Revisiting the subject of the facelift, which one of Dr. Frankel’s blogs took up in its very first post more than three years ago, we should start by saying, as we did then, that the facelift is an option, not a necessity. It’s a way to make someone feel better about him or herself.
Accordingly, the question of when to undergo plastic facial surgery has more to do with a person’s sense of self, and less with appearances.
In Dr. Frankel’s experience, most of the potential facelift clients he consults with are generally attractive people who have always been considered good-looking and youthful. These people are often complimented on their appearances, and may not realize how much that positive feedback has bolstered their self-image until signs of aging appear and the compliments stop coming.
Needless to say, it can be a rude awakening. Younger people, being young, tend to shrug off the idea of plastic surgery. Yet many of those same people will eventually wind up in consultation with a plastic surgeon.
So is there an ideal time for plastic facial surgery? Some people wait until everything is virtually hanging to the floor, then undergo everything at once, adamant that they’ll never do surgery again. Others opt in when they are just beginning to show signs of aging, and they may have follow-up procedures over the course of their lives in order to maintain.
Some people feel a facelift is more essential when they are younger and more socially active. There are also life events, such as class reunions and weddings that are powerful incentives for people to undergo surgery. While a recent divorce may incentivize someone to reinvent him or herself, this may also be a time of emotional instability and thus not necessarily a good time for having surgery.
When Dr. Frankel is asked, “Is it time?” He tells people that they’ll consider a facelift when the desire to improve their appearance outweighs their fear of doing so.
In any case, it’s generally agreed that surgery is most effective before the skin has lost too much of its elasticity and when the person is within 10-15 pounds of their ideal weight. It is also crucial that they are not smoking, as this can cause significant scarring.
Once the decision has been made, the patient has a fresh set of decisions to make, and steps to take that will address scheduling, recovery time, allowed activities, and returning to work and normal routines. We’ll discuss these in future posts, along with the experiences that patients have after their surgery.