Not sure what treatment will help rejuvenate your face? This patient had the same question. Read on for answers!

Q: My face is pretty wrinkly and I am considering the FRAXEL laser versus a facelift. I am 44 years old and want to look more refreshed. Are facelifts meant for people that have had more trouble with the effects of gravity? I guess I just do not understand why someone would get an invasive procedure like a facelift if they can use lasers.

A: Laser skin treatments and surgery treat different aspects of aging. They are not so much “one or the other” as they are complementary. Many facelift patients undergo laser skin treatments at the same time as their surgery so they can avoid having to go through two separate recovery periods. As we age, three different types of facial changes occur.

  1. Skin quality decreases. With age and exposure (sun, tobacco, etc), the color, texture, and thickness of our skin changes. Good diet and skincare regimen is essential. When these aren’t enough, we can get a nice improvement in This can be treated with a variety of methods, including laser. FRAXEL is a weak skin laser treatment. It is popular because it does not require a physician to perform and has a slightly shorter recovery time (but usually needs to be repeated).
  2. Volume loss or re-distribution. As we age, we have changes in the volume of our facial bones and facial fat compartments. This can be treated through surgery (facelift) or filler, or fat grafting, etc.  Adding volume to the wrong places is one of the main reasons patients experience “filler fatigue” and lose their facial identity after many treatments.
    In some cases, there is not a loss of volume, but a relocation of the facial volume. Generally, facial volume shifts from the temple/outer cheek area and moves down and inward toward the mouth. This is one of the reasons for increased nasolabial fold fullness as we age.
  3. Tissue sagging/loosening. As we age, gravity and loosening of the support structures of our face also take a toll. This is one of the primary indications for surgical treatments. The tissues under the skin are gently re-draped and re-supported. When done correctly, this brings the face back to a more youthful position.
  4. Any excess skin created from aging can then be trimmed as needed. There should be no tension on your skin from a proper facelift. Not all facelift procedures are equal. The best current data demonstrates that a deep-plane and extended deep plane facelift techniques are equally safe, but provide a longer lasting, more powerful, and natural appearing result when compared to other methods.

Common problems in facial aesthetics arise when a provider tries to use a good treatment method to correct the wrong aspect of facial aging. An example of this is trying to add volume when the issue is skin quality, etc.
As you can see, these treatments often work together to rejuvenate the face. The timing and order in which they should be performed vary from patient to patient. It’s important to discuss your concerns with someone who has the resources and skill to treat all aspects of the aging face.

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Dr. Bryant is a facial plastic surgeon based in the Nashville area. If you would like to learn more about what treatment may be right for you, our contact information can be found here.

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