Facelift

Darren M. Smith, MD -  - Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Darren M. Smith, MD

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon located in Upper East Side, New York, NY

As we age, our facial skin and supporting structures lose their elasticity and we start to see the effects of gravity and stress through descending and deflating tissues the give the appearance of saggy cheeks, deep wrinkles, jowls, and other telltale signs of aging. A facelift is a very effective way to restore a more youthful appearance. As one of the only surgeons in the country to have completed an aesthetic surgery fellowship and a craniofacial surgery fellowship, board certified plastic surgeon Darren M. Smith, MD is uniquely well-suited to provide his patients in New York City with impressive facelift results that reverse the visible signs of aging. To schedule your visit with Dr. Smith today, call the office or book online.

Facelift

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What is a facelift?

A facelift is a cosmetic surgical procedure designed to give the face a more youthful appearance. With a facelift, Dr. Smith can reduce the deep wrinkles, folds, and saggy skin that occur over time on your face. The goal is to achieve a natural result, and to make you look like a refreshed version of yourself.

Why would I want a facelift?

The facelift is designed to achieve global facial rejuvenation. The youthful face generally has an oval or heart-shaped contour. With age, the facial tissues lose volume and descend on the underlying facial skeleton. The youthful heart-shaped or oval facial contour gives way to a rectangular or triangular facial contour that evokes an aged appearance. Maximal volume loss and descent is apparent in the cheeks and around the mouth. The exact pattern of aging varies with the individual, so the exact facelift technique performed will be chosen on a patient-by-patient basis as well. The majority of patients receiving a facelift are in their fifties and sixties. However, everyone ages in a unique pattern that follows an individual pace. Therefore, plenty of people opt for a facelift before or after this age interval. If you are dissatisfied with the appearance of your face, it can be helpful to meet with us to discuss a facelift and other options for facial rejuvenation. In addition to redistributing facial volume to restore more youthful proportions, the following facial characteristics can be improved with a facelift:

  • Sagging appearance of your cheeks
  • Excess skin around your lower jawline
  • Deep wrinkles between the sides of your nose to the corners of your mouth

It is also important to note that facelifts do not help with sun damage or fine wrinkles. However, there are other procedures such as chemical peels and laser treatments that can be combined with facelifts to help with these issues. Dr. Smith can discuss them with you at your consultation.

How do I prepare for a facelift?

Dr. Smith first has a consultation with you to explain the process and thoroughly answer any questions that you may have. During your visit, you can expect to:

  • Discuss your medical history and review current medications
  • Discuss concerns about having surgery
  • Discuss expectations about what a facelift will and won’t do
  • Have a physical exam to ensure you’re in good health for surgery

To determine the details of the surgical procedure, Dr. Smith performs a facial exam to review:

  • Bone structure
  • Facial shape
  • Fat distribution
  • Skin quality
  • Muscle anatomy
  • Other factors

Before the day of your facelift, you will be asked to follow medication or supplement directions, wash your face and hair, avoid eating, and arrange for post-surgery care.

What are the steps of the procedure?

The goal of a facelift is to re-suspend the facial soft tissues to combat the effects of aging and time. The key to achieving a natural result is to reposition the deep foundational tissues of the face and gently re-drape the overlying skin without tension. A facelift that relies on skin tension will look unnatural and have short-lived results. To allow access to these deeper facial tissues, Dr. Smith hides an incision in the crease in front of the ear. This then curves below the earlobe and back into the hair-bearing scalp. This incision pattern heals in a manner that is very inconspicuous. From here, Dr. Smith can access the deep tissues of the face. These are repositioned as necessary to restore a youthful facial contour. The skin is then re-draped without tension over the newly sculpted foundational tissues. The excess skin is removed, and a meticulous closure is performed. Dr. Smith can perform a facelift under general anesthesia (the patient is completely asleep) or “twilight” anesthesia (the patient is awake and breathing on their own but not aware of their surroundings).

In total, the procedure typically takes around two to four hours.

What is the follow-up care?

After surgery, you will have a small drain placed behind each ear and be in a soft dressing with cool packs to minimize swelling and bruising. A special trained nurse will escort you home (if you live in Manhattan) or to your nearby hotel. The nurse will stay with you until the morning after surgery (or longer if you desire) to keep you comfortable and help us monitor your recovery. On the morning after surgery, the nurse will remove your dressings and take out your drains. Over the next 4-7 days, a great deal of your swelling and bruising will resolve. Most patients feel comfortable returning to public life with some makeup at this point. You will feel swollen and a little sore, but this also improves rapidly during the first week.  The first week of your recovery should be spent taking short walks and with otherwise minimal exertion. During the second week, you can gradually increase your activity level. After two weeks, you will be ready to return to a standard desk job. By 3-4 weeks, you will be released to resume your full preoperative activity level.

What results can I expect from a facelift?

As a board certified plastic surgeon with advanced training in craniofacial surgery and aesthetic surgery, Dr. Darren Smith prides himself on providing a special kind of facelift. He will take his time with you during your consultation and preoperative appointments to understand your aesthetic goals, and to apply his anatomical and surgical expertise to custom design a surgical procedure to achieve your goals. In general, after a facelift from Dr. Smith you will look like a refreshed, rejuvenated, and invigorated version of yourself.

To explore having a facelift, call the office of Dr. Darren M. Smith, MD, today or book an appointment online.