A traditional facelift surgery used to be the only way that people could rejuvenate their face and take years off their appearance. These days, however, technological and medical advancements have opened up new avenues to those seeking anti-aging treatments. While the surgery itself is still a popular choice in plastic surgery clinics across the country, the latest treatment getting notice is the nonsurgical facelift. This treatment can offer more immediate yet temporary results at a fraction of the cost. But is it the right option for you? Discover whether a traditional facelift or a nonsurgical facelift would best suit your individual needs.
Traditional Facelift: The Procedure
A traditional facelift is a surgery, usually lasting three to four hours and performed under general anesthetic. This procedure can eliminate or reduce the appearance of many aging signs, including wrinkles, sagging skin, depleted volume, excess fat buildup, weakened muscles, and more. It is performed by using a series of incisions along the hairline and extending in front of and behind the ears. While it was once just a skin tightening procedure, plastic surgeons will now take more time to review each patient’s needs and design a surgical plan that addresses his or her concerns. Instead of just repositioning the skin, the surgeon will tighten deeper layers of the face, removing excess skin and sometimes removing or repositioning fat. In some surgeries, fat deposits that collect in the lower portion of the face can be redistributed to the mid areas that have lost volume. Through muscle tightening, weakened jowls can be reduced and the face and jawline will appear tauter and younger. If you decide on a traditional facelift, you will discuss your personal areas of concern during a one-on-one consultation before scheduling your surgery.
Nonsurgical Facelift: The Procedure
During a nonsurgical facelift, an injectable dermal filler, or a combination of them, is prepared and then injected into the trouble areas of the face. Dermal fillers are designed to restore volume in the places where it has been lost, fill wrinkles to reduce their appearance, smooth out wrinkles around the face and lips, and even diminish scars. Your surgeon will have the ability to target specific trouble spots that you are concerned about and can also control the amount of volume that is added to these areas. There are several different types of dermal fillers that can be used to achieve different goals: collagen, fat injections, Juvederm, Radiesse, and Restylane, among others. Because everyone is different, not all injectable fillers will have the same results for everyone. Your plastic surgeon will work with you to determine which filler type will be best for you.
Traditional Facelifts: Risks & Side Effects
As with any surgical procedure, a facelift comes with a list of potential risks and possible side effects. Some of them sound scary, although your chances of encountering any of these risks is lessened greatly by choosing a facial plastic surgeon with experience, training, and a reputation for success. After your surgery, you will experience some side effects that will diminish with time, including swelling and redness, slight bruising, some pain and discomfort, and a feeling of pulling on your skin. Some patients may even be alarmed to see that their incision lines are very red, but this too will fade with time and return to normal coloring. All of these side effects are very normal and should not be cause for alarm unless no improvement is seen after a measurable amount of time.
As you heal and recover, you may also be at risk for more complicated problems:
- Infection. Surgeries always carry a risk of infection because the skin is broken and the body is exposed to the air, surgical implements, and other factors in the environment. Luckily, surgeries of the face carry a very low risk of infection. To be extra cautious, you may be placed on antibiotics to prevent any possible infections.
- Scarring. While this may be expected, some patients experience more noticeable scarring than others. Your plastic surgeon will take measures to hide the incisions as much as possible, but in some cases, there may not be a good place to put them. In other cases, a person’s body can over-heal to create extra scar tissue and a more noticeable scar. If you haven’t experienced this in the past, you should not encounter this problem.
- Bleeding. It is normal to have some bleeding after a facelift surgery, but nothing constant or in large quantity. If you are soaking through medical bandages or experiencing any kind of serious bleeding from your incisions, seek medical help right away.
- Numbness. Any time the nerves are cut or moved, numbness may result in those areas. With a facelift, the hairline and area around the ears is cut and could sustain damage to the nerves. Most numbness is temporary but in rare cases it can become permanent.
After a facelift, some patients have also experienced nausea and vomiting, the result of pain medications and anesthesia administered during surgery. This is a very common consequence but should not continue for more than a day or two after your facelift. Also, other risks may include a change in the position or appearance of your ears, hair loss at the site of the incisions, and pain or tenderness around the face lasting longer that the normal one to two days. Whenever something troubling occurs after a major surgery, contact your physician right away to resolve the issue or receive additional medical treatment, if needed.
Nonsurgical Facelifts: Risks & Side Effects
Even a nonsurgical procedure can cause side effects and brings with it certain risks. Most people who receive injectable treatments experience a slight pinching at the site of the injection as well as mild bruising, redness, and/or swelling. Typically, these side effects only last up to a few days and the discomfort can be easily managed with ice packs. There is a very rare chance of more painful swelling or bruising that can last longer.
Other risks of the injectable dermal fillers can include allergic reactions to either the filler or to the anesthetic administered before your injection. Some people may develop tiny bumps beneath the skin of the target area, but these are usually short lived and will go away on their own. A blue tinting of the skin, known as Tyndall, may also result and last for a few days up to a several months. Tyndall is treatable, however, so it can be corrected with the help of your physician. In extremely rare cases, skin cell death can result from improperly administered dermal fillers. Of course, ensuring that your plastic surgeon is properly trained, highly experienced, and has worked with dermal fillers before can eliminate your risk of this unfortunate side effect.
Traditional or Nonsurgical?
If you’re still trying to decide which procedure is going to be the right one for you, it may be worthwhile to ask yourself a few important questions. Do you want your facelift to have longer-lasting results or short-term (four months to one year) results? Do you want to undergo surgery or would you rather have a few injections? Are you ready to commit to the recovery time after a surgery or do you need instant results? Are you looking to make one appointment for surgery or are you prepared to make multiple visits over time to keep up your new look?
While the benefits offered by a traditional facelift and a nonsurgical facelift are similar at face value, there are certain perks and disadvantages to each. The best way to determine which procedure is the right choice for your, your needs, and your lifestyle is to speak with a professional well-versed in both. Contact Renu Med Spa today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Philip Schoenfeld, the spa’s founder and a board certified facial plastic surgeon with experience in both. He has been practicing facial plastic and reconstructive surgery since 1994 and can offer you his medical advice and expertise to determine whether a traditional facelift or a nonsurgical facelift is the way to go. Call (301) 652-RENU (7368) to make an appointment at the Renu Med Spa office, located at 5454 Wisconsin Ave, Suite 1625, in Chevy Chase, Maryland.