When you look in the mirror and that reflection no longer matches who you are inside, it is time . . . time for what? Yep you guessed it – time for some facial rejuvenation! Vanity? Of course! We only live once . . . so why not? But what are the criteria for a successful outcome? As many of you know I have researched cosmetic surgery for the past four years and not only have I attended numerous consults but have followed many people through their surgical experiences. What is important when picking a surgeon?
Safety is number one priority. And what constitutes safety?
- Having extensive blood work and a checkup with a cardiologist is of utmost importance to make sure the patient is in excellent health.
- Being brutally honest with your surgeon – you must report whether you drink alcohol, smoke or take analgesics on a regular basis because this can affect the anesthetic as well as the surgical procedure.
- Type of anesthetic used – conscious I.V. sedation is far safer than a general anesthetic.
- Duration of the surgery – many surgeons operate with a partner primarily to cut the surgical time in half. Or someone who works quickly – whose face lifts often take only 3 or 4 hours versus 8 hours. This reduces the risk greatly since the longer the surgery the greater the health risk. Having a backup is also important should anything happen to the primary surgeon.
Techniques and Precision
Cosmetic surgery is more of an art than a science. Over the years I have seen some far from perfect work. My main complaint has to do with visible cuts instead of following natural folds and creases. I have even heard cosmetic surgeons blaming the patient for having poor skin texture when it is they who have made a mess! This is unacceptable. A good surgeon’s cuts follow the natural folds and lines. He also uses fat injections to reduce deep lines and to fill the lips so they look full and youthful. It is important to know that although a face lift will improve many saggy areas it will not erase wrinkles – those would be treated at a later date with a laser.
The gold standard in face lift techniques is the SMAS method (Superficial Musculoaponeurotic System) which focuses on the thin underlying connective tissue layer of the skin. It is much safer than older methods in which muscles were cut thereby increasing risk of nerve damage.
If you want to look like you did in your twenties you are dreaming. In fact with those kind of expectations a responsible surgeon would not even consider you as a patient. The objective is to give a fresher more youthful appearance, turning back the clock a good 8 -10 years. The goal is to give a rejuvenated natural look steering far away from the “I just had a facelift” pulled look.
You really need to be at your desired weight before considering cosmetic facial surgery. Why? Because just as your body expands and contracts so does your face – and if after a face lift you decide to lose weight, the new tightness will quickly become more sag. Great motivation to get in shape – now!