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How do I know if I am a good candidate for a facelift?

Erik A. Hoy, MD
Plastic Surgery
We all know what "old" looks like, and what message a wrinkled face conveys. However, the process by which the aged face develops is still not well understood. Certainly some people tend to age more gracefully than others, developing fewer or smaller facial wrinkles, which physicians refer to as "rhytids". We don't know why this is, but we do know what factors damage the skin and hasten the signs of facial aging. Sun exposure and smoking both result in the appearance of premature aging in the face. So does alcohol in excess, which is also avoidable. But how about things that are less avoidable: namely the facial movements that we perform hundreds of times a day, or how about gravity? The sum of these factors is the development of facial aging. If you live long enough, odds are, you will experience most of them. But, which of these effects can be addressed by a facelift procedure?

The earliest elements of facial aging to appear are typically in the areas around the eyes. This is likely due to the many movements of the skin in this area each day in response to the facial muscles. The wrinkles that radiate out from the sides of our eyes are usually the earliest to appear, and these have several names, Crow's feet, or laugh lines are the most common however. Next to develop are often the oblique lines that travel from the sides of our noses to the corners of our mouth. These make the cheek look lower, tired, and lax. They are called the nasolabial folds or creases. Literally, this means "the fold between the nose and lip". Both Crow's feet and nasolabial folds are best dealt with by means of the facelift procedure. The facelift will help to rejuvenate sagging cheeks, tired eyes, and jowling that may develop below the corners of the mouth. Other areas that develop with aging are transverse furrows in the brow, and sagging in the neck, which are best dealt with by browlifts and necklifts, respectively. These are the indications that you are possibly a good candidate for a facelift. You must also be relatively healthy, since this is still a surgical procedure. High blood pressure, problems with scarring or wound healing, or smoking may preclude you from undergoing a facelift. Ask your surgeon for a comprehensive evaluation regarding the risks and benefits of the procedure for you.
Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgery

Schedule a consultation with a Board Certified Plastic surgeon to evaluate your candidacy for a facelift. Patients usually present in their mid-50s for face and neck lifts. Facelifts are useful for tightening the skin around the nasolabial folds, midfacial region, and the neck region. Endoscopic brow lifts are excellent for elevation of the eyebrows. Patients should be healthy and be cleared for surgery performed under either intravenous sedation or general anesthesia. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.