Who is a Good Candidate for a Facelift?


After learning what a facelift is, are you a good candidate for a facelift?  

Men and women from all walks of life are having face lifts; however, not everyone seeking improvement is an acceptable candidate for surgery. Those with known serious medical problems may not be surgical candidates depending on the condition and how well it is under control. Patients who are obese with a short, thick, neck have little chance for a worthwhile result. The severe “turkey gobbler” deformity which occurs in the neck of some individuals may best be corrected by a direct excision in the midline of the neck under the chin.

Each individual who wants to look “better” presents a different set of problems. Consequently, the corrective procedures indicated vary with each case. For example, one person may require only elevation of sagging eyebrows or improvement in the eyelids. A very young individual may need only correction of an early double-chin with liposuction. On the other hand, a partial or complete face and neck lift followed by a skin resurfacing procedure may be called for in more advanced cases. Skin resurfacing including a chemical face peel, dermabrasion and/or laser resurfacing procedure may provide the “icing on the cake.” 

Many people will ask if he or she is the right age.  When it comes to the surgical procedure, there is no set minimum or maximum age.  Assuming you show the signs of aging that are addressed by a facelift, then you are a candidate.  The most common age for the first facelift is around 55.  For patients looking to maintain a youthful, "never aging" appearance they will undergo a facelift at an earlier age.  Those who wait until a later age when the signs of aging are more advanced will have more of a rolling back of the clock following surgery.  

Although there is no "perfect" candidate, there are certain traits that will help you achieve a better, a longer lasting result.  

First, you want to be within about 15 pounds of your realistic weight.  This does not mean within 15 pounds of your goal weight, but if you are losing weight and have a little more to go, it is best to have the weight off before the surgery.  The reason is that surgery addresses what is present on the day of surgery.  If you continue to lose weight then the skin that was being pushed out by the fat will begin to sag.  Gaining a lot of weight after surgery won't lead to sagging tissue, but it will push out the skin more so the definition achieved at surgery may not be as noticeable.  

Along the same lines as weight loss, is those patients who start out with a much heavier face because of excess weight will not achieve the same results as someone who is thinner.  It has to do with how much definition can be achieved with liposuction to the face and how the heavier tissue minimizes how much of a lift can be achieved.  This does not mean patients with heavier faces cannot or should not have a face lift.  If you do start out with a heavier face you can still have dramatic results with a face lift, but the results could be that much greater if you were able to lose some of the excess weight.  

Realistic expectations are an important part of any surgery.  A facelift can remove what is present at the time of surgery.  It does not prevent further aging from taking place.  It also does not address the skin texture, although by removing the slack in the skin it can improve them to some extent.  A facelift doesn't address the eyes.  This is improved with an eyelid surgery or blepharoplasty.  At the time of consultation we will discuss what can be realistically achieved for you.  

Lastly, the most important factor to determine if you are a good candidate for surgery is your overall health.  This is truly the only limitation.  This doesn't mean you need to be in perfect health, and the surgery does not require you to be put completely to sleep (general anesthesia) which does make it safer.  But if you have a condition that any type of anesthesia would be dangerous, then surgery may not be the route for you.