Face Lift – EasyLift® (Rhytidectomy)
Why are some people afraid to have a face lift?
Because they have seen some bad face lifts, but haven’t noticed the good face lifts. This is unfortunate because today’s face lift is the very best way for many people to dramatically improve their appearance.
Good Face Lifts Are Invisible
Good face lifts are invisible. You don’t notice them because they look so natural. The natural, “couldn’t tell you had a face lift”, face lift is the goal for us. The result should be so natural, with no distortion or imperfections, that you simply look younger, slimmer, more athletic and attractive. How you got that way should be almost undetectable.
Misconceptions about face lifts are abundant. The rare “bad” face lift may have scars, look too tight, and be too obvious. But these problems are the exceptions, not the rule. Today, by tightening the muscle layer under the skin, our multi-layer techniques can smooth the neck, eliminate jowls and lift the cheeks. We tighten the skin just enough to take the wrinkles out, and produce almost invisible incision sites. We can even inject some of your own fat to fill in grooves and depressions so you regain that baby-face appeal with less surgery. The neck can be made thin, athletic and wrinkle-free, and the face can be smooth, full and youthful.
Why Faces Look Old and Tired
Until recently cosmetic surgeons have believed that our faces look older because the skin and fat sag down. Today, we know that aging changes, and well as many unesthetic contours in young faces, are due to deflation of the face due to progressive loss of fat. Have you noticed that full-faced people look young and happy regardless of their age? It is the loss of fat in our faces, not the sagging of skin, fat and muscle, that produces most of the changes that make us look older, tired, and sad. Jowls are due to loss of fat in front and behind the jowl area, not sagging of the jowl.
However, prolonged exposure to the sun, and normal aging changes, result in the development of wrinkles and creases in the face and neck. Furrows develop in the forehead, frown lines and crows feet become prominent, jowls develop and excess skin in the neck becomes loose and unattractive. The loose skin in the neck is due to loss of the normal elasticity of the skin, as well as loss of fat. Without normal elasticity our skin will sag. Without adequate fat, the face will deflate and look old, sad and tired. A face lift (rhytidectomy) is the best procedure to correct many of these changes. By adding fat transfer to a face lift, not only can the loose skin be improved, but, the effects of fat loss can be reversed. A face lift can transform a face with sagging, tired-looking cheeks, jowls, and neck, into a face with a more youthful, healthy and rested appearance.
Face lifts can be performed alone, or in combination with other cosmetic procedures such as fat transfer, injectable fillers, endoscopic brow lift, eyelid surgery and laser skin resurfacing. Sun damage and the aging process affects the entire face relatively uniformly. Therefore, the best results are frequently obtained with a combination of procedures designed to rejuvenate all areas of the face simultaneously. This prevents the development of inconsistencies in facial appearance when only smaller areas are treated.
Combined Face Lift Procedures
Adding a brow lift can create a younger, friendlier appearance by reducing furrows and frown lines, and raising drooping eyebrows. Simultaneous eyelid surgery can restore a bright, more youthful and alert appearance to the eyes, and can even correct obstructed vision, by removing excess skin and fat from your upper and lower eyelids. Fat transfer can fill out the cheeks and lips, and reduce lines around the mouth. Laser rejuvenation produces superb results when combined with a face lift. It removes crow’s feet, lines in the lips and forehead, and smoothes and tightens the whole face.
A variety of facelift procedures are available. They range from simple to complex. The more extensive the sun damage and aging changes, the more complex the procedure needs to be to provide the desired result. It is often better to “intercept” aging changes early and perform more limited procedures for correction. For the individual with moderate aging changes, Dr. McBride has developed the EasyLift®.
The EasyLift® facelift was developed by Dr. Kevin McBride to help his patients obtain the best result with the least surgery and recovery time possible. During the past ten years cosmetic surgeons have focused on developing more and more complex facelifts in an attempt to manage all aspects of severe facial aging. Every increase in complexity has resulted in longer operating time, increased expense, and increased recovery time for the patient. The longer recovery period may be acceptable for retired individuals and those who do not need to work, but those with very busy lifestyles cannot afford the extended recovery. Most patients will obtain the desired enhancement with a much simpler procedure, a lower risk of complications, and a much faster recovery.
The EasyLift® will typically provide eighty percent of the improvement of a more extensive procedure, with only sixty percent of the surgery and fifty percent of the down time. And, at a fraction of the cost.
The EasyLift® Procedure
The EasyLift® facelift was developed by Dr. McBride by modifying the best features of well established techniques and combining them to make everything easier for the patient. It is performed under light general anesthesia and a long lasting local anesthetic in our office surgical suite. The EasyLift® procedure uses the ideal incision line in front of the ear but limits the incision behind the ear to only about one inch. The surgery extends only about fifty percent as far forward as a conventional facelift. Neck liposuction is performed as needed to define the jaw line and develop an athletic contour.
The muscle and fat layer in front of the ear is tightened with a special suturing technique to lift the cheek and jowls, tighten the neck and flatten the cheek folds. The fat and muscle are lifted and tightened as they are in the SMAS technique, but less surgery is performed under the muscle and less muscle is removed. Usually, some of the muscle is folded over and maintained to produce a fuller cheek. By maintaining the fat and muscle there is less swelling and bruising, and the cheek fullness is increased to provide a more youthful cheek appearance. Tightening the muscle along the jaw line produces a nice athletic, well defined neck and jaw. The skin is repositioned up and back toward the ear where the excess is removed and meticulous closure is performed. For some patients, fat transfer is very helpful for adding some fullness to the cheeks and around the mouth. It provides improvements that are not possible with a face lift alone, and may permit less extensive face lift surgery.
The EasyLift® is simpler than other techniques in many aspects, but is extremely effective because of the meticulous surgical detail observed throughout the procedure. The “easy” part of the procedure is the simplified recovery and reduced down time experienced by the patient. An EasyLift® face lift takes about three hours. You recover quickly and will be ready to go home in about one hour. A simple support dressing is applied to help prevent swelling and bruising. It is removed the day after surgery in our office, the incisions are cleaned and your home care is reviewed. You will not need a bandage after the first night. You will have mild bruising in your neck, but usually very little in your face. There is mild to moderate swelling for the first few days. You will have some discomfort and a feeling of tightness, but there is usually very little or no pain. You can return to work and your other usual activities within a few days.
What About Face Lift Scars?
Most people are afraid that they will have scars in front of their ears after a face lift. However, Dr. McBride notes that he always spends extra time suturing the incisions to be sure that the lines in front of the ear are as invisible as possible. He places many sutures in the deep skin layer that is much stronger than the surface layer. These deep sutures support the surface layer so well that there is no tension on the surface skin. The relaxed surface layer heals beautifully, so there is usually almost no visible line. Every individual has personal skin characteristics that affect how well their skin heals, and how visible their suture lines will be. In general, the skin suture lines will almost fade away during the first few months after surgery. Some patient’s lines fade more quickly than others. Some will stay pink or puffy longer than others. But, in general, Dr. McBride’s suture lines are hard to find.
These photos show how Dr. McBride is able to minimize any face lift lines in front of the ears in almost everyone.
From left to right above: Before Surgery, 1 Day After, 1 Week After, 1 Month After, 7 Months After
From left to right above: Before Surgery, 1 Month After, 3 Months After, 8 Months After
The S-Lift Face Lift
If you have only mild aging changes, but would like to tighten prominent jowls or some loose neck skin, the S-Lift, or a variation of this approach, may offer the ideal correction. It is an even simpler face lift than the EasyLift®. It involves removal of a limited segment of skin and fat in front of the ear and lifting and tightening of the neck and cheek tissue. No neck or cheek undermining is performed. This is a minimal procedure and is only appropriate for treatment of minimal aging changes. There is usually minimal swelling, no bruising, and you can usually return to work after three or four days.
SMAS Face Lift
For patients with very loose skin, heavy necks, or severe jowls, a more extensive SMAS face lift is indicated. It can produce a dramatic and gratifying return to a more youthful appearance, even in cases of severe aging changes.
Dr. McBride performs this sophisticated face lift technique, which produces much better immediate and long-term results than the traditional approach that only tightens the skin layer. The SubSMAS technique tightens the muscle and fat layer below the skin by removing some of the muscle and fat. A SubSMAS facelift is typically performed under a light general anesthetic in our office outpatient surgery center. Incisions are made in the crease in front of the ears and extend below the ears and back into the hairline behind the ears. The skin is gently separated from the deeper tissue in the traditional manner. He makes small incisions hidden inside the mouth to help raise the cheeks to a fuller, more youthful level.
Then Dr. McBride performs the all important maneuver of meticulously loosening the deeper fat and muscle layer so that it can be tightened and elevated to eliminate the jowls and reestablish the youthful height and fullness of the cheeks. The excess fat and muscle are removed. Repositioning this layer is the key to creating a lasting youthful, athletic, rested appearance. With this deep support reestablished, the need to overly tighten the skin is eliminated. This approach produces a very natural looking result. Men particularly appreciate this benefit.
Recovery from a Face Lift
Face lift surgery is usually not painful, but soreness and tightness develop in the neck and face. Dr. McBride applies a special compression bandage at the end of surgery. It is very effective in limiting swelling and bruising. Patients come back to have the bandage removed on the day after surgery. They usually feel good, and drive themselves to our office for this visit. There is usually no need to wear a bandage after the first day.
Patients tend to be tired, bruised and swollen for several days. Meticulous surgical technique, a good high protein diet with vitamin supplements, and application of an electric heating pad after three or four days, can minimize these problems. Patients usually feel good in three or four days, and return to work in ten days to two weeks. Occasionally, patients return to work within the first two to three days.
You will look good after the sutures are removed about one week after surgery. Swelling and bruising usually resolves about 60% after the first week, and is about 75% resolved after two weeks. The remaining swelling will disappear during the next one to two months. You will look good with a small amount of swelling because it lifts the cheeks and fills out lines. As this last bit of swelling resolves between six and twelve months after surgery, some patients will notice that some of their skin lines and folds seem to return. This is due to the loss of support as the swelling resolves. Then, your skin texture will improve and beautiful tightening of your skin will occur. It is this skin tightening, and the effect of additional muscle tightening, that leads to your impressive final result. Most patients are surprised by the eight to twelve months it takes to achieve the final result. However, you will note continuous improvement during this time.
Dallas Surgical Arts offers Face Lift Surgery including EasyLift® Surgery for patients in Dallas & Highland Park TX. Call Dallas Office Phone Number 972-566-4900 to schedule a free consultation.