Have you ever heard the saying that aging brings wisdom? According to the late cartoonist, Tom Wilson, “Wisdom doesn’t necessarily come with age. Sometimes age just shows up all by itself.” And, as you know, wrinkles and other signs of facial aging show up by themselves, too!
Patterns of Facial Aging
Each of us ages in a specific pattern determined by our DNA. In other words, if one of your parents looked young for their age, you’re likely to be lucky enough to inherit that tendency. If one of your parents developed a turkey neck, you’ll probably do likewise. Lifestyle choices also influence the rate and pattern of facial aging. Smoking, for example, increases the likelihood of premature facial aging, particularly around the mouth: you’ve heard the phrase, “smoker’s lines,” right? That phrase refers to the vertical lines that one gets above the upper lip in response to repeatedly pursing the lips to inhale a cigarette. Another lifestyle choice that contributes to facial aging is sun exposure: the earlier you were exposed to the sun’s rays and the more exposure you have, the greater the likelihood that you’ll experience tough skin texture and deep wrinkling as your skin’s response to the UVA and UVB rays. Poor sleep, drinking too much alcohol, weight loss and gain cycles, and certain medications also contribute to facial aging.
Take a look at the photo below, which graphically demonstrates the change in the facial structure over time. The face on the left shows that, in a young face, the facial volume is at its highest in the cheek area. As the cheeks descend with time, the facial volume descends to the jaw area.
Even with a healthy lifestyle and lucky genes, facial aging is inevitable. You just can’t fight gravity! The root cause of facial aging is atrophy. What’s atrophy? Atrophy is the shrinking of facial bones and tissues beneath the skin that leads to wrinkles, drooping of the cheeks, jowling, and sagging in the neck. Furthermore, as we age, the production of elastin and collagen, the building blocks of young skin, begins to slow down. Our skin loses elasticity, that youthful “bounce-back” we once had.
While you might be OK with getting older (considering the alternative), looking older is another matter! Fortunately, I have a variety of anti-aging treatments at my Indiana plastic surgery practice that can treat facial aging. One of them is called the Liquid Facelift.
Surgical Facelifts vs. Liquid Facelifts
You’re undoubtedly familiar with the concept of a surgical facelift. Once reserved for the wealthy, facelifts have improved dramatically over the decades. You may have heard these names bandied about: mini-facelift, deep plane facelift, SMAS lift, short-scar lift, laser lift, QT lift, weekend lift—is your head spinning? Regardless of the name, a facelift treats sagging in the mid-face (cheeks) and the neck by lifting the structures beneath the face and neck and eliminating excess skin. A facelift can be performed under general anesthesia or local anesthesia plus sedation. However, since most facelift patients want to rejuvenate the eyes (a separate surgery called a blepharoplasty), general anesthesia is the most common choice. Recovery is fairly rapid, requiring only a week or so away from work and social engagements. A surgical facelift can be combined with a laser treatment for skin rejuvenation, as well as fat transfer to plump the areas of the face in need of volume, such as the cheeks, temples, wrinkles around the mouth, and the lips.
In comparison, a Liquid Facelift is performed without surgery or anesthesia, and has a very short recovery time. By injecting Botox® plus fillers or fat, the patient’s facial features are lifted and tightened. Although a liquid facelift must be repeated several times a year to maintain correction, the injection of hyaluronic acid fillers, such as Juvéderm®, Restylane® and Restylane Silk®, encourages the skin to produce more collagen, which nourishes your skin for a more youthful look.
Fillers Used in a Liquid Facelift
Depending upon my patient’s unique facial aging pattern, the following fillers might be used in conjunction with Botox® to lift the facial features and plump fine lines and wrinkles:
This smooth injectable gel is an excellent replacement for the facial fat that disappears with aging. Its hyaluronic acid ingredient boosts the body’s own collagen production. An excellent filler for the wrinkles around the mouth, Juvéderm® lasts about nine months.
Voluma XC was created specifically to lift and plump the cheeks, creating a beautiful lift in the mid-face that, in some patients, minimizes jowling as well. Results last approximately two years or longer.
Similar to Juvéderm® in that both are hyaluronic acid fillers, Restylane®’s firmer texture is excellent for deep wrinkles as well as the lips, two areas that require extra support. My Indiana Restylane® patients generally enjoy their Restylane® results for about 6 months.
How a Liquid Facelift Is Performed
A Liquid Facelift is performed in my plastic surgery office in Schererville or Valparaiso, and takes about an hour. After applying a numbing cream to the face, which is rinsed off after about 45 minutes, the injections are made, followed by ice packs to minimize swelling. Most patients experience relatively little discomfort due to the combination of numbing cream and the anesthetic in the fillers themselves. The use of a “dental block” of Lidocaine makes injecting into the sensitive lip area completely painless and is an option.
Recovery from a Liquid Facelift
Other than brief swelling and skin tightness, most of our Indiana Liquid Facelift patients leave our office and go about their activities immediately thereafter or, at most, the next day.
Does a Liquid Facelift Replace a Surgical Facelift?
No, it does not. Although a Liquid Facelift will provide significant correction of facial aging, it does not replicate the pronounced and long-lasting results of a surgical facelift. However, for many patients, the correction achieved with a Liquid Facelift is enough. At a time in the future when a Liquid Facelift cannot give my patient the results she seeks, we review the option of a surgical facelift. When you visit with me in my Indiana plastic surgery office, we’ll review all your options, from fillers to surgery, and mutually agree on the best course to take.
If you’ve decided that it’s time for facial rejuvenation, call me for a private consultation at 800-721-3244 or complete my online consultation request form.
To your health & beauty,
Gus Galante, MD
Board Certified Indiana Plastic Surgeon