The face is made of multiple layers: the skin, sub dermal fat, and a muscle layer. The skin has in itself several components such as skin cells, pigment cells, and an extracellular matrix. This extracellular matrix is made up of elastic and collagen fibers, which keep the skin elastic. The muscle layer is made of a combination of muscle and tissue and is also known as the SMAS (superficialmusculo-aponeurotic system). Underneath the skin of the neck is a muscle layer called the platysma, which acts like a sling to keep the neck taut and youthful.
Every aspect of these components mentioned above changes with aging. The extracellular matrix of skin degrades and collagen and elastin fibers reduce in cross-linking quality and in total volume. The reduction of these proteins, collagen, and elastin, causes reduced elasticity in the skin, thinner skin, and fine lines in the skin itself.
Aging also causes loss of volume in the face. Many studies have shown that we lose bone volume AND soft tissue volume when we age. Finally, the force of gravity contributes to ptosis or drooping of the muscle/connective tissue layer of the face and neck.
All of these factors combine to the aging face. The aging face is typified by: thin skin, fine lines and wrinkles, loss of volume in the face, cheeks and under-eye area, and generalized ptosis (droopiness) of tissues of the midface, jowl region, and the neck.
What is a facelift?
The primary goal of facelift surgery is to tighten tissues which have started sagging due to age and gravity. A facelift will tighten the jowls and cheeks, the skin of the neck, tighten the neck tissues, and soften the smile lines. Advances in surgical techniques and materials allow tailoring facelifts for individual patients.
Some surgeons who perform facelifts in Houston only tighten the skin. The skin itself has no strength, and, as a result, these types of facelifts do not last more than a few months. At Athré Facial Aesthetics, all facelifts lift the muscle and tissue layer, leaving no tension in the skin; therefore, the effect lasts longer. In addition, incisions are hidden in order to produce a flawless final outcome. Dr. Athré also performs a mini facelift procedure called the RT Lift that is more affordable and requires less downtime than the traditional procedure.
The incision generally is made in the hair around the temples and around the ear. A small (less than 1″) incision is made right under the chin to sculpt and tighten the neck tissues. After the skin is lifted, the underlying muscle layer is tightened, and the excess skin is trimmed. Meticulous technique, attention to detail, and microscopic sutures all contribute to a natural, non-operated look.
The goal is to restore a very natural appearance and to have patients look like themselves—just refreshed. No two patients are identical, so no two facelifts Dr. Athré performs are the same. Tailoring the surgery for each patient is the only way to prevent a “pulled” or windblown appearance.
Facelifts are performed under sedation or general anesthesia. A facelift can be combined with other procedures such as eyelid surgery, fat transfer, or even brow surgery. The surgery itself takes approximately 3.5 hours, and patients are generally back to work in 7 to 10 days.
The best way to prevent photoaging or the breakdown of elastin and collagen is prevention. A medical grade sunblock can block the sun’s harmful UV rays, which causes the breakdown of collagen, uneven skin texture, and age spots. A full medical grade skin regimen can lightly resurface skin, remove fine lines, even skin color, and reverse existing skin damage.
Other nonsurgical options to help with facial anti-aging include laser skin resurfacing, chemical peels,and injectable fillers such as Juvéderm® and BOTOX® Cosmetic in Houston.
*Individual results may vary