There were two recent studies in the journal, “Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery,” which judged the results of patients who had undergone a face lift. These patients were asked, “How much younger did your facelift make you look?” The answer given by the patients in both studies was about 12 years. In one study 83% of patients reported an improvement in their self-esteem and 70% reported an improvement in their quality of life. Of note was that other procedures were done at the same time as the facelift such as eyelid surgery and forehead lifts, laser skin resurfacing, and fat injection.
Instead of just 12 years, why can’t a facelift (combined with other facial procedures) make you look 20 years younger? My answer is that further improvement is often possible with additional procedures such as fat grafting, but many patients are not looking for such a dramatic change. They want to look the way they looked in more recent years, not two decades earlier! Others find that the cost for these additional procedures is too great or that they involve too much recovery.
One final question is whether or not everyone can look younger with a facelift? The answer is, “No,” since many patients do not have the loose skin or sagging fat/muscles that a facelift corrects. Younger patients often find that injectables such as Juvederm or Botox provide the filling or wrinkle reduction that they desire and with a shorter recovery. Often times I will see older patients who want to get away with fillers or Botox alone. Many times I tell them that their result won’t measure up to their expectations or that the cost for all the fillers that are needed is prohibitive.
Visit a board-certified plastic surgeon for more details.
George Sanders, MD