How soon is it too early for a facelift?
Houston, TX, plastic surgeon Henry A. Mentz, MD has been practicing for approximately 30 years. “In the earlier years of my practice, patients who came for a facelift primarily looked like they needed a facelift. They were usually 65 years of age or older and showed significant signs of age. Most showed all four categories of aging: changes in skin quality such as age spots, fine lines and large pores, slackening of the skin shown by looseness around the eyes, cheeks and neck, sagging soft tissues when deep tissues such as browbones, cheeks and neck droop, and many had lost volume with cavities in their temples, eyes, cheeks, and around the mouth. Nowadays, patients’ perception of aging and appearance has certainly changed and the goal of staying young is paramount. Most of the time, women with minimal signs of age want to look like 35 and that’s fantastic. “
Have you seen the average age of a facelift patient get younger?
“When I started practicing – and you have to understand that this is Texas and the Texas sun is strong; and therefore, sun damage to the skin is widespread – many patients interested in facial rejuvenation at the time looked quite weathered. Some patients experienced signs of aging accompanied by weight loss and weight gain affecting the face; Not to mention, treatments like Botox Cosmetic and Filler weren’t that common. These patients came primarily because they appeared 10 years older than their peers.
In my experience, these were more demanding patients as more detail was required to get a satisfactory result.
For example, these patients benefited from complex procedures that went beyond just lifting, such as repositioning the eyebrows, lifting the soft tissues in the cheeks, loosening muscles in the neck, restoring volume with fat grafts, and skin rejuvenation with lasers, to name but a few to name a few. To achieve a refreshed and more youthful look, the procedure, which required layering different techniques with a single strategy, like the original tightening facelift, resulted in an overused and wind-blown appearance as the other issues like weathered skin and hollowness did not have been addressed.
Today, patients put more emphasis on their appearance and take care to maintain their youthfulness. Now it has become a much more satisfying experience for both surgeons and patients as they step in earlier and use preventive treatments like injections, facials, mini lasers, and radio frequency treatments for maintenance, and look out for mini lifts and small surgical adjustments before they do aging becomes visible. “
How many would you say on average?
“I will be doing about 150 facelifts and over 1,000 other facial rejuvenation and refinements per year. I still do a lot of mommy makeovers. I think COVID has in part increased the demand for facial rejuvenation. There are several parts to this equation. Number one: The spouses and caregivers work virtually at home and can help with recovery, which is a huge benefit. The second thing is that with the move to a more virtual society, people are paying more attention to how they look on camera, and often they feel that what they see is not as flattering as they like it to be would have.
Younger patients who work in the now virtual office space say, “I really don’t like the way I look. In fact, I’m talking to my 50 year old friend who looks 10 years younger than me. What can I do to reduce the signs of aging a little? “
For these reasons, we are now seeing patients just starting to show their age and that makes it much easier to get an aesthetically satisfactory result. For me personally, this overall development has increased patient satisfaction and was very fun and exciting! “
Are patients coming for other procedures now?
“Yes, there are great opportunities now in facial aesthetic surgery because it has always been a creative and evolving field. I think Instagram and social media in general have gotten a little more buzz for these branding practices. Patients know their options better and people prefer to share their experiences and are therefore more open to new things. Most skilled facial surgeons today combine a variety of different surgical and non-surgical procedures to improve and / or maintain a patient’s overall outcome. There are many interesting things out there today that make aesthetic surgery more satisfying! For example the InMode devices, the Morpheus8 and the FaceTite – all new radio frequency technology that is safer and more predictable than older versions. These devices are very popular right now as they give patients more options in between. While these additional procedures are beneficial, I think that at the end of the day, proper assessment and personalized recommendation are most effective.
I predict we will see an explosion in facial rejuvenation and aesthetic surgery in 2021 and 2022, and I look forward to what’s to come. “
Is there something you think people should understand about the “right age” in any procedure?
“When we look at patients, it’s not so much chronological age that defines their needs. It really is the age they appear. I have just finished a 38 year old patient who is going through menopause and is going through all the changes that come with it. She was frustrated that her body and face had changed a lot, making her appear older than she actually was. So many things can affect apparent age, such as work stress, divorce, family illnesses, weight fluctuations, and pregnancy. The experience of life can lead to unexpected changes over which we have no control. You will inherit your parents’ genes, and when your parents look 60 and they are 100 you will be in good shape. However, most people are not that lucky. You can’t bypass your gene pool or life experiences, and you can’t bypass the blueprint God has given you, so it’s nice to be able to feel good inside and out and to have opportunities for improvement. Our motto is ‘The best is what we do.’ “
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