Surgical vs. Nonsurgical Facial Rejuvenation–When is the Facelift Best Option?

Narasimhan Plastic Surgery

From dermal fillers to facelift surgery, a variety of nonsurgical and surgical procedures are available to address the signs of aging. Curious whether a nonsurgical treatment will create the results they want or whether they’ll need a facelift, many St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and Tampa men and women come to me with questions.

Some of the most common questions I hear as a board-certified plastic surgeon are:

  • When is surgery a better option than injectables?
  • How do I know what option is right for me?
  • Will the results look natural?
  • When will I be presentable in public?

Let’s break these items down…

What is the best non-surgical treatment for aging skin?

Patients interested in going the nonsurgical route typically have been using fillers and BOTOX® Cosmetic treatments for years or are simply too afraid to have surgery. BOTOX has come a long way in reversing some aspects of facial aging in the forehead, eyes, and even some areas of the lower face and neck. Dermal fillers such as JUVÉDERM® and Restylane® smooth wrinkles in the laugh lines, mouth, smoker’s lines, and under eyes. JUVÉDERM Voluma and Restylane Lyft also add volume to the cheek area, which deflates with age and time.

However, while these products have a special place in facial rejuvenation, a combined facelift and neck lift procedure may be a better choice when patients develop:

  • Jowls or fullness of fat and skin along the jawline
  • Skin laxity and looseness in the neck and face
  • Heavy nasolabial folds (laugh lines)
  • Loss of volume or deflation in the cheek area
  • Poorer quality skin tone

Illustration demonstrating facial aging

(above) image showing sequential facial aging

facelift patient before photo oblique view

(above) pre-operative facial rejuvenation patient

For the patients with the above characteristics, injectables will not be as effective or long-lasting as surgical tightening. Facelift surgery effectively smooths the skin, lifts the cheek, tightens the jowls and the neck area. Read more about what a facelift can and can’t do in our related blog post.

Will I look like myself after facelift surgery?

I believe in creating a natural and refreshed look that is not overdone or over-pulled. The term “facelift” has gotten a bad rap in our society, but my technique uses the SMAS (or superficial muscle layer) to tighten the face and neck, creating longer-lasting and natural-looking results. I stay abreast of the newest techniques which can reverse facial aging without over-pulling the skin.

Below you can see some before and after pictures of facelift patients (Before on left and After on right side, with frontal, oblique, and lateral views)

facelift patient before photo front view facelift patient after photo front view

facelift patient before photo oblique viewfacelift patient after photo oblique view

facelift patient before photo profile viewfacelift patient after photo profile view

Rhinoplasty patient before photo before rhinoplasty patient after photo front view

rhinoplasty patient before photo obliquerhinoplasty patient after photo oblique

facelift patient before photo profile viewfacelift patient after photo profile view

How long after facelift will I look normal?

Patients also ask when they will look healed enough to be able to be seen in public after a facelift procedure. Generally, within a week or 2 patients can apply makeup over their incisions and cover mild bruising. We have had patients feel perfectly comfortable going out in public within a week after surgery. While the incisions are red, they are easily concealed with hair and light makeup. The total swelling resolves after several months.

Take a look at my photo gallery to see some of my patients’ facelift before and after pictures to get an idea of the type of results that are possible.

I am board certified in plastic surgery and otolaryngology (head and neck surgery) and have written extensively on facelift procedures.  My publications have been seen by colleagues and surgeons worldwide in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the top journal in the specialty, including Long-Term Results in Face Lifting, Five-Step Neck Lift Integrating Anatomy With Clinical Practice to Optimize Results, and Face Lifting In the Massive Weight Loss Patient.

If you’re looking for the best plastic surgeons in St. Petersburg, Fl, I’m happy to talk with you about your specific options during a consultation. You can use our online contact form to request a consultation or call us at (727)289-7119 to schedule an appointment.

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