Facelift or Laser Tightening: Which Is Right For Me?
There’s a reason we say “showing your face to the world”—and not, say, showing your forearms or tummy!
Your face is the center of everything. It’s the part of you that commands the most attention from others. The part of you they remember. The part that projects the most about who you are and how you feel to the outside world.
So when blemishes like wrinkles, jowls, laugh lines, and sagging skin start appearing there, it can really start to eat away at your confidence. Signs of aging in the face just make more of an impact than they do in other areas of the body.
But what, then, is the solution?
One option, if your problems are mostly constrained to fine lines and wrinkles, would be using Botox or other fillers. But if more substantial skin tightening or contouring is required, you might be looking at a choice between a surgical facelift or laser skin tightening.
Which is best for you? Let’s take a quick look at each procedure, then talk about the pros and cons of each choice.
Laser Skin Tightening
We’ll start with the newer procedure, which you may or may not have heard much about.
Laser tightening is a non-surgical alternative to achieving tighter, smoother, more youthful-looking skin that basically fills the gap between surface-level treatments (Botox, chemical peels, laser resurfacing, etc.) and a more conventional facelift surgery.
The device delivers radiofrequency energy through strategically placed, ultra-fine needles. This heats up the skin and subcutaneous fat layers, which in turn stimulates accelerated production of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid.
Why are these molecules so important? Simply put, they are the essential components that keep skin tight, stretchy, and smooth, and as we age our bodies lose the ability to replenish them in sufficient quantities.
Laser tightening helps reverse the trend, and as levels of these molecules increase, your skin gradually becomes tighter, smoother, and more youthful-looking. The process doesn’t happen overnight, but most people achieve maximum results after around 3 to 6 months.
The effect can be so profound that, in many cases, it is able to significantly reduce or even eliminate the appearance of jowls, turkey neck, sagging or double chins, and excess fat—all problems that probably would have required surgery to address before this technology became available.
And because it is minimally invasive and non-surgical, treatments are extremely quick, easy, and convenient. A full session only takes about an hour, and side effects are generally limited to mild and temporary swelling for a few days, or up to a week at most, as your skin heals.
There are usually no activity restrictions, either, so you will be able to return to work, social events, exercise, and other activities on your timeline—even right away, if you feel comfortable doing so (though most people do take at least a few days off for rest and recovery). You can even drive yourself home after the session.
As amazing as laser skin tightening technology is, there’s still no equal to a surgical facelift when you want the most dramatic and permanent results. Rather than relying on your body to produce more collagen and elastin and essentially tighten itself, a skilled surgeon (like Dr. Learn) will lift, pull tight, contour, re-drape, and remove skin and fat as necessary to achieve a specific result.
Incisions are typically made around the temples, ears, lower scalp, or under the chin depending on the parts of the face being worked on. This allows any resulting scarring to be hidden by hairlines and natural creases and contours of your face.
Post-operative recovery is extremely important with any surgery, and facelifts are no exception. You should expect some swelling and bruising for a week or two, and full recovery in about three weeks.
In the meantime, you will definitely have some activity restrictions and be told to rest as much as possible. Cold compresses and elevating the head can help with pain and swelling, and you may need to take some antibiotics as a precaution against infection.
So Which Procedure Is Right For Me?
During your consultation with Dr. Learn, we’ll discuss both of these options with you further, as well as other possible alternatives depending on your goals and your situation. We never try to push one type of treatment over another—it’s always about giving you lots of options and helping you make whatever decision you’re most comfortable with, without pressure or judgment.
While we can’t make this decision for you, we can give you some general advice about what to consider as you make your choice.
You might consider laser skin tightening if:
- You have gotten fillers or surface treatments in the past and are ready for a more dramatic, longer-lasting solution.
- You are comfortable waiting a few months for full results to be achieved, as increased collagen and elastin gradually tighten facial skin.
- You have flaws you wish to address that fillers cannot adequately correct, but are also not severe enough to require surgery. As we said, laser skin tightening can fill this “gap” quite well.
- You want to achieve great results but aren’t comfortable with surgery for one reason or another—such as you can’t take the time off work or aren’t prepared to deal with the recovery.
- You have a medical condition that would increase your risk of post-surgical complications.
You might consider a surgical facelift if:
- You want the fastest and most dramatic results possible.
- You’ve already tried laser skin tightening and want even better results.
- You want a more permanent solution. (A full facelift can “last” for as long as 10-15 years post-procedure, whereas laser tightening usually works best with annual maintenance treatments.)
- You are able and willing to give your body time (up to a month off work or other activities in some cases) to rest and recover.
There’s a lot to consider, and no one can make this choice for you but you. That said, we are always happy to provide any and all advice, guidance, information and support you may require during your consultation with Dr. Lisa Learn.
To schedule your appointment with us in Fort Lauderdale, please call us today at (954) 380-8411. If you’d prefer, you can also request a consultation using our online form.