(Published in the Observer on Sunday, 29 July, 2012)
Let’s face it; no one wants to look old before their time. Our face is one of the first to show the signs of aging and therefore cosmetic procedures to help turn back the hands of time are among some of the most popular.
Facelifts, or rhytidectomies, have been helping to erase the signs of aging for decades, smoothing out wrinkles and restoring a more youthful appearance.
Victoria Karlinsky-Bellini is a board-certified surgeon who has been performing facelifts for the past four years in New York from her private practice, New Look New Life Surgical Arts. She has recently opened up a clinic here at KY Imaging in the West Shore Plaza, where she sees patients every five weeks, operating out of the Cayman Islands Hospital and the Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital.
“The face is the first thing that other people look at, so naturally it is the first of our aging concerns,” she says.
”As we age, our skin loses elasticity, which can result in sagging skin around the neck and jaw line, the appearance of a double chin or jowls, cheeks that are less full, and wrinkles or deep creases.
“A facelift removes excess skin around the lower and mid face, tightens the facial and neck muscles and can also help restore lost volume when performed in conjunction with fat grafting.”
While nothing can stop the aging process, the facelift lasts longest compared to other facial rejuvenation procedures – sometimes up to as many as 15 years. Patients typically range from 50 to 70 years old.
There are a variety of techniques used when carrying out a facelift. The traditional one involves an incision made in front of the ear which extends up into the hairline. The skin is then separated from the deeper tissues, which are then tightened with sutures. The skin is then re-draped over the deeper tissues and excess skin around the neck, chin and cheeks may be removed for a refreshed appearance. The skin incisions are then closed with sutures and staples.
Karlinsky-Bellini performs facelifts under general anesthesia and can take anywhere from two and a half to four hours to perform. Results can be seen immediately, she says.
“Patients after a facelift are recommended to wear a facial wrap for a couple of days, apply a moisturizer with a high SPF factor and avoid sun exposure on fresh scars to prevent hyper pigmentation of the area.
“Typically we consider the downtime to be the time it takes to resolve bruising and swelling. Most patients recover in about one week. Within a month your new and improved face and neck will have fully healed.”
No procedure is without risks. Infection, bleeding, facial nerve damage and poor scarring are some of the main risks to consider, although they are rare.
Other procedures that are often performed alongside a facelift include eyelifts, browlifts and necklifts, which target more individual areas.
Alternatively, a mini facelift offers more significant results than fillers, but uses a less invasive technique for tightening the facial muscles. The technique differs to that of a traditional facelift in that the skin and underlying tissues are pulled up just a bit to smooth out lines and early signs of skin sagging – it is essentially a small nip and tuck. While the results are not as drastic as a full facelift, they require less down time and can be performed under local anesthesia.
For those looking to rejuvenate their face, without going under the knife, Karlinsky-Bellini suggests a liquid facelift, which uses a combination of botox and facial fillers, as well as skin tightening procedures, laser resurfacing and chemical peels.
Her top anti-aging tips? “A healthy diet rich in vitamins and fibers, the use of a SPF cream every day, a good moisturizer and the use of botulinum toxin in combination with hyaluronic acid injections.”