Many men and women have elongated foreheads that can make them self-conscious to the degree that they won’t wear their hair up or get a shorter haircut. Overly high foreheads can give the face an unbalanced appearance, and it can make you look older than your true age. To correct this condition, we perform forehead reduction surgery at Utah Facial Plastics.
Also referred to as hairline lowering surgery, forehead reduction surgery reduces the height of the patient’s forehead by removing excess skin and bringing the forehead down to a more natural level. This surgery can lower the hairline up to 2 inches. The exact amount of modification possible is determined by the laxity of the patient’s scalp, the hairline height, and personal preference.
As we age, the lips not only lose fullness but the area between the upper lip and nostrils can lengthen due to lack of structural support. In other cases, a person may naturally have a long upper lip even during their youth. When this happens, the “red lip” area that is central to a youthful and feminine mouth becomes small, thin, and less visible overall. The upper teeth often are not visible at rest. The result of these changes is a more aged appearance to the perioral area. Fillers and other methods of volumization of the red lips partially improve this situation, but if the “white lip” is elongated, no amount of filler will return the lips to their youthful and attractive appearance.
A lip lift procedure at Utah Facial Plastics involves permanent reduction of the length of the white lip. The end result is a more youthful and attractive perioral area with an aesthetic and appropriate balance between the lips and teeth. A lip lift is not a replacement for volumization with fillers such as Juvederm and Volbella, but rather in appropriate cases serves as an adjunctive procedure that serves to improve the effectiveness and end result of lip fillers. When performed by an experienced facial plastic surgeon, a lip lift can create subtle but significant improvements to overall facial aesthetics.
MACS Facelift (Mini Facelift)
Many patients who consult with Dr. Thompson are interested in facial rejuvenating options that can achieve significant and long lasting results without the risks, down time, and additional cost of anesthesia and a hospital stay. Unfortunately, many of the procedures advertised as minimally invasive (weekend lift, thread lift, etc) and minimal recovery also achieve minimal results and are often performed by individuals who have minimal training in facial surgery.
Because all surgical procedures are by definition invasive and require at least some recovery time, Dr. Thompson feels strongly that a significant and long lasting result should accompany this requirement. Any facelift that doesn’t address the deeper tissues beneath the skin (also known as the SMAS) is unlikely to achieve a long lasting result. Dr. Thompson prefers a revolutionary new procedure called the “MACS lift” to achieve such long lasting and aesthetic results.
As middle age approaches, the effects of gravity start to become apparent as sagging in various areas of the face. In the region of the cheeks (referred to by physicians as “midface”), this sagging, combined with a gradual loss of facial volume, results in a hollow appearance below the eyes and deepening of the folds that extend upward from the corner of the mouth to the nose. When these changes are mild, significant improvement can be achieved by filling in the hollows and depressions with injectable fillers such as Restylane©. However, for more permanent and significant improvement, the mid-face lift is recommended.
The endoscopic mid-face lift is considered to be one of the most significant advances in the field of facial plastic surgery in recent years. Prior to the development of this procedure, surgeons had no reliable or consistent method of managing mid-facial descent. The safe and effective performance of this operation requires an expert knowledge of facial anatomy and advanced surgical training. Dr. Thompson performs this procedure endoscopically (small incisions using a camera), and completed his training in facial plastic surgery with one of the pioneers of mid-facial surgery.
For patients with early signs of midfacial and brow ptosis or sagging, a full endoscopic forehead and midface lift may not be necessary. For such patients, a moderate degree of lateral brow and midface elevation can be achieved with the temporal lift. To use popular jargon, the temporal lift could be aptly renamed “mini mid-face lift.” As with the forehead and midface lift, because a camera is used during the surgery, the incisions are small and hidden within the hair. Recovery is on the order of 7-10 days. Because of the many options available, navigating this decision process can be difficult. During the consultation, Dr. Thompson will perform a comprehensive analysis, and with the input of each patient, an appropriate recommendation will be made. Please visit the endoscopic forehead lift and mid-face lift pages to learn more about the surgical approach and treatable areas for these procedures.