The Evolution of the Facelift

The Evolution of the Facelift

When looking at your options for cosmetic surgery, it’s normal to look for the newest and the best available. Cosmetic treatments are constantly advancing, so there are more ways than ever to achieve your ideal look with the option that fits your goals best. However, when it comes to cosmetic surgery, there are a few tried and true options that have both changed and not changed. Options like the facelift have always been the gold standard for facial rejuvenation and still remain ahead despite many other treatments (both surgical and non-surgical) that come about. If you’re considering a facelift or even looking for the best options for facial rejuvenation, it can be helpful to know that the facelift is more effective than ever. Here’s what to know about it and how Dr. Kayastha can help achieve a natural, beautiful look.

What is a Facelift?

The facelift is one of the most popular facial cosmetic surgeries performed each year. That being said, most people have heard of the facelift but don’t know much beyond what they see from celebrities and public figures who have had them. The facelift is a cosmetic surgery that rejuvenates the aging tissues of the face through incisions and some expert techniques. Among other things, it’s an effective way to transform aging signs like folds, sagging, and hollowness. It’s most popular with patients in their 50s and beyond, although some options like the mini facelift are becoming more popular with patients in their 40s or younger.

The Origins of the Facelift

It may surprise you to know that the first facelifts were actually performed in the early 1900s and were built upon our recent understanding of facial anatomy gained from wounded soldiers in World War I. In fact, it’s unclear when the first facelift was performed and by whom. This is because early plastic surgery was a secretive phenomenon and wasn’t often published in academia or reported to the medical community. One of the first journals on the facelift was published in 1919, but it’s believed that the facelift may have been performed in secret for many years prior.

Facelift Techniques Through the Ages

The first facelifts were nothing more than skin excision – in short, excess skin was removed and the rest was smoothed over. Because it only addressed the surface tissues, the results weren’t long-lasting. Fortunately, during the 70s and beyond, facelift techniques began to evolve into some of the foundations for our modern approaches to facelift.

The SMAS Technique

The SMAS, or superficial musculoaponeurotic system, is a fibrous network of muscles and tissues under the skin. Plastic surgeons eventually found that manipulating this layer, rather than solely the skin, led to better and longer-lasting results. Additionally, it could be more easily combined with lower facial rejuvenation because this tissue layer extends down through the front of the neck. It soon became the standard for facelifts and was the first major advancement in facelift techniques in over 50 years.

The Deep Plane Facelift

The Deep Plane technique was the first to begin to incorporate the ligaments beneath the SMAS, which allowed for better correction and repositioning of the overlying tissues with less tension. First established in the 90s, it came with significant recovery time and higher risks but paved the way for our better understanding of the facial tissues and structures, as well as the role that fat and bone loss play in the aging process.

The Facelift of the 2000s Vs. The Facelift of the 2020s

When most people think of a facelift, a certain look comes to mind – mainly, a stretched or pulled look that can be a telltale sign of a facelift procedure. Although this was more common twenty or thirty years ago, the modern facelift takes a fundamentally different approach.

Up Vs. Out

Firstly, the facelift now takes a vertical approach rather than a horizontal one. In recent decades, the sagging tissues of the face were pulled outward rather than upward because of a misunderstanding of the way that aging affects the face. Gravity is one of the main causes for signs of aging like sagging or hollowness, so we now understand that rejuvenating the face upward is more appropriate and natural-looking than outward.

Shallow Vs. Deep

The second significant change in facelift techniques is the depth at which the facial tissues are manipulated. Whereas older facelift techniques addressed the skin and other surface-level tissues of the face, the modern-day facelift goes deeper. Underneath the facial muscles are ligaments that hold the tissues in place and can create unwanted tension when trying to manipulate the overlying tissues into a more upright position. By releasing these ligaments, this tension is also released and the facial tissues can be rejuvenated upward without a pulled or stretched look.

A Lighter Touch

An overall lighter approach to the facelift has also contributed to a more natural look as we advance. As we understand more about cosmetic surgery, we can do it more safely and with reduced need for general anesthesia. This can contribute to a drastically shorter recovery time and greater comfort while healing. Additionally, board-certified cosmetic surgeons now take a “less is more” approach for facial rejuvenation so there are less visible correction and more natural results that look like the best version of yourself.

How Do I Choose a Facelift Surgeon?

Since facelift techniques are always evolving, it’s important to find a facial plastic surgeon who understands the best in advancements and academics. A plastic surgeon who is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery is required to maintain ongoing education in their field, so always verify your surgeon’s credentials to ensure they have a complete understanding of facelift techniques as well as their history, evolution, and advancements.

Schedule a Consultation

The facelift is unparalleled when it comes to comprehensive facial rejuvenation. At K Plastic Surgery, we can create a customized treatment plan for you based on your cosmetic goals using the best in facelift approaches for a natural, refreshed look. To learn more, we encourage you to meet with Dr. Kayastha and our team by calling our office by calling 518-674-9060 or filling out our online form.