How a Facelift Combats the Signs of Aging

Gravity, sun exposure, the passage of time, and the stresses of daily life take a serious toll on the face. Over the years, smile lines become deep creases, the jawline slackens and forms jowls, and the neck develops loose folds and fat deposits. A facelift counteracts these unwanted issues by tightening muscle, removing fat, and trimming excess skin. This results in a fresher, more youthful look. After a facelift in Upper East Side, some patients can appear younger by even a decade or more, and yet maintain a natural-looking appearance.

What Does a Facelift Address?

A facelift, technically known as a rhytidectomy (literally, “removal of wrinkles”,) rejuvenates the mid to lower face and upper neck. The procedure is most effective for patients who want to correct:

  • Facial skin laxity with wrinkling and sagging
  • Deep creases under the eyes
  • Folds between the nose and mouth (nasolabial folds)
  • Jowls due to loss of skin and muscle tone
  • Areas of protruding fat 
  • Loose skin and fat under the chin and jaw
  • Loss of soft tissue volume in the midface 
  • Decreased skin elasticity 
  • Muscle bands in the neck

When is the Right Time to Get a Facelift?

Although a facelift turns back the clock to restore a more youthful look, changes due to gravity, exposure to the sun/noxious environments, and the body’s overall aging process will continue to affect the face, potentially necessitating a revision surgery years down the road.

Earlier surgical intervention with less invasive procedures in younger patients who have milder manifestations of facial aging may stave off the more extensive facelift techniques required to produce results in older patients with more widespread wrinkles and tissue damage.

Dr. Hutchinson will take into consideration each patient’s unique characteristics and desired outcome in order to recommend the best facelift procedure for them. 

I can personally recommend Dr. Hutchinson, who is a Harvard educated, board certified plastic surgeon. She has the right aesthetic with over 20 years’ experience giving her vast expertise in both cosmetic and corrective surgery. In her initial consultations, she makes astute observations and offer practical and professional advice. She is thoroughly competent and trustworthy in her judgment. The meticulous results that a person receives with her care are elegantly understated and exceptional. Dr. Hutchinson has a very warm demeanor and provides a comfortable environment to discuss personal concerns and goals. 

Paula W.

Ideal Facelift Candidates

Patients may notice unwelcome changes in their facial appearance due to aging, such as loose skin, jowls, and drooping tissues. Good candidates for this restorative aesthetic surgery have the following attributes:

  • Have noticed sagging due to loss of skin elasticity
  • Are nonsmokers in good mental and physical health
  • Are not currently struggling with any uncontrolled medical concerns
  • Have realistic expectations for their results
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Getting Ready for Your Facelift Procedure

We want you to have the most comfortable and stress-free experience possible throughout your procedure and recovery. This is why Dr. Hutchinson will provide you with detailed instructions as part of your customized perioperative plan. You’ll receive requirements for medical clearance, bloodwork, and EKG prior to surgery, as well as a list of restrictions and recommendations to ensure a smooth recovery following your facelift in Upper East Side

Dr. Hutchinson will also talk to you about how you can be an active participant in optimizing your wellness. She will discuss maintaining a healthy lifestyle, diet, and weight, avoiding smoking, and not taking medications that can increase your risk of complications. 

Facelift Surgery Details

While Dr. Hutchinson performs most cosmetic surgeries at her fully AAAASF accredited operating room on the Upper East Side, she occasionally uses one of the hospitals in NYC with which she is affiliated. 

A facelift is an outpatient procedure most often performed with IV sedation anesthesia. The surgery itself takes about two hours and patients usually recover for an hour prior to discharge.

In some patients, concurrent aesthetic procedures such as an upper and lower eyelid lift, rhinoplasty, brow lift, or fat injections may enhance their overall facial rejuvenation results.

Techniques for Facelift Surgery

There are different techniques for performing a facelift, and Dr. Hutchinson will select the best approach for you based on your cosmetic goals, your anatomical structures, and the degree of skin laxity.

  • SMAS: A SMAS (superficial muscular aponeurotic system) facelift targets the middle and lower thirds of the face and addresses sagging of the cheeks and jowls, as well as stubborn submental fat. The SMAS is a layer of tissue that supports a youthful facial structure and controls facial expressions. With age, the SMAS loses its elasticity and begins to weaken, leading to a wide array of cosmetic concerns. With this approach, the incision is created along the hairline, from the temple to behind the earlobe. The skin is separated and lifted. The underlying muscles and tissues are tightened and secured so they maintain their new position. Excess skin and fat are also reduced. This procedure is less invasive than a traditional facelift, with a shorter recovery time. By tightening, suturing, and repositioning the SMAS, facial features are improved and maintained for a more natural and long-lasting result. The SMAS continues into the neck as the platysma muscle, and this type of facelift also allows improvement of the jowls and upper neck.
  • Deep Plane: The deep plane facelift technique is designed to focus on soft tissues below the level of the SMAS, and to reposition the various layers in the face so as to provide a more youthful aesthetic. This option may be more appropriate for patients with loss of facial volume and minimal skin laxity who would benefit from a contouring procedure, rather than for those with significant amounts of excess skin. It may also incur additional swelling and a longer recovery period. Select aspects of deep plane technique may be incorporated into other types of facelifting procedures.

  • Skin Only: This technique is less invasive, as it addresses the skin only and does not disturb the underlying muscles in the face. The goal of a skin only facelift is to achieve a tighter appearance. Results from a skin only facelift may not be as long lasting as a traditional facelift; however, this method is less invasive and requires a shorter recovery period.  

Types of Facelift Incisions

The type of facelift incision will vary depending on your facial structure and the extent of correction desired. In all three different approaches, the incisions are closed with stitches and surgical clips that are removed after several days. Scars are hidden within the hairline and the natural creases of the face. The three most common incision techniques are:

Traditional Facelift

The traditional or “full” facelift rejuvenates the face, jowls, and neck and includes fat sculpting, lifting, and the repositioning of muscle and deeper tissues, as well as skin trimming and redraping. The incision begins at the temples and continues down to the front of the ear, around the earlobe, and behind the ear to the lower scalp at the hairline. Sometimes another incision is made under the chin to allow for better contouring in the front of the neck.

Limited Incision Facelift

A limited incision facelift is done to achieve limited rejuvenation around the eyes and midface (including the nasolabial folds and other deep creases). Short incisions are made at the temples and in front of the ear, avoiding the longer incisions behind the ear.

Lower Facelift

A lower facelift concentrates on improving the jawline, smoothing out the jowls, and removing fat under the chin. It may be extended and combined with a neck lift to address loose muscle bands and excess skin in the neck. The incision is made around the earlobe and behind the ear, stretching into the hairline.

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SMAS or Deep Plane Facelift Surgery

Given her advanced fellowship training in aesthetic surgery, Dr. Hutchinson may use one of several facelift techniques to address each patient’s unique anatomy and aesthetic concerns. The most common ones are the SMAS and the deep plane techniques, which focus both on the deeper soft tissues below the skin as well as on the skin itself.

The SMAS (Superficial Musculo-Aponeurotic System) is the muscle layer below the skin that is tightened during a facelift to rejuvenate the face and create a younger, natural looking appearance. It also restores cheek contour and eliminates jowls.

The deep plane facelift similarly targets deeper tissues in the face, and may be indicated in patients with minimal skin laxity and loss of facial volume.

Regardless of the type of facelift technique used, a complete approach to facial rejuvenation often relies on performing additional procedures at the time of the facelift, such as fat injections, microneedling with PRP, and dermabrasion around the mouth.

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Revision Facelift Surgery

Patients who have previously undergone facelift surgery may subsequently benefit from a revision (secondary) facelift after 10 years or more. For these patients, the surgical approach may be altered to address the areas of skin laxity or fat deposition that have developed. Revision facelift techniques can also be utilized to correct the work of previous surgeons to correct the results from prior surgery, which either fell short of the desired outcome or were excessive, producing an over-operated, windswept, or pulled appearance. Whatever the case may be, Dr. Hutchinson will address your unique concerns and minimize scarring, creating a personalized and elegant final outcome.

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After Surgery

After your facelift, Dr. Hutchinson will cover the incisions in bandages to protect them. Sutures and surgical clips will be removed 1-2 weeks post-operatively. Most patients return to regular daily activities and work after two weeks.

At first, you may experience some swelling, numbness, bruising, and a feeling of tightness in the face and neck. Your face may look somewhat uneven, and your facial muscles may feel stiff.  These symptoms typically resolve within the first few weeks, and sensation typically returns to normal with time. 

It is essential that you maintain head elevation, refrain from strenuous physical activity, and closely follow the detailed instructions provided by Dr. Hutchinson. This will help you to have the smoothest recovery and best results possible.

What Risks are Involved?

Possible complications of a facelift include bleeding, infection, unsightly scars, uneven swelling or discoloration, and wound healing issues (primarily in smokers). Dr. Hutchinson will discuss the risks and benefits of a facelift with you and address all your concerns before your surgery.


Results

Results of a facelift are immediately visible once the swelling and bruising subside, and a noticeable improvement in your appearance will last for years. Scars usually become less noticeable as healing occurs over time. Most patients see significant facial rejuvenation with smoother, tighter skin, more youthful contours, and an improved jawline. Dr. Hutchinson’s keen aesthetic sense, attention to detail, and meticulous surgical technique contribute to natural, beautiful results for her patients.

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Your Facelift Consultation

Before your facelift, you will meet with Dr. Hutchinson to go over your reasons for seeking surgery. You will visit with the doctor in an elegant, quiet, and unhurried environment. During your consultation, Dr. Hutchinson will evaluate your individual physical features, address all your concerns, and discuss whether a facelift in NYC is right for you. Your initial consultation with Dr. Hutchinson will include:

  • A comprehensive discussion where Dr. Hutchinson will talk to you about your medical history, your cosmetic concerns, and what you want to achieve with surgery
  • A physical examination to evaluate your unique facial features
  • “Before” medical photographs 
  • An in-depth discussion about your facelift options
  • The development of your personalized facelift surgery plan 
  • Details about what you’ll need to do before and after your facelift to ensure a successful procedure and recovery
  • The opportunity to go over any questions or concerns you have 
  • Scheduling your facelift if you’re ready to proceed 

Evaluating Your Current Appearance

In order to help you understand what results can be achieved with your facelift, Dr. Hutchinson will discuss specific details and physical characteristics of your face and neck. Factors that may impact your results include the following:

  • The amount of redundant skin that you have
  • The extent of your facial fat loss
  • Your skin tone and laxity
  • The degree of jowling in the lower face
  • The extent of skin laxity in your neck
  • The amount of fat in your neck
  • Any presence of platysma muscle bands in the neck
  • Any prior laser treatments, scars, or surgery of the face and neck 
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Dr. Hutchinson: Fellowship Trained, Board Certified Facelift Specialist 

Dr. Olivia Hutchinson’s extensive experience and skills — together with today’s advanced techniques — allow her to deliver safe, effective, natural-looking, and long-lasting results, with the shortest scars and quickest recovery. Dr. Hutchinson is a board certified aesthetic plastic surgeon who has been delivering exceptional outcomes to patients in and beyond New York City, and from all over the world for over two decades. Her practice is built on a foundation of trust, transparency, integrity, and personalized attention. Every member of her staff is dedicated to promoting your well-being and maintaining the highest standards of care. If you’re considering a facelift in Upper East Side, we encourage you to contact us online or call us at (212) 452-1400.

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