When it comes to aging, the face and skin are often top concerns for patients. This can dramatically change one’s appearance, despite still feeling youthful. While everyone can take anti-aging measures, it is impossible to completely halt the aging process. Eventually, good skincare, neurotoxins, fillers, and other anti-aging techniques will not achieve the results they once did. If a patient has loose, sagging skin in the lower face, a facelift may address this and slow aging. Two of the top facelift surgeons from Seattle and the Eastside, Dr. David Santos and Dr. Ludwig Allegra, provide the best facelift Bellevue, Kirkland, and Seattle offers.
The facelift procedure is one of the most common techniques we utilize for facial rejuvenation. Modern techniques allow for excellent long-term results with surprisingly little recovery or discomfort. The facelift is not well named: it is a neck and jowl lift that rejuvenates the lower half of the face. Conversely, a brow lift addresses the upper half of the face.
We all experience similar changes over time which result in the typical aging changes of the lower face. These include a loss of the youthful jawline and the development of jowling. Aging affects the midface causing more prominence of the folds of skin to the sides of the mouth and nose. The neck area often will lose its youthful profile and develop “bands” of excess tissue. General laxity of tissue occurs due to the loss of structural support, elastic tissue, and collagen. This loss of resilience and spring to the skin quality adds to lines and wrinkles.
Various other non-surgical procedures and a healthy lifestyle can promote less aging over time. Even if you take good care of your skin, aging will still eventually occur. Fillers can disguise wrinkles and lines, such as the ones that form between the nose and mouth. When these lines are not the only problem or become especially deep, a facelift may be the best option. A facelift physically tightens the skin and muscle structures to address wrinkles and loss of elasticity.
There is considerable variability of aging from person to person. However, there are definite common causative factors for skin aging:
One of the most important considerations for facelifts is the attention to detail important in avoiding a “surgical” appearance. It is essential to avoid the typical “over-stretched” appearance we are all too familiar with. Important details recognized include:
Hairline: It’s important to not shift the position of the hair in front of the ear or create a “notched” effect at the hairline behind the ear. It should be possible to wear the hair pulled back and not see a significant scar.
Tissue suspension: The support structures under the skin should remain supported and the skin itself not simply trimmed and pulled. By achieving strong support under the surface, the skin simply ‘comes along for the ride’ in a natural and youthful direction.
Attention to these areas will result in an extremely pleasing natural and long lasting result. The overall expectation should be one of improvement and enhancement of facial youthfulness and vigor and an increased sense of beauty.
Our plastic surgeons, Dr. Ludwig Allegra and Dr. David Santos each have over thirty years of experience performing facelift surgery. Dr. Allegra and Dr. Santos are both board-certified facial plastic surgeons. Each surgeon pioneered new, minimally invasive techniques for facial plastic surgery. Their experience and advanced techniques promote a quicker, easier recovery.
Dr. Ludwig Allegra has served the Bellevue and Kirkland areas for over three decades as a facial plastic surgeon. He regularly performs facelifts, brow lifts, rhinoplasty, and blepharoplasty procedures. Dr. Allegra was one of the first to adopt endoscopic facial plastic surgery and led the nation in embracing these surgical techniques. Recently, Dr. Allegra has begun combining his facelifts with a laser resurfacing procedure. This increases skin quality and promotes longer lasting results.
Dr. David Santos is a facial plastic surgeon who specializes in non-invasive facelift techniques. Dr. Santos has performed or supervised thousands of facelift surgeries throughout his decades long career. He has held multiple medical directorships both related to plastic surgery and as a medical professional. Dr. Santos continues to refine his craft. Looking to reduce the risk of facelift and mini facelift surgery, Dr. Santos spearheaded the use of local anesthesia during facelifts. This allowed him to change more lives with facelift surgery while also reducing risk and recovery time.
A licensed anesthesia provider will place you under general anesthesia for your Bellevue facelift surgery. The recovery from the anesthetic is usually about one hour, after which you can usually go home. Dr. Santos also often performs facelifts under local anesthesia. This can reduce the risk of general anesthesia and can lead to a reduced, easier recovery. Patients who are good candidates for a facelift usually have a say in their choice of anesthesia with Dr. Santos.
The actual procedure requires approximately one to three hours and involves a meticulous elevation and freeing of tissue. Your plastic surgeon will also elevate a second layer of supporting tissue (the SMAS layer). It is this layer that your plastic surgeon firmly re-suspends the deeper tissues. Your plastic surgeon will treat excess fatty tissue with liposuction particularly in the fat pad under the chin area. Following this, the skin tissue is “re-draped” in a natural direction with the removal of excess skin.
Meticulous closure along the incision lines then helps assure excellent camouflage of the incision. A wrap around dressing is then applied to reduce the tendency for swelling or bruising. The head turban pressure dressing is kept in place overnight and removed the following day in the office. Individuals may go home if reasonably nearby or may elect to stay at the hotel across from our Carillon Point office.
Recovery is rapid with a reasonable, socially presentable appearance between five days (with makeup) to approximately ten days (often without makeup). Generally, you can expect only minor bruising or swelling in the lower neck area. Pain is usually minor and rarely even requires medication. Many patients are up and reasonably active by the second day.
Your plastic surgeon will instruct you to place cold compresses around the face and neck areas. The patient is requested to keep the head elevated for one to two days. Your plastic surgeon will remove the dressing in the next few days in the office. Hydrogen peroxide placed on Q-tips may treat and clean the wounds in and around the ear. Bacitracin is placed on the incisions in front of the ear.
You can begin showering the day after the procedure. It is important to refrain from performing any rigorous exercise or strenuous activity until at least two weeks after the surgery: lifting, bending over, and exercising. This can increase bruising and will slow healing down. You should minimize any head movement as well. Lateral stretching of the head (which might occur when driving) is not recommended for the initial week. Your plastic surgeon will remove clips after five to seven days and at which point you can apply makeup.
You can expect swelling and discoloration to a certain degree in the neck and behind the ears. Both generally dissipate within one to two weeks. If one has flown in for the procedure, it is generally possible to safely fly back one week after the procedure.
Following a facelift procedure, the “hands of the clock” are turned back for the long term. Physiologically you remain the same age, but the appearance of the face stays more youthful. Patients may see anywhere from 10 to 20 years of improvement in one’s facial appearance. However, we will still age and the manifestations of the aging process will continue to exert their effects on the face.
Nevertheless, when comparing one’s appearance after a facelift to one’s peers, the sense of a more youthful appearance continues over time. As a general concept, one can expect that there is a return to baseline appearance in about 10 years. However, one is still 10 years ahead of peers. A percentage of individuals who undergo a facelift may desire a repeat facelift after about ten years. This is easily and effectively accomplished.
Dr. Ludwig Allegra and Dr. David Santos are accomplished plastic surgeons who have performed thousands of facelift surgeries. With decades of individual experience and over fifty years of combined experience, Dr. Allegra and Dr. Santos offer the best facelifts Bellevue, Kirkland, and Seattle provide.
Northwest Face & Body has served the Eastside’s plastic surgery needs since 1983. Located on the shores of Lake Washington, Northwest Face & Body is just minutes from downtown Kirkland and Bellevue. Offering the best in cosmetic surgery and non-surgical procedures, Northwest Face & Body is the Eastside’s premier plastic surgery provider.
To schedule a consultation at Northwest Face & Body, call. us at 425-576-1700. You can also contact us online via our Price Simulator™ app, contact form, and chat.