Plastic Surgery 101

Do your homework before undergoing a facelift

Q. I’m convinced that I need a facelift. I started doing homework on the Internet and found that there are so many different ways of doing a facelift. Is there really one best way to do a facelift?

A. Face-lifting techniques and results are a combination of so many factors. There are differences in the type of patients that a facial plastic surgeon or plastic surgeon sees. The patient’s expectations are a very important part of the success of the surgery. The aesthetics of the surgeon are very important as well.

Facelifts have evolved over the past 30 years since I’ve been performing this surgery. The aesthetics of what is considered a good facelift have also changed. Early on, facelifting was primarily an operation of removing skin and reattaching it so that the skin would not be hanging.

Over the years, surgeons have recognized that it is important to increase the facial volume to make the face look more youthful. Facial volume is increased by elevating the tissue that has fallen as well as by fat grafting with the patient’s own fat.

The technique of facelifting varies from skin only, deep plane, platysmaplasty and removal of submandibular glands to contour the neck. A combination of one or all of the above may be used by your surgeon. The best technique for a facelift is the technique that your surgeon feels he or she can accomplish your expectations.

As a result, it is important that you see one or two surgeons, review your expectations and describe in detail what you would like from them. In addition, I highly recommend that you look at before and after pictures and that you ask as many questions as you feel comfortable prior to your surgery. Once you feel that you have found the appropriate surgeon, you’ve probably found the best technique for you.

Dr. Carlos Wolf is a partner in Miami Plastic Surgery and is board certified. Email your questions to him at