Summary: Achieving your weight loss goals is laudable. In many cases, such an achievement takes dedication—to diet and exercise. But it may also take surgery. In either case (and neither way is better than the other), you may be left with a significant amount of redundant skin after your weight loss. This is because the skin simply doesn’t snap back as efficiently as it did when you were young. We’re used to thinking about this excess tissue in the abdomen area, new research is suggesting plastic surgeons should start thinking about excess tissue around the face. Indeed, a facelift in this area because of weight loss presents unique challenges.
The Goals of Weight Loss and Surgery
We talk a lot about weight loss on this blog. Frankly, weight loss is has a lot in common with plastic surgery. Often, plastic surgery can be a solution for subtle weight loss that might be desired, in the form of liposuction. Likewise, plastic surgery can be a solution for those who have already lost weight but who are now coping with a significant amount of excess skin and other tissues. This can be a frustrating situation, because anybody that has lost a significant amount of weight can attest to how difficult an ordeal it can be. To have a significant amount of excess weight can leave you feeling as though the journey isn’t quite complete, as though victory is not yet assured. The solution to such excess tissue is generally a body contouring procedure, such as a lower body lift or even a tummy tuck.
However, when we think of body contouring, we usually don’t think about the face. At least, we don’t think about it until we’re confronted with the necessity of surgery. Indeed, after a massive weight loss procedure, the face becomes a popular area on which to perform surgery, because the redundant tissues there are not easily hidden by clothing. A little excess tissue in the stomach or abdomen or around the hips can be hidden with loose clothing (at least temporarily). The excess tissue in the face, however, cannot be so easily camouflaged. But a facelift isn’t necessarily always a viable option either, as facelifts after a bariatric surgery or other massive weight loss procedures tend to come with several complications.
Special Considerations for Your Facelift
Maybe complications isn’t the right word. According to a study released in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, it might be more accurate to say that facelifts after massive weight loss imply require a slightly different technique. According to the study, performed by Dr. Kailash Narasimhan with help from colleagues at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, the face after weight loss developed a significant amount of excess tissue—tissue that can droop around the cheeks or develop into a “turkey neck.” The result is something that many patients find unflattering and, therefore, unsightly.
According to the research, most patients who had experienced a massive weight loss exhibited loss of volume around the mouth and in the mid-face area, and exhibited excess tissue around the neck and jowls (especially in the cheeks). This is different from the usual dynamic of most facelift patients who come in because they are older and want to look more youthful (thought the researchers were sure to note that the two skins were not dissimilar: there were in both cases a lot of underlying fat and thinner skin). In order to achieve best results, Narasimhan and his team recommend a few changes to the typical procedure.
A More Youthful, Leaner Face
First and foremost, surgeons should not be afraid of a little fat augmentation, especially for those areas that have seen a decrease in volume. Surgeons were also encouraged to pay special attention to tightening around the jaw line and to any underlying issues in the face, such as muscle issues. Whiles these facelifts performed by Narasimhan and his team were largely successful, many patients also had supplementary procedures, such as blepharoplasty and forehead lifts. This makes a lot of sense, as those areas of the face may be facing significantly different pressures after a massive weight loss than, say the jawline and neck.
If you’re looking for such special treatment, it’s not a bad idea to seek out a specialist. From Seattle to Hoboken New Jersey facelift experts abound—but you should be sure you select one who is qualified and practiced in the particular type of facelift procedure you’re looking for. Indeed, facelifts can be a particularly troubling procedure if the results are not as you were expecting them. You look at your face every single day—and so do other people. A facelift surgery that leaves you feeling askew about your features can be damaging and troubling. So do some research and make sure that your preferred surgeon is comfortable with post-massive weight loss facelifts. Indeed, this is something you should be able to ask during any initial consultation.
Completing Your Journey
Body contouring surgery, including a facelift, can mean for many patients the end of a very long journey. Achieving your massive weight loss goals can be a challenge—to say the least. And, in a way, it’s a shame that at the end of all that work, you might have to undergo surgery in order to achieve your desired results. At the same time, it’s empowering to think that there isn’t much to stop you from having the body you want. You can start now.