Visible aging is a process, especially in the face. For most of us, the earliest signs begin in our 30s and progress from there. Patients who look to use cosmetic treatments to keep their youthful appearance typically start with non-surgical procedures like neuromodulators or facial fillers. These injectables can work wonders in eliminating fine lines and wrinkles; however, their results are temporary. A question we often hear at our Houston clinic is, “When should an individual move from dermal fillers to a surgical facelift?”
Fillers Vs. Facelift
When contemplating whether fillers or a facelift is the best course of action to turn back the effects of aging, you should start with a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon. These professionals have the expertise and the full spectrum of protocols to rejuvenate facial appearances. Many patients come to us with a self-diagnosis based on their research. They may tell us they need a little filler to address specific concerns. Often, especially early on they are correct; however, after a certain point, fillers may not be the right approach to resolve their issue. When this is the case, they may need to consider a surgical solution.
One misconception is that fillers are a non-surgical replacement for a facelift. With age, two fundamental changes are taking place with the face. The first is deflation, and the next is descent. Fillers address the deflation component of an aging face but do nothing about the descent of underlying tissue. A facelift is the only aesthetic procedure which can lift skin which loses elevation.
For board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Christopher Livingston, it is crucial to take the time and evaluate each patient. Then he can learn what they want to achieve and the procedure best suited to deliver their desired outcome. A good example is when an individual needs a facelift and is seeking temporary fillers; Dr. Livingston wants to know – why? Is it because:
- A lack of knowledge
- Fear of surgery
- Financial concerns
- Medical condition precludes surgery
Without an understanding of the patient’s full story, a surgeon is not able to offer a well-informed solution.
When is the Time to Move to a Facelift?
The media is full of stories which follow people who have gone too far with fillers. Their cheeks become overly puffy and are out of balance with other facial features. While some of these unfortunate outcomes result from too much filler, sometimes it’s because fillers are no longer viable.
When a patient experiences deflation in the mid-face it’s a sign to move on to a facelift. This section covers a large portion of the face (from the cheek area next to the nose to the cheek area next to the ear). It also includes the area next to the mouth (marionette lines). When there are multiple areas needing attention, it’s more likely a facelift offers the best solution.
Does My Age Factor into My Decision?
Although fillers are effective with younger patients, a facelift is suitable for any age. Dr. Livingston does not focus on the age of the individual but rather the cause of their cosmetic concerns. He feels it’s more about customizing the treatment for the patient according to their unique facial anatomy and their aesthetic goals.
An advantage in seeing a board-certified plastic surgeon is they can take you through every stage of your aging process. Dr. Livingston believes it’s best to start with the effects of aging when he can reverse them like with the use of dermal fillers; but as the patient ages and descent become more prominent, he will begin to discuss the advantages of surgery.
Starting the Process
A good surgeon will always choose the best solution which will leave their patient with the most natural results. Dr. Livingston wants to present the best version of yourself by implementing the most advanced treatment protocols available. To learn more about how he can help you achieve your aesthetic goals schedule a consultation.