Facelifts and Face Volume Guide
Facial fat loss is one of the hallmarks of aging, and it can make you look older than you feel.
Typically, your facelift (rhytidectomy) procedure will often include structural fat grafting to restore your face structure and bring youthful volume back into your face.
If you’ve already read our in-depth Facelift 101 Guide and you’re here specifically to learn more about restoring face volume, we will uncover how facelift surgery can do this effectively, as well as break down some common misconceptions about the power of injectables.
Our Plastic + Hand team has the most qualified facelift and neck lift surgeons in Maine, and we will discuss your specific questions once you book your consultation.
For now, let’s dig deep into the topic of restoring face volume, one of the most common desired outcomes for our patients, and quite possibly what you’re looking for, too.
Aging and face volume
We all lose volume in our face as we age. This volume loss can make parts of the face look sunken, tired, and it can make wrinkles look more visible.
Once the soft tissues in the face have lost their structure, you’ll see a visible loss in fullness, and you’ll likely see sagging. This often presents in a sagging neck, sagging jowls, or sagging cheeks.
A facelift itself will not restore volume to the face. However, when this procedure is paired with structural fat grafting, it’s highly effective at restoring the youthful appearance of your face with natural and beautiful looking results.
In general, most healthy people over 40 years old who are dissatisfied with the appearance of their aging face (i.e., loss of elasticity and volume; sagging skin; drooping jowls) are candidates for a facelift. A facelift is most effective on people whose skin has some elasticity and who have well-defined bones.
Injectables vs. Structural fat grafting
Injectable fillers can smooth the creases and wrinkles around the nose and mouth or add volume to the lips or cheek area. They are also essential components to maintaining a youthful appearance. However, they do not have the power to correct sagging features or restore the structure of the face like a facelift can.
Simply, injectables cannot lift tissues. No amount of filler or injectables can restore the face structure. Attempts to do so often lead to unnatural or overdone results.
To lift and add volume for the desired outcome that many patients are looking for, a facelift with structural fat grafting is often the best way to enhance the contours of the face.
Not only does facial fat grafting create youthful volume in your face, but the results can also last substantially longer than injections or other fillers. Additionally, patients with allergies or sensitivities to product ingredients in fillers benefit from using their own excess fat. Finally, the fat looks and feels natural because it is your own tissue.
How a facelift can create natural-looking results
If you’ve lost elasticity to your skin, it’s important to address your concerns in your consultation with your Plastic + Hand surgeon. You will discuss specifically where you would like to see improvement (i.e., jowls, neckline, neck banding, eyelids) and whether fat that is lost with aging should be restored with structural fat grafting.
Some people often try to “cover up” or “mask” their areas of concern with excessive fillers in attempts to restore the youthful volume and appearance of their face but can be disappointed in these unnatural-looking results.
Alternatively, a facelift procedure is designed to help restore the natural youthful structure to your face by positioning the tissues where they should be. When paired with structural fat grafting (that restores the volume), your facelift procedure will result in the beautiful and more natural-looking results you’re seeking.
What facelift procedure is best for you?
With training from some of the top medical centers in the U.S. (including Harvard, Yale, Stanford, UCSF, Mayo Clinic), Plastic + Hand surgeons have the depth of experience and skills necessary to perform your facelift and/or neck lift safely and successfully in the comfort of our accredited outpatient Plastic + Hand Surgery Center located on-site here in Portland, Maine.
An in-depth consultation at Plastic + Hand will help you determine if a facelift is right for you. And, before facelift surgery, you and your surgeon will review the procedure and expected outcomes.
While we have included full details about the varying facelift options and the surgery itself in our Facelift Procedure Guide that we encourage you to read, we’re happy to include some specific information around facial fat grafting here.
For facial fat grafting, your plastic surgeon gently removes a small amount of fat from your own abdomen or thigh area and injects it into facial areas to improve volume loss around the eyes, cheeks, or jawline. Using blunt cannulas (1 mm hollow tubes with a blunt end and a small hole through which the fat comes out) the fat is injected as little droplets throughout the areas of facial hollowness.
As with any surgery, there is short-term post-op recovery and longer-term healing.
For a full comprehensive resource that details everything from immediate post-op to resuming your full normal activities, please visit our Facelift Recovery Guide.
Please note that pairing facial fat grafting with a facelift is a very common procedure addition. While it will enhance your overall result, it will not impact your healing time or recovery timeline.
Facelift (with fat grafting) results
If you’d like to see some facelift before and after photos, especially when this procedure has been paired with structural fat grafting, it’s best to ask your surgeon during your consultation. This is the best opportunity to see (and discuss) the results that are specific to your upcoming procedure.
Prior to surgery, you and your surgeon will discuss your facelift outcome, help you visualize the results, and you’ll both agree on realistic post-op outcomes.
Shortly after surgery, you’ll get a good sense of how your face will look, but swelling is expected and normal for several weeks. Because the healing process is gradual, you may not see the final result for up to three months. It may also take up to six months for incision lines to fade, which can easily be concealed by your hair or makeup in the meantime.
Paired with essential natural-looking volume from facial fat grafting, a facelift gives you a fresh and youthful appearance that you can enjoy for years. It’s important to note that no facelift can stop your face from aging indefinitely. Once your skin loosens and sags again, you might want to adjust your look with a secondary facelift procedure.
In the meantime, we help you protect your investment. As part of your Plastic + Hand facelift procedure, you will receive a free consultation with our skincare practice, Skin Solutions, for a customized treatment plan to bring out the best in your skin. And, if you’d like to maintain your youthful look with injectables, our Plastic + Hand team has the most qualified experts in facial aesthetics in Maine. Our plastic surgeons have the depth of experience and skills necessary to utilize the right injectable safely and successfully for the results you’ll love.
A facelift with fat grafting is best for me; what’s next?
While there are many reasons to seek facelift procedures paired with facial fat grafting (notably achieving a fresh, youthful appearance that you can enjoy for years), our leading facelift surgeons in Portland, Maine, will work with you on realistic expectations prior to the surgery.
As part of the largest and most trusted plastic surgery center in Northern New England, our Plastic + Hand surgeons have successfully completed the most facelifts in the region.
We also want to take this moment and thank you for considering Plastic + Hand for your facelift. Our work and our dedication is about you. We’re committed to providing the results you seek with the respect and compassion you deserve.
It’s time to discover the results you’ll love. The first step begins here. Call us at 207-775-3446, or submit this request form, to schedule your consultation with our Patient Care Coordinator to determine whether a facelift (paired with fat grafting) is right for you.