The rhytidectomy, or facelift, has been one of the most comprehensive facial plastic surgeries available for decades, and it is still the gold standard for restoring youth and rejuvenating facial aesthetics. People with sagging skin, jowls, loose neck skin and wrinkles can look years younger and slow down the rate of aging with a facelift, creating natural-looking rejuvenation that lasts for years.
Dr. Michael L. Schwartz, a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon, is pleased to offer this classic and highly effective procedure at Palm Beach Face to patients in the West Palm Beach area.
Facelift Before & After Photos
* All patients are unique and individual results may vary.
What is a Facelift?
While many people believe that a facelift merely involves tightening and removing unwanted skin, there is actually a lot more that goes on underneath the surface during the procedure. A traditional facelift is known as a deep plane facelift, and it involves addressing loose skin in the mid and lower face and the neck, while also tightening the underlying facial tissues.
By addressing the skin, facial fat, and underlying tissues, the deep plane facelift yields long-lasting, natural-looking results for patients with moderate to severe sagging skin.
Benefits of a Facelift
Many people are concerned about the invasive nature of facelift surgery and choose less-invasive procedures, but none of these options can approach the kind of comprehensive results a facelift can provide. Patients who choose a facelift with an experienced facial plastic surgeon can look forward to tighter, smoother skin and an overall more youthful appearance. The procedure also helps patients look more rested and will help to slow down the aging process.
A facelift procedure does require some recovery time, but patients will get a lot of value out of the procedure, due to the fact that it is comprehensive and produces dramatic results that last for years. Most patients find that they have increased confidence and self-esteem after the procedure and may feel more empowered in social and work settings.
Best Candidates for Facelift Surgery
Although facelift surgery can be an ideal option for people with moderate to severe sagging skin, it is not the right option for everyone. The best candidates for facelift surgery are men and women with significant signs of aging, such as jowling and loose skin on the midface, lower face, and neck. Patients need to be in good health, be nonsmokers (or willing to quit), and have realistic expectations for the results of the procedure.
People with minor sagging skin may be a better candidate for a minimally-invasive or non-invasive treatment, rather than a facelift. Choosing one of these procedures can even help younger patients postpone surgical intervention. Some medications and medical conditions may make patients ineligible for the procedure, but Dr. Schwartz can suggest alternatives for patients who should not undergo elective surgery. Candidacy is highly individual and will be determined during the initial facelift consultation.
Short Scar Mini Facelifts Vs Traditional Facelifts
Many patients seeking facial rejuvenation procedures express confusion about the multiple types of procedures being touted and what is best for them.
The constant marketing of named or branded procedures frequently has patients coming in and asking for a specifically named facelift without really knowing if this will do anything to help them. This is especially true for the variety of mini facelifts or short scar facelifts that attract patients with promises of minimal invasiveness, less pain, and quick recovery while promising wonder results at the same time.
The following two patients illustrate these principles. They each present a different challenge due to their respective ages and facial changes. Both desire a natural and undistorted look.
Both would like to be as cost-effective as possible with their time and their finances but understand that doing what gets the best result is the key to full satisfaction.
Case Study 1
This patient presents with early to moderates signs of facial aging. There is deflation of the cheeks, early jowling and moderate skin laxity with loss of a defined jaw neckline.
She is an excellent candidate for a short scar facelift. Done in-office under local anesthesia, a smaller incision with less facial dissection is used. Tightening of the underlying skin and muscle is performed and a good rejuvenation can be achieved. The result is natural and not distorted. The patient returns to normal activities after a week.
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Case Study 2
The second patient presents with more advanced problems of facial aging. She has heavier tissues, which will not reposition easily. There are deep nasolabial folds and heavy jowls with distortion of the jawline. The cervical mental angle is obtuse with a blunted chin and no defined jaw neckline.
She is not a candidate for a mini lift. A facelift with dissection in the deep plane allows lifting of the heavy cheek and jowls without pulling or distortion. Extensive lifting of the neck skin as well as release, repositioning and tightening of the deep neck muscles with a pre-jowl implant to the chin creates a defined jaw neckline.
Although this remains an outpatient procedure it is not an office procedure. General anesthesia performed in an accredited surgicenter is required. Initial recovery is two weeks for a return to work and normal activity. Swelling can be prolonged and the result will continue to improve over 3-6 months.
Seen at 3 months this patient’s result is dramatic even with some as yet unresolved neck edema. The patient has not found this a problem given the marked improvement she has already achieved.
Dr. Schwartz offers the full spectrum of both mini and full facelifts. He counsels patients though to not fit themselves to a technique but to get the procedure that best delivers the results they are looking for. You are doing this to look and feel better. This is your face and everyone is going to see it. If you are the right candidate for a mini lift then you’ll be very happy. If more is needed then isn’t a week or two of additional recovery worth getting the result you are looking for?
Your Facelift Consultation at Palm Beach Face
The facelift procedure is customized to each individual patient during an in-person consultation with Dr. Schwartz in West Palm Beach. During the consultation, Dr. Schwartz will go over your medical history and ask you questions about your lifestyle to ensure that you are healthy enough to undergo surgery safely. Dr. Schwartz will ask you about your goals and go over your expectations for the surgery. He will also evaluate your facial aging and make treatment recommendations, whether that involves a facelift procedure or not.
This is your opportunity to get to know Dr. Schwartz and learn more about your options before you make a decision about your treatment plan. You’ll also have a chance to ask questions about the facelift procedure and address any concerns you may have. Once you have all the information you need and Dr. Schwartz has determined your candidacy, you can schedule your procedure for a convenient date.
I have known Dr Schwartz for over 20 years. He performed surgery on my now 89 year old father about 15 years ago and my Dad is still a loyal patient of his. Our family has always been in good hands when provided medical care by him and by his staff.
The Facelift Procedure
A facelift procedure begins with anesthesia to ensure patients are safe and comfortable throughout the surgery. Typically, general anesthesia or IV sedation is used, as the procedure is fairly invasive.
Once anesthesia has been administered, Dr. Schwartz will make the incisions. Deep plane facelift incisions are camouflaged within the hairline to avoid visible scarring. Through these incisions, Dr. Schwartz can access the deeper layers of tissue. Working layer by layer, he carefully lifts, tightens, and repositions the different layers of the face. This involves tightening the SMAS (superficial musculoaponeurotic system) layer, removing or repositioning facial fat, and trimming and tightening excess sagging skin. Once all the layers have been rejuvenated, Dr. Schwartz closes the incisions and places dressings. A deep plane facelift takes an average of four hours to complete.
Recovery and Downtime
One of the tradeoffs of undergoing facelift surgery is the downtime involved. While modern techniques have reduced recovery times, patients will still typically need to take about two weeks off from work to heal. Swelling and bruising are normal and should be expected. Many patients are surprised to find that the discomfort involved with facelift recovery is typically minor and can be controlled with prescribed medications.
Stitches are removed approximately one week after surgery, and patients with desk jobs should be well enough to return to work around a week later. People who work more strenuous jobs will typically need to wait an additional week or two to return to work. Moderate to strenuous exercise should be avoided for at least the first three weeks.
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Frequently Asked Questions about Facelifts
After a facelift, you will look worse before you look better, due to swelling and bruising that occurs after nearly every surgery. However, you should be able to see the initial results within a few weeks. These will improve further over the next six months, as residual swelling fades.
The deep plane face and neck lift does not address the forehead or brow position or the appearance of the eyelids. These are better treated with other procedures such as a brow lift or blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery). Patients who need to address multiple areas of the face might want to discuss a combination procedure with Dr. Schwartz.
Absolutely. Although the aesthetic goals of the procedure are slightly different for men and women, a rhytidectomy can be extremely effective for any patient, regardless of gender. Many men seek facelift surgery to improve their confidence, compete in the workplace, or return to dating.
The facelift is known for long-lasting results, but these vary depending on the patient’s lifestyle and genetic rate of aging. Patients can expect the results of a facelift to last approximately 5-10 years or more. It is important to keep in mind that although a rhytidectomy can make patients look years younger and slow down the rate of aging, it cannot stop further aging altogether. Most patients only get one facelift in their lifetime, but the results do not last forever. Patients can help to prolong their results by living a healthy lifestyle, avoiding cigarettes, and protecting their facial skin from the sun.
Dr. Schwartz performs the deep plane facelift at an outpatient surgical center. Patients can be driven home by a friend or family member the day of the surgery to rest and recover. Although the procedure is in-depth, most patients do not need a hospital stay after a facelift.
All surgeries produce scarring, but plastic surgeons take pains to ensure scars are as well-hidden as possible, so as not to compromise the aesthetic results of the procedure. The incisions of a facelift are located within the hairline, resulting in well-concealed scars.
During the surgery itself, anesthesia ensures that patients feel no pain. There can be some minor discomfort after the facelift, but this discomfort is often much less than patients initially expect. Dr. Schwartz prescribes medications to manage any discomfort during the initial recovery period.
Exercise and other strenuous activities may need to be postponed for about three weeks after a facelift surgery. Dr. Schwartz will determine when it is safe for you to return to your normal exercise routine.
As with all types of surgery, there are potential risks associated with a facelift surgery. These may include adverse anesthesia reactions, asymmetry, bleeding, excessive scarring, and infection. Working with an experienced plastic surgeon and following all pre- and post-operative instructions will minimize these risks and help to ensure a safe and successful procedure.
Facelift procedures performed for cosmetic reasons are generally not covered by insurance, though patients should consult with their own insurance carrier. There may be financing options available, however.
Facelifts have come a long way, and today’s procedures are customized to suit each patient’s unique needs. This high level of customization helps to ensure a natural result, without a tight or pulled look that tends to appear unnatural. A skilled plastic surgeon can create results that look very natural while still dramatically rejuvenating the face.
Expert Rhytidectomy in West Palm Beach
Dr. Michael Schwartz is an experienced double board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in facial plastic surgery and otolaryngology. Dr. Schwartz trained with some of the most renowned surgeons of the 20th century and has over 24 years of experience in the field of plastic surgery. He stays on the cutting edge of modern techniques and is dedicated to providing patients with beautiful, natural results.
If you are interested in learning more about the facelift procedure, call Palm Beach Face in West Palm Beach, FL, to schedule a consultation with Dr. Michael Schwartz. The practice can be reached at 561-655-5562.
Why choose Dr. Schwartz?
- Dr. Michael Schwartz is certified by both the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and American Board of Otolaryngology.
- MD from Baylor College of Medicine, where he completed his General Surgery Residency at Beth Israel Medical Center and ENT Residency at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center.
- He is also a fellow of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, and the American College of Surgeons.
- Dr. Schwartz is an active staff member with Good Samaritan Medical Center, West Palm Beach, Florida.
- He has over 30 years of experience as a surgeon and is extensively trained in the latest advancements in facial plastic surgery.