Women and men alike are interested in facial rejuvenation when it comes time to reverse some of those telltale signs of aging. The face is often the first – and most noticeable area – to show unwanted changes like skin laxity and the formation of creases. For patients with moderate to severe signs of aging, Dr. Lowenstein offers options in surgical facelifts.

Dr. Lowenstein often fields questions about avoiding an overdone look in facial surgery. He feels it is vital that patients understand the over-pulled, excessively tightening facial plastic surgery so often seen in Los Angeles and Hollywood is NOT the type of result that our Santa Barbara patients should expect. He employs innovative surgical procedures to create a naturally beautiful appearance – you will look like you, only refreshed and more youthful.

Dr. Lowenstein’s options in facial rejuvenation might also include procedures to address the neck, lower face, mid-face and cheek to provide a natural and refreshed appearance. Eyelid and brow surgery can also be combined with these procedures to provide a comprehensive approach to facial rejuvenation.

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Effects of Aging & Facial Rejuvenation

Aging of the face affects each patient individually, making consideration of any facial rejuvenation procedure a very personal decision. The facelift procedure or rhytidectomy addresses many aspects of the aging face to restore a refreshed, more youthful appearance. Areas of concern may be varied or specific.

The jowls and cheeks are a common area of interest for our patients wanting to reverse aging symptoms. There is a loss of youthful volume in the midface region with age, creating hollowing and loss of definition around the cheekbones. There may also be a concern along the jawline, as skin laxity can lead to jowl formation and the development of submental fat underneath the chin.

The appearance of lines near your eyelids or mouth or a lowering of the position of your brow may also become evident. While all these issues can be addressed surgically, no cookie-cutter operation will achieve all the goals you seek. The facelift operation must be specially customized to each of our patients to ensure the best results.

What are the benefits of a Facelift?

A facelift can correct various cosmetic concerns in a single procedure. As Dr. Lowenstein performs this surgery, multiple areas can be improved, from the jawline to the under-eye. The personalization of each case results in optimal outcomes for patients of varying degrees of aging.

A facelift can reduce the appearance of nasolabial folds around the nose and mouth, lift sagging jowls to restore an angular jawline, and reinstate youthful contours to the cheeks. In all, a facelift recreates the appearance of youthfulness that looks natural and lasts for years.

Preparing for Your Facelift

When considering a facelift procedure, a careful assessment involves evaluating your facial balance and proportions. Your skin quality, the appearance and position of facial lines and your bony facial structure must all be considered. The meticulous analysis of the patient’s facial form is one of the most exciting aspects of plastic surgery. Dr. Lowenstein truly enjoys his interaction with the patient during this process.

Of course, your general health must also be carefully assessed before a facelift. Any surgery is accompanied by a degree of risk, and a comprehensive evaluation of your health status will go far in minimizing some of those risks. Dr. Lowenstein’s goal is that every patient leaves the pre-operative consultation with a thorough understanding of the facial issues to be addressed and the procedure of surgical correction.

Facelift Techniques

As techniques in facelift procedures have evolved, many different operations have been touted as the best way to achieve a more youthful appearance.

Dr. Lowenstein believes that a safe approach to the facelift procedure is a top priority. He also knows that select patients may benefit from a combination of surgical techniques.

The SMAS, or suspension layer of the face, is almost always addressed in these operations, restricting a patient’s ability to have a mini-facelift or limited-incision procedure. However, the results of adjusting the SMAS are almost always more dramatic and natural.

How Long Does a Facelift Procedure Take?

In general, a facelift can take two to five hours. However, the duration of any surgery is dependent on multiple factors. These include the extent of the lift, the technique used, and the inclusion of ancillary procedures such as blepharoplasty.

Dr. Lowenstein performs every facelift in response to the unique changes as a patient has aged. The customization of each technique also influences the time a patient may be under general or local anesthesia.

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An Individualized Approach for Facial Rejuvenation

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What is the SMAS Layer?

The SMAS layer can be manipulated during surgery to provide a thinner facial shape in patients with a round face, and it can be repositioned to produce volume in a face that has hollowed over time. By focusing on the SMAS, Dr. Lowenstein can enhance the contour of the cheek or improve the appearance of the eyelid.

Through his specific knowledge of facial anatomy, combined with a wide breadth of surgical techniques, Dr. Lowenstein can create an individualized approach to facial rejuvenation.

What Procedures Can Be Combined with a Facelift?

In combination with the facelift operation, ancillary procedures may be utilized to achieve optimal results. These may include eyelid surgery such as blepharoplasty, brow elevation, lip lifting or augmentation, or reducing the deeper lines and shadows above and below the corners of the mouth, including the nasolabial folds and marionette lines.

In-depth discussions of each of these procedures allow the patient and the surgeon to feel comfortable with the process moving forward.

About the Facelift Procedure

Incisions for this procedure are typically made around the ear in the natural creases of the skin and within the hairline, where visible scarring after surgery will be minimal. Through these incisions, Dr. Lowenstein will reposition the underlying layers and remove excess skin to create a smooth, natural facial contour with a more youthful definition.

Dr. Lowenstein’s cheek lift reverses signs of aging by restoring each area of volume in the midface to more youthful proportions. The surgery involves well-hidden incisions that allow access to replace malar fat over the cheek and create the beautiful contour that we see in magazine models. The buccal tissue is further lifted, reducing the skin laxity over the nasolabial crease and reducing the shadow in that area.

Does a Facelift Require Anesthesia?

Facelifts are usually performed under general anesthesia, although less invasive procedures may be done using local anesthesia with sedation. Dr. Lowenstein will go over your options with you at your initial consultation.

What should I avoid after a Facelift procedure?

After facelift surgery, it is wise to be low-key for several days. Patients find recovery much more pleasant when they have arranged for help around the house and with familial duties such as child and pet care. While it is beneficial to walk after surgery to maintain good circulation, this must be done slowly. Activity should also be limited to short walks as tolerated. More strenuous activities like lifting and jogging should wait until Dr. Lowenstein clears you to resume them.

How Should You Sleep After a Facelift?

After a facelift, it is necessary to sleep on your back with your head elevated. This position helps minimize swelling. It also prevents unnecessary discomfort and strain on facial skin and tissues. In addition to stacking pillows behind the head, you may increase comfort by placing extra pillows at the sides of your head, taking care not to touch the face.

Dramatic, Long-Lasting Results

While a facelift is a surgical procedure that involves some downtime afterward, the results of this surgery can be both dramatic and long-lasting. Facelifts can shave up to 10-15 years off the face, with an outcome that lasts approximately 10 years before the signs of aging begin to creep in once again.

To learn more about this procedure or find out if a surgical facelift is the right choice for you, contact Montecito Plastic Surgery at 805-969-9004.

How Long After a Facelift Procedure Will I Start to See My Results?

While bandages may be removed just a few days after a facelift and some improvement may be noticed, we do not expect patients to be comfortable showing off their results right away. Bruising and swelling tend to persist for 7 to 10 days.

After the first week of recovery, bruising and swelling subside, but patients may have visible puckering around incisions. These side effects typically improve dramatically over a few weeks.

After two to three weeks, most patients are pleased with the results of their procedure and are ready to return to their daily lives and social activities. In general, the results of facelift surgery look good after a month and even better after three.

What Are the Risks of a Facelift Procedure?

All surgical procedures carry inherent risks. Potential complications associated with facelift surgery are rare but include:

  • Poor reaction to anesthesia
  • Infection at the surgical site
  • Temporary or permanent nerve damage
  • Blood accumulation beneath the skin (hematoma)
  • Fluid accumulation beneath the skin (seroma)
  • Imperfect healing process, especially among smokers
  • Noticeable scarring

The risks of plastic surgery can be minimized by choosing an experienced, board-certified surgeon to perform your procedure. Patients must also follow the advice and instruction of their surgeon both before and after surgery to maintain the lowest possible surgical risk.

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What Is the Santa Barbara Blended Cheek and Neck Lift?

The Blended Cheek and Neck Lift reflects a modern three dementia understanding of detailed facial anatomy. Repositioning and sculpting of fallen facial tissue provide an individualized rejuvenating procedure. The Blended Cheek and Neck Lift is designed to make patients appear as more youthful, rested versions of themselves.

What Causes Facial Aging?

Studies of facial anatomy have mapped out specific regions of volume that give the face its younger appearance. Specialized layers of connective tissue envelop these areas and maintain their position in our early years.

The primary connective tissue is called the SMAS and is in continuity with the broad, flat neck muscle called the platysma. As we age, we lose volume in our face, while the connective tissue of both the skin and the SMAS weakens.

Facial tissues tend to droop over the jawline, producing unwanted wrinkles and jowls. Similarly, these mechanisms cause excess skin and banding in the neck as the underlying platysma muscle cannot retain its youthful contour.

What Is the Difference Between Pulling and Sculpting?

In an operation to restore the facial appearance to its youthful version, attention must be paid not only to the overlying skin but particularly to the volume below it. Pulling the skin alone results in an awkward and temporary result.

These telltale signs of facial plastic surgery are avoided with Dr. Lowenstein’s facelift in Santa Barbara. It is a sculpting of the tissue underneath the skin, made up of the SMAS and the platysma, that provides the appearance of an optimal facelift.

How Does a Facelift Improve the Neck?

The platysma, as it ages, can form bands in the neck as its supportive structure weakens. As part of the Santa Barbara Face Lift, the platysma muscle is tightened under the jaw and laterally in the neck, effectively supplying a corset or sling to reshape this area. In some patients, resection or sculpting of fat either with liposuction or with direct fat removal is performed to further contour this area.

How Does the Cheek Age?

As we get older, the youthful fatty tissue that lies over the cheekbone area falls. This tissue is called malar fat. The bright, youthful appearance of our cheeks lessens as there is less volume over the apex of the cheekbones, and falling malar fat can produce unwanted shadows in the cheek below the eyes.

Volume loss also affects the fat in the lower part of the mid-face, called the buccal region. This produces a more hollow appearance, which is also a sign of aging. As the volume loss in the mid-face progresses, the overlying skin, which used to drape smoothly over the youthful face, sags and worsens the shadow of the nasolabial fold below it.

What Is the Nasolabial Fold?

The nasolabial fold, sometimes called the nasolabial crease, is a highly misunderstood region of the face. It represents a tight connection between the skin and the underlying facial structure. While injection of soft tissue filler into the nasolabial folds can help soften their depth, significant injections are not recommended. The worsening of the shadow of this crease occurs because of the loss of volume and elasticity in the cheek and the sagging and falling of this tissue.

Are Soft Tissue Fillers the Answer?

A puffed-out, over-filled nasolabial fold treated with excessive injectable does not produce a youthful or even natural appearance. The nasolabial folds appear worse as we age because the cheek above falls downward as we get older, causing a worsening shadow in the crease. The fix for this problem is not to fill the area below the collapsed tissue but instead to lift the cheek back to its youthful position.

How Does the Mid-face or Cheek Lift Work?

Dr. Lowenstein’s cheek lift reverses signs of aging by re-suspending each specialized area of volume to its proper position through well hidden and limited incisions. The malar fat is replaced over the cheek to provide the beautiful contour that we see in every magazine cover-girl. The buccal tissue is additionally lifted, reducing the skin excess and laxity over the nasolabial crease and thereby reducing the shadow of the nasolabial fold.

How Is a Mid-face or Cheek Lift Performed?

Dr. Lowenstein’s Cheek Lift is performed through a lower eyelid incision and most often incorporates lower eyelid rejuvenation. The natural fat of the cheek is accessed through this small incision. Elevation of the soft tissue of the cheek, called the malar fat, produces two excellent results: rejuvenation of the soft tissue of the cheek and improvement of the shadows of the nasolabial folds.

What Can Be Done About Skin Laxity?

Either with a facelift or in the months following a facelift, newly re-draped skin over the sculpted face can be further tightened without the over-pulled look, only at Dr. Lowenstein’s Plastic Surgery Center, using the revolutionary cool helium plasma skin tightening treatment. By utilizing the cool helium plasma beam on the underside of the skin, the skin itself is allowed to tighten without excess mechanical pulling, avoiding the “operated look” but creating a skin conditioning improvement seen nowhere else on the Central California Coast. For more information on plasma reconditioning, visit our dedicated page here.

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