If you want to slow the ticking clock of aging, eating right, exercising and otherwise taking good care of yourself can make a huge difference. But when it comes to our faces, it’s pretty hard to undo what time, genetics and bad habits, like smoking and sun-worshipping, hath wrought. Potions and lotions rarely have a dramatic impact on lines, wrinkles and spots (though we never cease to hope).
The face-lift, however, is an investment that really can make a difference, if you’re willing to pay the price. Lots of people are, apparently. As a nation, we spend about $8 billion a year on cosmetic surgery, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). But cosmetic surgery is not for everyone, and it does have risks. If you’re taking this path, here are some tips to help you reach a successful outcome.
1. Consider why you’re doing it
Going under the knife is a pretty big deal, even as the surgeries become more routine and the post-procedure recovery time shrinks. Still, practitioners typically urge cosmetic-surgery patients to carefully consider their expectations of the surgery and why they are doing it.
“You don’t do it to get your job, or to make your spouse happy,” says Dr. Blane Shatkin, a plastic surgeon in the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, area. “You do it for yourself, and that’s the only reason to do it. So if you don’t feel that way, then you shouldn’t be coming to me.”
2. Become familiar with the options
A face-lift is not a one-size-fits-all affair. There are a number of procedures that are commonly used, alone and in combination, to combat signs of aging, including:
- Eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty): For treating droopy eyelids, bags or puffiness around the eyes. This procedure is not for fine lines, dark circles under your eyes or crow’s-feet, according to WebMD.
- Forehead/brow lift: This procedure lifts the skin on the forehead and upper part of the face to correct deep forehead wrinkles, frown lines and heavy brows. WebMD explains that there are two methods for this: classic surgery and a less-invasive endoscopic approach.
- Face and neck lift (rhytidectomy). This is the most extensive surgical approach for minimizing wrinkles and sagging of the face and neck, as well as jowls and double chin that can develop with age. “In a traditional face-lift, the skin is literally lifted off the face so that the skin and the tissues beneath can be tightened and the skin can be repositioned smoothly over the face,” WebMD explains.
While you’re at it, if you have other complaints about your appearance, you could also consider other cosmetic procedures that have more to do with resculpting your face than with correcting age-related changes, including cheek implants, nose surgery (rhinoplasty), a chin implant and laser resurfacing.
Regardless of what you choose, it’s surgery, so it comes with some risks, and you should be well aware of them. Your health, skin type and the degree of your aging symptoms will also determine whether you are a good candidate for different procedures. Be sure you get clarification from your plastic surgeon.