If you want to slow the ticking clock of aging, then 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, such as 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).
Cosmetic surgery — aka a 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 $16 billion a year on cosmetic surgery and minimally invasive cosmetic procedures, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). But cosmetic surgery is not for everyone, and it does have risks. If you’re considering this path, here are some tips to help you reach a successful outcome.
1. Consider why you’re doing it
Going under a plastic surgeon’s 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 about the surgery and the reasons 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-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 also could consider cosmetic procedures that have more to do with resculpting your face than with correcting age-related changes. These procedures include cheek implants, nose surgery (rhinoplasty), chin implants and laser resurfacing.
To get an idea what these procedures will set you back, the ASPS provides this list of average costs.
Regardless of what procedure you choose, it will be 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 process will also determine whether you are a good candidate for different procedures. Be sure you get clarification from your plastic surgeon.
3. Shop around for a cosmetic surgeon
To start a search for a cosmetic surgeon, ask for recommendations from friends who have experience with cosmetic surgery or ask your general practitioner or dermatologist. Another source of information could be an aesthetician, because most have clients who have undergone some nips and tucks. Presumably, this is not an emergency, so take some time to be thoughtful about shopping around.
A good surgeon should be able to recommend appropriate procedures that will result in the most natural-looking results for your objectives.
This is a case where you really need to compare the opinions and costs of at least two or three doctors who have a good reputation.