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Summary: Many men and women who come to my practice in search of a treatment for facial aging ask me if they should schedule a traditional facelift. Facelifts are the most well known facial cosmetic surgery for restoring a younger look, as they allow for the lifting of soft facial tissue before smoothing the skin taut to eliminate wrinkles and tighten sagging skin. However, a traditional facelift is not for everyone. In my practice, I find that many patients would benefit from a more comprehensive approach to facial rejuvenation.

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The Problem with Just Skin Tightening

Skin tightening is often thought of as a panacea for all effects of age. However, skin tightening alone is actually a rather limited method of cosmetic rejuvenation. The reason for its limitations involves the superficial muscular aponeurotic system (SMAS), the layer of connective tissue and muscle that lies directly underneath the facial skin.

The SMAS provides a foundation for the skin to rest on, and as we age and begin to lose some of the fatty tissue that provides plumpness and volume to the lower face in our youth, the SMAS thins out. This is what causes the sunken appearance under the eyes, sagging in the jowls and the loss of a defined neckline. While pulling the skin taut over these areas during a facelift can help correct these issues, skin tightening can’t restore the lost volume that also contributes to an aged look.

The Benefits of Non-Surgical Procedures

On the other hand, when combined with effective and nonsurgical wrinkle reducers, a facelift can provide the right amount of skin tightening on top of a restored facial structure to take years off your appearance and bring a healthy, refreshed look to your face.

  • Many of my patients inquire about the “liquid facelift.” The liquid facelift is actually a combination of BOTOX® Cosmetic and injectable fillers customized for your specific needs. BOTOX® acts as a muscle relaxant and can be an effective treatment for dynamic wrinkles, the lines on our foreheads, around the eyes and between the eyebrows that are caused by repeated muscle movements. Injectable fillers, on the other hand, restore volume to areas of the face where the fatty tissue has thinned out and the skin has taken on a sunken look. Both BOTOX® and injectable fillers can be performed on their own to treat mild to moderate aging, or in combination with a traditional facelift for more advanced aging.
  • Chemical peels enhance the skin’s surface by gently shedding the top layer to reveal new and smoother skin underneath. Peels are also customized for each patient’s needs, and can correct irregular texture, scarring and uneven skin pigmentation, all qualities characteristic of aging skin. Chemical peels can be excellent supplements to a facelift by improving the skin’s surface rather than focusing primarily on skin placement.
  • Ultherapy® is the only FDA-approved non-invasive skin tightening technique that can deliver results comparable to those of a surgical facelift. Ultherapy® uses the skin’s natural healing process to tighten and tone the skin. By focusing ultrasound energy on the SMAS layer beneath the skin, Ultherapy® stimulates the production of collagen, which works to lift, tighten and rejuvenate the skin and its underlying muscle layer. Ultherapy® can be performed alone for mild to moderate signs of aging. In addition, many of my facelift patients find that an Ultherapy® treatment a few years after getting their facelift can extend and improve upon their long-term results.

The key to facial rejuvenation isn’t always a facelift. Instead, focus on finding the treatments that work best for you.

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