Facelift Formalities: Having a Talk With Your Plastic Surgeon

So you’ve decided talk explore a facelift procedure plastic surgery to make an improvement in your appearance and boost your confidence. Or maybe your reasons are for correcting a physical condition left behind by a surgical procedure or childbirth. Whatever reason is motivating you, giving serious consideration to which plastic surgeon you use for your facelift procedure is imperative.   Choosing a plastic surgeon can be an overwhelming and frustrating experience, especially in Manhattan and Long Island, where there are many plastic surgeons to consider. Combine that with all the information you can read about different plastic surgery procedures in magazines, the reviews, the difficult-to-understand medical information, research on the doctors who can perform the work you want, your own personal “wishlist” and desires, and even the well-intentioned suggestions of friends and family.   When you’ve made that crucial decision to go forward with facelift, or any plastic surgery procedure, it helps to arm yourself with as much information and background as you can find, but more importantly, to know what to say and how to have a conversation with the plastic surgeon of your choice. After all, you’ll want to feel confident under the surgeon’s care and trust him or her to achieve the results you’re looking for and you want to be reassured that you’re on the same page over what your expectations are.
 

Come Prepared To Your Plastic Surgery Consultation With All Of Your Questions

Before you meet with your plastic surgeon, you’ll want to do your own homework starting with the surgeon you’ve chosen. Choosing a plastic surgeon in New York can be overwhelming, especially in Manhattan and Long Island, where there are many options. You want the confidence to know that he’s the right fit for your needs and has the skills and capabilities to do the job right.   Asking your doctor questions like these during your facelift consultation will enable you to make the best decisions for your procedure:
 

1. Are you a board certified plastic surgeon? If so, by what board?

It’s important to know if your surgeon is board certified and which board or boards they’re affiliated with. Board certifications mean that your surgeon has met the highest standards for cosmetic procedures and helps to reassure you that your doctor is in good standing and respected within the field.   There are various aspects of the cosmetic surgery field that many plastic surgeons get involved with to maintain their skills and stay up to date on current trends and technologies. A surgeon’s board and committee involvement indicates that the surgeon has a deeper understanding of the practice and seeks meaningful ways to learn more.
  Here are some links for some examples of boards plastic surgeons belong to:
https://www.plasticsurgery.org/
https://www.surgery.org/professionals
 

2. What’s your history in plastic surgery? Specifically, what is your experience with facelifts?

Don’t be afraid to verify a surgeon’s experience and expertise to learn more about him or her and their practice. While many plastic surgeons offer a wide array of procedures, you’ll want to make sure they’re most comfortable with what you’re hoping to achieve. Learning more about what your surgeon specializes in can help you gain more understanding about their qualifications and offer the peace of mind that will help you feel comfortable about your own upcoming procedure.   To help avoid disappointment and to better understand your surgeon’s ability, it’s a good idea to ask to see before and after photographs of previous patients. This will be tangible proof of your surgeon’s skill. Here are some examples of transformations that we’ve accomplished for other clients: https://www.aristocratps.com/photo-gallery/   Do some research by checking your surgeon’s website for resources that can help inform you, and their “About Us” page that can give you good insight on your surgical facility and the capabilities of the practice. For example, you may find that you don’t need a facelift but rather can benefit from a less-invasive procedure. It’s best to find a practice that offers both to give you the full breadth of options.
 

3. Do I meet the qualifications for a facelift surgical procedure?

While every case is unique, your surgeon will more than likely start by reviewing your goals and the look you want to achieve through plastic surgery. Your medical history and lifestyle will also be reviewed, and prior to surgery, you’ll be asked to have a physical examination. This exam will help assess whether plastic and reconstructive surgery is a good fit for you. Your doctor may also suggest tests for you to take before making a definite decision and procedural recommendation.   The education and information you receive as a result of these exams will help give you valuable information about the areas of concern you have with your body and how plastic and reconstructive surgery might help improve those areas. As a result of your consultation and exam, you’ll get great insight into what your doctor considers to be the best procedure for you to undergo.
 

4. What should I expect during the operation?

In some cases, actual video footage or realistic imagery can portray what you can expect to undergo during your procedure. Your doctor can explain what the operation will involve, including the pros and cons of the surgery, the risks involved, the use of anesthesia, and the hospital or surgery center where the operation will be carried out. Your surgical center should meet the highest qualifications and standards to have been accredited in patient safety and care.

5. What should I expect during the recovery process?

The recovery process, as with any surgery, will have a few challenges. You’ll be able to discuss and go over all of that in detail and learn what to expect with your plastic surgeon. Your doctor will review with you how you may feel at each stage of the recovery.
 

6. Is there a risk of complications?

Complications from surgery can happen due to a number of reasons. Your plastic surgeon should be able to outline the steps he or she would take if your surgery poses some challenges. This is just another key step in preparation for surgery and goes a long way to help reassure patients that the surgeon is well-prepared for any circumstance.
 

7. What are the potential outcomes if I am not satisfied with the results?

Occasionally, a patient may not be satisfied with the results. It’s important that your surgeon explains the realistic outcomes of your surgery and all options for correction if the results are not what you expected.   Remember that plastic and reconstructive surgery can achieve a great deal of successful outcomes, but it is not a perfect science. The ideal candidate for plastic and reconstructive surgery is one who is healthy, self-confident, well-balanced, and realistic in her (or his) expectations.
 

8. What costs are involved with facelifts and other plastic surgeries?

There are many costs associated with plastic surgery including anesthesia, the procedure itself, ensuing medication, etc. Your doctor and medical team should explain all the costs that are involved so that you are not surprised by your bill. Depending on the type of plastic surgery you have, insurance may or may not cover all costs.  

Reconstructive Surgery

Many cosmetic surgery procedures are reconstructive in nature and are covered by your health insurance plan. If it’s determined during your initial consultation that your need is medically necessary, your surgeon will work closely with your insurance provider to give medical documentation and obtain authorization for surgical services. Once surgical authorization is obtained from the insurance company, the surgery can be scheduled.  

Plastic Surgery

Most insurance companies won’t cover costs for any services it doesn’t consider medically necessary. If that is the case, you will be responsible for all costs and fees associated with your care.   If you indicate that you’re interested in having cosmetic surgery at the end of your consultation, your doctor’s office should be able to provide you with an estimate for the surgery. This quote will include the surgeon’s fees, hospital fees, and anesthesia fees (where applicable). The costs of surgery can vary considerably, depending on the type and length of the procedure.
 

9. Do you have before and after photographs?

It’s a good idea to check your plastic surgeon’s website to see how surgical work has turned out for other patients in the past. Keep in mind that every individual’s results will not be the same, but images from before and after the procedure is the most tangible proof of your surgeon’s skill. Many surgeons have photographs on their website or in-office.
 

While those are the most important questions to ask your plastic surgeon about a facelift procedure, a general question we get is about the differences between a facelift procedure for women, and a facelift procedure for men.

  According to the most recent annual plastic surgery statistics report conducted by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, rhytidectomy surgery (more commonly referred to as a facelift) was the sixth most popular plastic surgery procedure in 2017 and the third most popular facial plastic surgical procedure (rhinoplasty and blepharoplasty were first and second). A total of 125,697 facelift procedures were performed in the United States according to this survey. Roughly 15% of all facelifts are performed in men, according to the American Academy of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery.   Patients often ask if the surgical technique for a facelift varies between men and women. The short answer is yes, facelift procedures are performed slightly differently on men (referred to as “male facelift”) than it is for women (referred to as “female facelift”) for a variety of reasons.
 

Female Facelift Procedures

A facelift (rhytidectomy) is a procedure designed to improve the most visible signs of aging. By removing excess skin and fat, tightening underlying muscles, and re-draping the skin of your face and neck, you can turn back the clock on your facial appearance.   The surgery corrects a sagging neckline, the appearance of jowls, the deposit of fat along the jawline and neck, and a deepening of the lines between the nose and corners of the mouth (nasolabial folds).   Another common option is the “mini-lift.” A “mini-lift”, or mini facelift, is a cosmetic procedure that reduces the sagging of skin around your cheeks, jawline, and neck. While it is less of an invasive procedure compared to a traditional facelift, it is based around a patient’s needs and should be determined by a qualified plastic surgeon. As a rule of thumb, mini-lifts are more suited to patients in their 40’s and 50’s as there is less chance of complications.   The goal of a facelift is a youthful facial appearance. Although aging does not stop, a facelift can push back the baseline, in most cases ten years, to give you the self-confidence which comes with a younger look. The results will not wear off, but when further aging occurs, you can choose to have a secondary facelift in the future. The more information you have about the procedure and the options available, the better equipped you will be to make a wise decision.
 

Male Facelift Procedures

Unlike in women, mini-lifts simply do not work as well in men and typically a more involved procedure is needed. The very limited surgery of a mini-lift often cannot lift enough of a man’s heavier tissue. Since the tissues in men’s faces are typically heavier, more aggressive lifting is often required to get comparable results. The deep plane or extended SMAS flap lifts, which elevate further into the face at a deeper level, are often required to attain the aesthetically most desirable results. These techniques pull the deep tissues of the face and neck without pulling the skin, so the skin never looks pulled and the face looks natural.
 

Facial Hair

One of the main differences in terms of facelift techniques used revolves around facial hair. Men typically have more facial hair which may dictate the incision type and position. Surgeons must be very careful to make incisions that will not disrupt follicles and cause excessive scarring where the hair cannot regrow.   For example, incisions must be camouflaged so that even when men wear their hair short, they do not show. The location may vary slightly between men and women. Typically the lift will pull the beard line closer to the ear. When there is a lot of laxity, this may even mean that men will need to shave very close to the front of their ears.
 

Anatomical Differences

There are also several major anatomical differences between male and female faces:   Women tend to have weaker facial skeletal and ligament structures which makes surgical manipulation easier. During male facelift surgery, the surgeon must be careful to not overly pull the skin or excise too much lax muscle as either function can result in an overly tight appearance.   Males often have heavier or larger faces with thicker skin, especially around the lower face, jaw, and neck areas. For this reason, most male facelift procedures have a focus in the lower half of the face. In the neck, male fat tends to be more fibrous, so liposuction may be less effective in removing fat.   Finally, men often have more vascular elements (veins and arteries) compared to women, which can equate to a higher risk of bleeding and scarring post-procedure.
 

Aesthetics

There’s a significant difference in men and women in terms of ideal facial aesthetics. In general, men tend to value sharper and more defined facial features, specifically along the jaw and neck area. Women, in contrast, often seek softer or more delicate facial features.   This means that there are stark differences in desired outcomes between the sexes. In male facelift surgery, the goal is to remodel the face to create a sharp chin, well defined jawline, and contoured neck. Female facelift surgery often involves restoring a natural oval shape and softer, smooth neckline. But whether you’re a man or woman, if plastic or reconstructive surgery is something you’re considering, there are many superb choices at your disposal.
 

Female Facelift Post-Op Care

A typical post-op for women following a traditional face lift includes a short stay in the recovery room for an hour or two, which we certainly recommend. The next day after adequate rest, we remove all of your bandages in our office, and after an examination, apply lighter bandages. We will give you instructions on caring for your incisions and stitches, which will be removed in seven to ten days.   There may be mild to moderate bruising and swelling for approximately one week. That said, you can begin to apply makeup after one week. Most patients return to work and social activities after two weeks but you must avoid strenuous physical exercise for 2-3 weeks.
 

Male Facelift Post-Op Care

Since men’s tissues are heavier, they can hold swelling for longer. Longer use of compression dressings and drains is sometimes needed in men. Since men have a higher risk of hematoma, or a collection of blood beneath the skin post op, they must be extra careful to avoid blood thinners like aspirin. Smoking must be strictly avoided for one month before and after surgery. Resumption of exercise may be delayed if swelling is prolonged.
 

Facelift Procedures in New York at Aristocrat Plastic Surgery & MedAesthetics

At Aristocrat Plastic Surgery & MedAesthetics, we believe that plastic surgery offers the ultimate expression of art in surgery. This is where age-appropriate surgery and effective beauty therapy can make you look younger and feel more confident. Whether or not you come in for a facelift, another less-invasive facial procedure, or another plastic surgery procedure entirely, we offer the most advanced techniques in plastic surgery on our premises created with an eye for beauty.   Your comprehensive consultation and subsequent procedure will be exceedingly informative, clear, and balanced, with attentive care and guidance every step of the way!  
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