As one of the most well-respected female facial plastic surgeons in the Newport Beach area, Dr. Tenley Lawton takes great pride in the natural-looking results she helps her facelift patients achieve. Board-certified plastic surgeons have a great responsibility to help patients make educated decisions that will enhance their lives—not just their appearance—and Dr. Lawton takes that responsibility very seriously.
Effects on the Face
The sunshine in beautiful Newport Beach has its health benefits, but the cumulative effects of sun exposure make skin age more quickly and cause complexions to dull. Add time, age, genetics and gravity, and the skin can become loose, the jawline less defined. This can lead to a marked discrepancy between your visible age and your body image.
A facelift can erase and soften the most visible signs of aging by removing excess fat, tightening underlying muscles and re-draping the skin of the face and neck. Newport Beach plastic surgeon Dr. Lawton strives to provide facelift patients with a renewed appearance of well-being, with a refreshed, natural face. This can sometimes be achieved with a facelift alone, although it is often performed in conjunction with other cosmetic or medical procedures such as a forehead lift, eyelid surgery or nasal surgery. As a female plastic surgeon in Newport Beach, Dr. Lawton is dedicated to safety, natural results and creating profiles that reflect both the inner and outer beauty of her patients.
The Facelift Procedure
Facelift incisions are generally camouflaged in natural creases around the ear and in the hairline. The position and length of the incision vary depending upon the degree of changes. To provide a longer-lasting and effective facelift, the support structures of the face are tightened and re-suspended, while excess fat and skin are removed.
According to Dr. Lawton, a facelift procedure typically lasts between three and four hours. It is typically performed at her accredited surgery center in Orange County, although sometimes, depending upon related procedures, it can be performed in the hospital. Patients typically have an overnight stay at an aftercare facility the night of surgery and are seen the morning following surgery before returning home.
Facelift Incision Types
We all age in different ways. That’s why a variety of facelift incision types are often employed to complement a patient’s unique features and desires. Rather than offering a one-size-fits-all approach, Dr. Lawton is experienced and proficient in several facelift techniques, each designed to offer patients a pathway to a more youthful-looking face and greater self-confidence. The three primary facelift types performed by Dr. Lawton include:
Endoscopic Facelift: Among the most non-invasive facelift options, an endoscopic facelift is used primarily for patients who seek correction of sagging cheeks. During this procedure, three small incisions are made in easily hidden areas around the face. A pencil-sized tool, called an endoscope, is inserted to enable Dr. Lawton to see the interior structure of the face and make corrections to improve youthfulness. The endoscopic approach itself is somewhat limited, so it often is combined with other facelift techniques.
Short-Scar Facelift: A short-scar technique may be employed in cases where patients want a minimally invasive approach, but desire results that are more potent than are possible with an endoscopic facelift. During a short-scar facelift, Dr. Lawton will make an incision along the temple (in front of the ear). This incision will usually be s-shaped, a type of incision that still allows for the “re-draping” that makes facelift procedures so effective. This less-invasive approach provides more options for anesthesia and aftercare. Short-scar procedures usually can be performed on an outpatient basis.
Deep Plane Lift: The biggest signs of aging aren’t always due to your skin. Sometimes, it’s the architectural underpinnings of your face that cause you to look older. In these cases, a deep plane lift may be the best technique. During this technique, several incisions are made along your face, including along the temples leading down and around your ear. An additional incision might be made along the hairline. Once those incisions are made, Dr. Lawton will reposition the superficial musculoaponeurotic system (or SMAS for short), the muscular architecture framework located just beneath your skin that allows for your face’s expression. This repositioning, combined with the type of re-draping that can remove lines and wrinkles, often leads to stunning, natural-looking transformations. That’s why the deep plane lift is among the most common facelift techniques employed by board-certified plastic surgeons such as Dr. Lawton.
All facelift techniques have their own benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to discuss all of your options with Dr. Lawton before deciding on the most appropriate direction. Additionally, many facelift techniques may be combined during your facelift procedure in order to achieve the best possible results. Most facelift patients want to look significantly more youthful in a way that still appears natural. Dr. Lawton’s skill and expertise with modern facelift techniques can help many patients achieve that kind of transformation.
Recovery from facelift procedures can vary depending on the technique. Procedures that employ less-invasive approaches generally have shorter recovery periods. However, most patients will be able to return to the majority of daily activities after three weeks or so. In general, patients can expect the following breakdown of recovery times:
Week 1: Patients usually experience both swelling and bruising during the first week. In some cases, they may have tubes left in place in order to facilitate drainage and control swelling. Any stitches and sutures left in place usually will be removed by the end of the first week. Generally, patients should focus on their recovery during this first week—avoid strenuous activity, but be sure to move the body enough to promote healing.
Weeks 2-3: Patients should carefully follow Dr. Lawton’s recovery instructions. Swelling and bruising likely will persist through this period, but patients should avoid wearing makeup until Dr. Lawton has given approval. Patients also are usually advised to sleep with additional pillows in order to keep the head elevated, which helps with swelling and bruising.
Month 1: Any lingering bruising and swelling should begin to subside after the fourth week or so. Once the swelling begins to abate, patients should start recognizing their new youthful and vibrant features.
Dr. Lawton provides all of her patients with personalized recovery instructions in order to achieve the best possible results. Additionally, patients will meet with Dr. Lawton periodically during their recovery period for post-operative checkups in order to ensure the body is healing properly and results are on track.
As with any plastic surgery procedure, a facelift does not stop the aging process. The results may last 5 to 10 years, and many individuals decide to repeat the procedure in the future. The effects of a facelift are lasting, however. You will continue to look better and younger than if you had never had the surgery at all. You can prolong the benefits of your facelift by maintaining your overall health and taking good care of your skin with the use of sunscreen and noninvasive skincare treatments.
Am I a Good Candidate for a Facelift?
There are many ways to reduce lines and wrinkles in the face, from dermal fillers and Botox to deep plane facelifts. The spectrum of facial plastic surgery procedures can be quite intimidating, so how can you tell if you’re a good candidate for a facelift? In general, good facelift candidates will display some of the following characteristics:
- A significant amount of excess skin around the face and neck.
- Unwanted lines and wrinkles across a broad area of the face and/or neck.
- Good bone structure (if bone structure is not conducive to a full facelift “re-draping,” other options may be discussed).
- Relatively good skin elasticity to facilitate effective healing (skin elasticity declines with age naturally, so this is usually judged on a sliding scale).
- Realistic expectations about what a facelift can accomplish.
- Relatively good health (patients should be healthy enough for surgery).
In some cases, patients have already tried other approaches to achieve results, including the use of Botox or dermal fillers. Other patients may need to consider complementary procedures in order to achieve their desired outcome. The same approach doesn’t work for all patients. During your consultation with Dr. Lawton, you will discuss the best way to achieve the results you want and what you can expect from your facelift procedure. You should also be prepared to talk about your medical history, including any previous surgeries or procedures.
Would you like to learn more about a Facelift procedure? Fill out the “Request a Consultation” form on this page or call Tenley K. Lawton M.D. at 949-640-0999 to schedule your consultation with Board-Certified plastic surgeon Dr. Tenley Lawton serving Newport Beach and the greater Orange County, CA area.