Would you believe facelifts have been around longer than heart surgeries? A lot longer, since the early 1900s. Just as aging is nothing new, neither is the desire to slow or stop its effects. And while the idea of surgically changing a face may sound extreme to some, modern surgery has had decades to establish techniques that can give transformative, natural-looking results.
Over the last century, physicians have learned quite a bit about our faces and their underlying muscle and fat tissue. They’ve learned that each face is a unique work of art and each requires an individualized plan of care.
Take a moment and look at how facelifts have evolved, and you’ll realize the vast array of possibilities that will allow you to find the right treatments that meet your unique needs.
Facelifts – The First 70 years
The first facelift procedure is often mistakenly credited to Erich Luxor, who, instead, performed the first brow lift (more on this later). The surgeon to complete the first successful facelift was Eugene Hallander, who performed his procedure on a Polish aristocrat.
The first technique was relatively simple: make incisions one either said on the face above the ears, pull back the skin, and suture it into place. As a result, patients saw a modest tightening of their skin and the elimination of some wrinkles. However, because the procedure focused only on the skin and not its underlying tissue, some patients were left with an unnatural, wind-swept appearance.
1960s-70’s – The Advent of the SMAS Facelift
In the 1960s, doctors began to explore beneath the skin to develop a procedure that would create more pleasing, subtler results.
Around this time, Drs. Mitz and Peyronie published an anatomical description that detailed what they called the superficial musculoaponeurotic system, or SMAS. It revealed and described the fat and muscle layers that lie beneath the skin, paving the way to a more extensive and yet more natural-looking facelift.
In the 1960s, doctors began to trim the fat along the chin and jawline. In the ’70s, doctors went even more in-depth with methods to reposition the muscles that lie below the fat and skin.
The Modern Facelift
Today’s facelift is a highly customized procedure. It combines the traditional facelift with a kaleidoscope of options, developed over the last 30 years, to address each patient’s unique needs.
Beginning in the 1980s, doctors experimented with a variety of new treatments to eliminate wrinkles and improve facial features. Injectables like Botox, Juvederm, and Restylane were developed to fill in the skin instead of stretching it.
Additionally, several related procedures evolved, such as brow lifts, eyelid lifts, and lip lifts. These procedures can be performed with a facelift during the same surgery for a more comprehensive transformation.
There has also been a push for early intervention in the aging process. For example, the mini-facelift results in some of the same changes as the traditional facelift, but with smaller incisions and a less dramatic result. In some cases, younger patients can reap the benefits of a facelift through the “mini” approach without waiting until they’re older.
The Many Options of Facial Renewal
As you can see, the term facelift has blossomed over the years into a plethora of options. And because every face is a natural and unique work of art, patients can only benefit from the ability of their surgeon to fully customize their treatment plan.
Today we have a variety of procedures to celebrate and enhance the beauty of every face. Let’s take a look at them in detail.
Facelifts can be performed using the traditional or mini approach, determined by the extent of aging the patient is experiencing and their goals and preferences. Tried and true, these procedures aren’t going away. They can erase a decade from the face, giving our patients back their youthful looks and confidence. And although they entail up to four weeks of recovery time, patients who receive today’s facelifts tend to be extremely pleased with the results.
Brow Lift / Eyelid lift
Facelifts work well for patients needing rejuvenation from the cheeks down to the jawline. Other patients, however, can benefit from the tightening of the skin around the brow line and eyelids. Brow and eyelid lift surgeries accomplish this and typically entail less recovery time than a traditional facelift.
Fortunately, doctors have discovered multiple ways to fight wrinkles. Traditional lift surgeries require the pulling and suturing of the skin. This approach, however, may be extreme for patients who only desire moderate wrinkle reduction. With Botox in the forehead and Juvederm or Dysport around the mouth and lips, doctors can target specific trouble areas and fill them in with temporary injections. These popular procedures require little to no downtime and are usually quick to receive.
Laser and Chemical Peels
To treat even finer wrinkles and skin discolorations, plastic surgery patients are now opting for treatments that use their body’s own natural processes. By removing older, dying layers of skin, chemical peels, and laser treatments stimulate the body to produce fresh, healthy new skin and additional compounds like collagen that give the skin its youthful fullness. These treatments are usually performed in-office and typically require only a few days of recovery.
Microneedling and Abrasion
Another way doctors are now reviving skin is with a process known as micro-injuries. With microneedling, your doctor uses a device with several miniature needles that penetrate the skin’s outermost layers. Abrasion is a similar procedure that instead involves physical scraping of the outer layer of skin. As a result of either approach, the skin responds by repairing itself and looking fresher and younger.
As you can see, facelifts have come a long way from stretched skin to balanced and natural beauty. In the hands of a skilled, licensed plastic surgeon, this suite of procedures can turn back the clock and have you looking your best.
If you’re considering facial rejuvenation, your next step is to talk to an expert. The staff at Dr. Chris Livingston’s can help you determine what procedures are right for you. Contact their Houston office today at (281) 501-1812