Even those men and women who feel like they’re getting better instead of getting older may not feel quite as thrilled about the effects that aging and gravity can have on their appearance. If you’re troubled by loose skin through the lower face and upper neck, prominent jowling or frustrated that your reflection looks much older than you feel on the inside, a facelift could be the right solution for you. A facelift can leave you looking revitalized and refreshed so you can feel confident you’re putting your best face forward.
Recognized as a facial plastic surgery specialist and one of the top cosmetic surgeons in the Mobile-Pensacola metro area, Dr. James Koehler is a board certified cosmetic surgeon serving patients from Gulfport to Gulf Shores and beyond.
Dr. Koehler focuses on the deep plane facelift technique, which can provide a longer-lasting and more natural-looking result compared to older techniques. For the past 10 years, he has taught the deep plane facelift technique at St. Louis University in a practical anatomy course with fellow surgeon Dr. Mike Nayak.
Are You a Candidate?
The best candidates for a facelift are men and women who have noticeable or advanced signs of aging through the lower face like saggy skin and loss of firmness. Although there isn’t a specific age that’s considered ideal for a facelift, the best results are seen in those candidates who are young enough to still have good skin quality and elasticity, typically between the ages of 40 and 60. It’s also important to be in good overall physical and mental health, and to have realistic expectations about your results.
If you are particularly concerned about avoiding the “windblown” or “pulled back” look that comes from an obvious facelift, you should know that Dr. Koehler almost exclusively performs the deep plane facelift technique for his patients. This approach lifts tissue adjacent to the facial muscle layer, leaving the skin and muscle attached so that the tightened result is very natural-looking.
While a facelift can deliver a very impressive outcome in the right candidate, the surgery does have some limitations. Specifically, a facelift won’t improve issues related to the upper face such as crow’s feet, droopy eyes or frown lines. In these cases, Dr. Koehler may recommend including upper facial cosmetic surgery like eyelid surgery or a brow lift at the same time as your facelift for more comprehensive results. Nonsurgical med spa treatments like BOTOX® or laser resurfacing can help extend the results of your facelift after your surgery as well. During your consultation, Dr. Koehler will explain how these procedures can complement each other so you’ll be fully informed about your options before proceeding with surgery.
About Deep Plane Face Lifts
Facial aging might be associated with wrinkles, but there’s a lot more to the aging process than these fairly minor surface changes. In fact, it’s the changes that occur in the deeper soft tissues of the face that are responsible for the more pronounced indications of age that would necessitate a facelift. Collagen production declines, causing the skin to lose elasticity and firmness and begin to sag. The constant pull of gravity only exacerbates this downward migration. Over time, this causes laxity and softening in the skin itself that leads to droopiness and deep wrinkles.
A deep plane facelift smooths away loose skin folds and creates a firmer texture while simultaneously tightening the underlying supportive layers of the facial structure for long-lasting results.
What to Expect
A facelift is not a one-size-fits-all surgery, so Dr. Koehler will begin with a personal consultation along with a comprehensive physical evaluation in order to determine the best approach to take for your procedure. He’ll also explain what you can expect from surgery through your recovery.
To begin a deep plane facelift, Dr. Koehler places incisions behind the ear and hidden within the hairline for the utmost discretion after healing. In many cases, he may include an incision below the chin as well. Next, Dr. Koehler can revise and reposition the SMAS (superficial muscular aponeurotic system), a layer of connective tissue underneath the skin that integrates with the facial muscles. Lifting this layer tightens the skin without creating a stretched or pulled look to the skin surface. In some cases, fat grafting may be included to restore volume loss through the cheeks and temples as well. Dr. Koehler will remove any excess skin and tissue and closing the incisions.
Since deep plane facelifts are usually performed as an outpatient procedure, you can plan on returning home after your surgery. Dr. Koehler may recommend wearing a supportive bandage initially to help you stay more comfortable and reduce any fluid buildup. By about 1 week after your surgery, swelling should be greatly decreased and you should be able to cover any residual bruising with makeup. By the 2-week mark, you should be able to enjoy a dinner with close friends and have no one the wiser that you underwent a facelift at all.
Risks and Complications
The most likely risks associated with a facelift are the same as those that could occur after any surgery, including a negative reaction to anesthesia, infection or poor healing response. Less common side effects include the possibility of hair loss at the incision points or permanent changes in sensation, although these are rare. Dr. Koehler will discuss all the risks and benefits with you during your consultation so you’re informed about what you can expect.
Your New Look
Right away after your deep plane facelift, you should see a difference in your appearance. Hanging jowls or loose skin will better accentuate your bone structure and have a firmer look and improved texture, and deep wrinkles should be minimized. The ideal goal of a facelift is to reveal the best possible version of yourself so that your inner vitality shines through every aspect of your daily life.
Face Lift FAQ
Is a facelift the best cosmetic surgery for me?
A facelift could be the right option for you if you are unhappy with the appearance of pronounced wrinkles, creases and drooping skin in your mid- and lower-face areas. While a facelift does not address the upper face or neck areas, this procedure is often combined with other facial cosmetic surgeries such as a brow lift, eyelid lift or neck lift for enhanced results. The right combination of treatments for you will depend on your unique facial anatomy and your goals for your final results.
What’s the advantage of a deep plane facelift?
A deep plane facelift technique offers several advantages over traditional techniques. It delivers long-lasting support and long-lasting, natural-looking results. The technique allows the midface area to be lifted vertically, creating more volume in the cheeks. The area from the cheeks all the way to the neck can be lifted as a single unit, helping to restore your youthful facial shape rather than creating an overly tight or disproportionate look. In addition, most patients experience less bruising and swelling, and have less risk of noticeable scarring after the procedure.
What is recovery like after a facelift?
During your initial facelift recovery period, expect to get plenty of rest and need some extra help around the house. Most people are able to return to work and social activities within 1 to 2 weeks after their facelift, though you will need to limit strenuous physical activity for several weeks as you continue to recover.
What is the best age for a facelift?
The best candidates for a facelift are typically in their 40s, 50s and 60s, though there is no right or wrong age to get this procedure. Some people choose to start with nonsurgical anti-aging options like BOTOX Cosmetic or dermal fillers before deciding to get a facelift. In other cases, signs of aging are more pronounced and a facelift may be the best solution to begin with. Dr. Koehler will help you decide if a facelift could be right for you during your consultation.
When will I see facelift results?
You may notice an immediate improvement in wrinkles and sagging skin after your facelift, though swelling and bruising can camouflage initial results. Expect to see the beginnings of your facelift results around 3 weeks after your procedure, with final results continuing to develop over the coming months.
How long does a facelift last?
Facelifts can last around 10 years or more, depending on your age when you got your facelift, your lifestyle habits and genetics. Some people choose to combine their facelift with nonsurgical anti-aging options like BOTOX, fillers and laser skin rejuvenation to help enhance and prolong their results. Other things you can do to help your facelift last longer include wearing sunscreen, avoiding deliberate tanning and eating a healthy diet.