Summary: Following significant weight loss, many men and women elect to undergo a series of body contouring procedures. The purpose of such procedures is to remove excess skin resulting from weight loss while sculpting and toning the body to better showcase weight loss achievements.
However, discussions about post-weight loss body contouring often center on abdominoplasty, lower body lifts and even breast enhancement rather than the face, which is no less impacted by weight loss. Maintaining healthy a facial appearance can be one of the most critical priorities after weight loss, as the face cannot be covered with clothes. In my practice, I often see patients who have undergone dramatic weight loss and are interested in how a facelift can benefit their post-weight loss appearance.
How Weight Loss Affects the Face
Men and women who have lost significant weight frequently find that the way their face looks prevents them from fully enjoying the success of their weight loss. Excessive skin folds can make the entire face look droopy, while skin laxity in the neck can create a ‘turkey neck.’ Weight loss can also cause a loss of volume around the mid to lower face, especially in the cheeks and around the mouth, contributing to a prematurely aged appearance.
The psychological effects of an undesirable post-weight loss facial appearance can be significant. Many men and women feel that post-weight loss facial characteristics prevent them from advancing in their personal and professional lives. Sagging jowls or a droopy face can make individuals appear older than they are, unhappy, tired or unhealthy, while excessive skin folds around the face and neck can detract from an overall reduction in weight throughout the rest of the body. For many, a facelift may be the only way to feel that their weight loss journey is complete.
The Post-Weight Loss Facelift
The post-weight loss facelift is inherently different from the traditional facelift used to address signs of facial aging. However, many of the characteristics of the post-weight loss face are similar to those of the aging face. For example, a decrease in skin thickness and a loss of facial volume are both typical symptoms of age as well as dramatic weight loss. Additionally, the underlying facial muscular structure is tightened and toned in both the post-weight loss facelift and the traditional facelift for aging patients.
The primary difference that I see between the post-weight loss facelift and the traditional facelift is that the former requires more extensive removal of excess skin. The removal of redundant skin can reveal the true facial contours that lie underneath excessive skin laxity.
Many of my post-weight loss patients also require a degree of fat augmentation in the face. This is because losing a dramatic amount of weight can detract from natural facial fatty deposits that help to create youthful and vibrant contours. Without this facial volume, the face can appear sunken or hollow. By restoring this lost volume, a facelift can create a healthy and youthful appearance by better bringing out those features.
The results of the post-weight loss facelift can be dramatic. After elevating the underlying facial musculature and tightening skin across the cheeks, neck and jaw, men and women often adopt a completely refreshed demeanor that showcases their weight loss success. For many, combining a facelift with other facial procedures, such as eyelid surgery or a brow lift, can provide an even more comprehensive rejuvenation. I often see a noticeable change in attitude and increase in positivity when my patients are able to bring out the best in their face.