Faces age in many different ways and at varying rates. Today, there are a myriad of facial rejuvenation paths available to you, both surgical and non-surgical. Beautiful, natural looking results have replaced the tight, expressionless, “overdone” looks of years’ past. Sometimes a combination of procedures is necessary to achieve the results you desire. The time you spend in consultation with Dr. Lee will be very important in determining which procedures you might consider to meet your expectations.
“Facial rejuvenation is highly individualized and must be addressed holistically. It’s all about balance and harmony. I am eager to hear each patient’s focus of concern and determine the best way to improve what bothers them. Patients are very interested when I explain how the overall pattern of aging is specifically affecting them. Sometimes non-invasive treatments are all that is necessary. Other times we talk about how interrelated rejuvenation really is…for example, you have to be aware how performing a face lift will influence the lower eyelids. Doing isolated procedures can sometimes make other areas look out of proportion or obviously “older.” This is why our discussion in consultation is so important. I want what is best for each patient. If I can accomplish their goals and make them happy, then I am satisfied. They need to know I am going to take care of them throughout the whole process.” — Michael Lee, M.D.
No two faces are alike. Consequently, the treatment is predicated on each patient and what they desire. The consultation is important because facial rejuvenation is multifaceted. Non-surgical and surgical procedures should work in concert to reverse the effects of aging and deliver a natural aesthetic result. An optimal aesthetic plan is one that fits the patient’s lifestyle, age, medical conditions, and tolerance for downtime. What can and cannot be accomplished given a patient’s expectations and circumstances is the purpose of a comprehensive consultation. Dr. Lee believes educating the patient is paramount in having them understand the effects of one plan over another so they can choose the course most comfortable for them.
Since we all age at different rates and in different ways, there is no universal age for a facelift. Timing is important for the most benefit possible. During consultation, Dr. Lee will help you devise an individualized plan based on your needs and desires. Many non-surgical approaches are available for facial rejuvenation. Non-invasive energy based technologies can help improve mild laxity. Facial fillers restore volume. Lasers and peels improve skin texture and fine lines. It is doubtful however that facelifts will be relegated to surgical history anytime soon. A facelift is still the only repositioning and firming procedure that reliably lifts and tightens the face and neck while correcting banding in the neck.
Dr. Lee assesses a face holistically from the top, down: brow position–have the brows sunk? Upper and lower lids–is there excess skin or fat? Tear trough–any deformity? Lower eyelid/cheek junction–is it smooth or hollow? Cheeks–have they lost volume or descended, causing nasal labial folds and marionette lines? Jawline–are there jowls? Neck–is there extra skin and fat? With age we often lose skin elasticity and volume, and the volume we do retain, drops. “Gravity rules the solar system–and it impacts us as well,” says Dr. Lee. His goal is to restore volume where it once was and treat specific areas where skin laxity contributes to an aged, tired appearance. Because Dr. Lee is proficient in multiple modalities–both surgical and non-invasive, you can be confident you are getting the best recommendation from someone with all the skill and tools at his disposal.
Patients must balance what improvements they would like made with how much downtime they can afford. It is human nature to want maximal results with minimal downtime, but this is not always possible. Often, the longer lasting results require more downtime. The key is to find the correct treatment plan for each individual patient.
If a patient is thinking about a facelift, there is often hesitancy about looking “pulled” or “tight.” This is a reasonable concern born out of first generation facelift techniques that simply tightened the skin. The evolution of facelifts has transitioned to addressing deeper structures of the face, actually repositioning the features to their original location.
The type of facelift also differs on the patient’s anatomy and surgical goals. Dr. Lee most commonly performs the deep plane lift developed by his mentor, Dr. Fritz Barton. This lift, known as the high SMAS facelift, rates among the longest lasting of facelift techniques with some patient’s reporting longevity 20 years after surgery.
Know if the surgeon you are consulting with is Board Certified in Plastic Surgery–whether you are seeking surgical or non-surgical intervention. Why? Because a plastic surgeon is the best qualified to properly diagnose and treat the areas of concern objectively. They have the training, experience and tools from which to choose and can give you more options than an aesthetician or “cosmetic” practitioner who relies on injectables and devices alone.
When performing facial rejuvenation, Dr. Lee makes it a priority to treat the signs of aging without changing the essence of a person’s natural beauty. His goal is to make the patient’s external appearance match their youthfulness of spirit. He emphasizes techniques that make a patient look better and age appropriate. There is an important distinction between looking “younger” and “more youthful.” Dr. Lee defines a successful facelift as replacing and tightening the underlying facial structures to their former, youthful position with inconspicuous scars for a refreshed, natural appearance devoid of any pulling or obvious intervention. His goal is having each patient hear they look “fresh and rested” versus “what did you have done?”
Dr. Lee’s high level of knowledge and expertise in all aspects of facial rejuvenation place him among the elite in the specialty. His approach is a blend of time tested traditional techniques and the latest advances in non-surgical and surgical treatments. According to Dr. Lee, the key is to reposition and restore, envisioning the face and neck as one unit.
When a facelift is the recommended treatment, the high SMAS, deep plane facelift is the technique Dr. Lee prefers. His experience demonstrates this technique to deliver the longest lasting results in repositioning areas where gravity has taken its toll. Dr. Lee elevates just enough skin to access the deeper tissues of the face responsible for sagging cheeks and jowls. This allows him to treat the face and neck as a single unit suspending the deep tissues into a more youthful position. The excess skin is removed but the tension is placed deeper to avoid looking “done.”
Fat grafting is considered a major breakthrough in restoring volume loss but there are varying skill levels even among board certified plastic surgeons. Dr. Lee is proficient in understanding the nuances associated with both the placement and volume requirements for the most natural aesthetic.
Performing these operations requires a very high level of expertise in facial anatomy. Dr. Lee’s double board certifications in both plastic surgery and otolaryngology (head and neck) uniquely qualify him as a specialist. In addition, Dr. Lee was trained in the procedure from the surgeon who created the operation. This knowledge and training gives him a high level of comfort in performing a procedure not all surgeons offer.
How faces age and what we can do to fight facial aging
There has been a paradigm shift in the mainstream acceptance of methods and products promising to help us stay ahead of the clock. Younger people even in their teens and 20’s are countering the aging process beginning with sunscreen and smart skincare. As men and women get into their 30s they see the signs of aging take place. Botox has become a preventative medicine against wrinkles, offering a cumulative effect in minimizing lines of expression. They are a bit harder to treat if we wait until we are 50 trying to temper lines created over five decades. Small doses of fillers can make a difference in 30-somethings. But by 40’s and 50’s obvious changes are happening despite our best efforts. Volume loss and volume descent can be camouflaged non-surgically, but they cannot be reversed. Rebuilding and restoring collagen in the face is important, so chemical peels and laser treatments are popular at this stage. Once skin begins to noticeably sag, it is time to consider a facelift and possible fat grafting for the most natural outcome.
Skincare, injectables, surgery–when each are appropriate
Good skin is the hallmark of beauty regardless of age. Everyone should practice good skincare because no amount of filler or surgery can improve skin’s quality. The sun is skin’s biggest enemy. Once the damage is done, lasers and chemical peels can help improve the texture and tone for a more youthful appearance. Fillers fight volume loss by plumping up areas where fat has shifted or atrophied. A facelift will lift sagging cheeks and jowls by re-draping the skin over repositioned layers of muscle. Keep in mind that skincare, fillers and surgery work in concert. One cannot substitute for another, yet when used together, properly, there is tremendous synergy. Skincare cannot address volume any more than fillers can correct banding in the neck. Using more and more fillers thinking you are postponing surgery often leads to a distorted, obvious look. It’s important to respect the boundaries and distinct benefits of each of these modalities.
A big misconception is that there is much less recovery and smaller scars with a mini facelift. In fact, any facelift that is going to provide substantial results requires similar incisions and downtime. Lifts that only tighten the skin or only use small incisions often lead to short term results with inadequate skin removal. In these cases, “mini” facelifts often lead to “mini” results. Likewise, the “lunchtime” procedures that are advertised as delivering astonishing results are poor simulations of a facelift. There are no short cuts. Would you fix just a part of the foundation of your house? No, because it would give you an incomplete outcome. It’s the same logic with your face.
The truth about “noninvasive, no scarring, no downtime, no discomfort” procedures is that often you are not getting value for your money. It’s important to recognize that there are no miracles and magic wands. No one should expect dramatic results without respecting the process it takes to make a real, long lasting change in appearance.
Why obvious, overdone results are on display everywhere–even amongst celebrities
The rich and famous are just as capable of making bad decisions as the rest of us. In Hollywood particularly there are lots of non-certified surgeons doing cosmetic surgery. It’s a hotbed for unsubstantiated marketing hype. Celebrities are constantly in the public eye so it is easy to identify when a dramatic change happens–for better or worse. But remember–all we see are the bad results–and unfortunate outcomes don’t discriminate. For every Meg Ryan, Melanie Griffith and Priscilla Presley, there are lots of average people that keep programs like “Botched” alive. The point is, do your homework. Another way to look at this is how many patients are out there who have had brilliant “work done”? They look great for their age, but you can’t quite figure out what they did. That is the signature of a great surgeon–whether the procedure was surgical or non-surgical.
Quite frequently the cause of some looking distorted is over use of filler products. This happens in cases where the patient is not consulting with a plastic surgeon. If all the practitioner uses is filler, they may compensate for what they don’t have by just using more filler. Then, the patient looks odd and different instead of better. One of the biggest benefits to seeing a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon–whether you need surgery or not, is to get the proper diagnoses from someone who has all the tools at his disposal.
Contact our office to schedule a private consultation with Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Michael Lee. This is the next step to determine which Park Cities Cosmetic Surgery procedure is the best option, giving you the desired outcome after surgery. Dr. Michael Lee will spend time with you to learn about your medical history and your expected outcome for surgery, as well as explaining the procedure in detail and answering all of your questions.