Aging gracefully is possible, but lasting facial rejuvenation often requires expert cosmetic surgery intervention. Patients who are dissatisfied with signs of facial aging may want to consider facelift surgery, a procedure that can help turn back the clock and slow down future aging in the mid-to-lower face and neck. Quadruple board-certified facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Allan Wulc, MD, FACS of W Cosmetic Surgery offers facelift surgery in Philadelphia, PA to patients who are looking for comprehensive, long-lasting rejuvenation.
Table of Contents
- Before & After Photos
- What is a Facelift?
- Why Undergo Facelift Surgery?
- Candidates for Facelift
- The Facelift Consultation
- Preparing for Your Facelift
- The Facelift Procedure
- Possible Risks and Side Effects
- Why Choose Dr. Wulc?
- Related Facelift Articles
- Facelift FAQs
Facelift Before & After Photos
A facelift is truly a transformative procedure, having some of the most dramatic results. See the incredible results of our facelift procedures in our facelift before and after gallery.
What is a Facelift?
Known in cosmetic medicine as a rhytidectomy, facelift surgery is designed to restore a youthful look to the face. In many patients, the face ages more rapidly than other areas of the body. This is partially due to regular sun exposure and environmental factors that degrade the skin. Ultraviolet rays penetrate the skin and break down the interwoven collagen and elastin structures, reducing the skin’s natural firmness and elasticity and allowing the skin to wrinkle and sag.
Aging facial features cause the face to appear worn and tired as they begin to droop, wrinkle, and deflate. The cheeks begin to sag, and the jawline becomes less defined. Visible wrinkles form in different areas of the face, especially around high-movement areas like the eyes and lips.
These cosmetic changes, though perfectly normal, can create confidence issues and hold people back from enjoying their later years. A facelift can restore a more youthful appearance and allow patients to look and feel their best.
There are many different variations of the facelift procedure, which is a highly customized facial plastic surgery performed to remove and tighten excess skin, re-contour the face, and reposition underlying facial muscles and fascia. Advanced suspension techniques create a lifted look to erase years from a patient’s appearance.
Dr. Wulc, a Philadelphia facelift expert, may perform the surgery using hidden incisions that span large areas of the face, or endoscopically, using a camera-guided technique below the skin. Techniques vary depending on the patient’s individual needs.
A facelift is often combined with other procedures, like a brow lift, upper or lower eyelid lift, and/or neck lift. This is because a traditional facelift targets only the area of the face extending from the upper cheeks to the upper neck. It typically will not smooth the forehead lines, treat bags or hollows under the eyes, or alter the look of the entire neck.
Why Undergo Facelift Surgery?
Facelift surgery is the gold standard for correcting issues like facial wrinkles and sagging skin as it has the ability to not only restore a youthful appearance but also to slow down future aging.
While there are a number of less invasive procedures that can be performed to rejuvenate the face, they cannot provide the dramatic, long-lasting results of a facelift. Skin rejuvenation techniques such as laser skin resurfacing sessions, microdermabrasion, and ThermiSmooth® may hold off the need for a facelift, but most individuals 50 and over can benefit from a surgical procedure.
Through a tailored treatment plan, which may include brow lift, eyelid lift, midface lift, facelift, and/or neck lift, Dr. Wulc can improve the face and neck of facelift patients in Philadelphia by addressing each individual area affected by aging. This also prevents an overdone appearance and provides natural-looking results. The doctor is also careful to elevate the tissues, not simply to pull them taut. This helps to prevent an unnatural “windswept” look. The results of a patient’s facelift will vary depending on their own aesthetic preferences.
Best Candidates for Facelift Surgery
While there is no specific age range for patients seeking facelift surgery in Philadelphia, many who opt for surgical intervention are between 50 and 70 years old.
There are many procedures that can be performed to address the first signs of aging that appear during the late 30s to early 40s. Facial peels, injectables, microneedling and other minimally-invasive treatments are often performed for skin rejuvenation or to maintain patients’ skin before a facelift becomes necessary. Once facial sagging is apparent, a facelift is often the best aesthetic solution.
Candidates for a facelift are healthy adults who want to appear younger and improve their looks with a semi-permanent surgery. Though the surgery will enhance a person’s appearance and counteract the effects of gravity, facelift patients should be clear on the limitations of the procedure.
A facelift will remove years from a patient’s appearance and offer significant improvement, but it cannot restore the exact aesthetic of the person’s early adult years. Patients should also be aware that aging will continue throughout the rest of their lives, through lifestyle choices like avoiding cigarettes, limiting sun exposure, and using sunscreen can slow the rate of aging.
The Facelift Consultation
Patients with moderate to severe sagging skin are encouraged to contact the staff at W Cosmetic Surgery to schedule a facelift consultation in Philadelphia with Dr. Wulc. During this first office visit, the doctor will review the patient’s health history and work with them to determine the best treatment plan.
In some cases, a modified facelift, such as the mini facelift, will be recommended. The doctor can sometimes operate on certain areas of the face while using more conservative techniques to improve other features. He may also suggest filling in lines and wrinkles, rather than addressing them through surgery. Dr. Wulc can also determine if a combination of facial plastic surgery will provide the patient with his or her requested results. Patients should ask any questions they may have during this meeting.
Dr. Wulc and his staff are so warm and caring. I recently underwent a lower eyelift, mid facelift and lower facelift. I knew what to expect following the surgery. I was totally prepared. The follow-up care is excellent. I am very pleased with my results seven weeks out of surgery. I highly recommend Dr. Wulc.
Preparing for Your Philadelphia Facelift
Before your facelift in our Philadelphia office, Dr. Wulc will provide you with instructions to follow in the weeks leading up to surgery. These may include:
- Supplements and medications to avoid
- How far in advance to quit smoking
- Preparing a recovery area
- Any required medical tests
You should also arrange for a ride to and from your surgery, as you will not be able to drive while the anesthesia wears off. It is best to have someone stay with you for the first few days after surgery.
The Facelift Procedure
Facelift procedures in Philadelphia at our office are performed on an outpatient basis. Under local anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia, Dr. Wulc creates incisions that can be hidden around and behind the ears and within the hairline to access the underlying structures of the face. He may perform the operation using modified traditional methods or endoscopically, as he specializes in minimally-invasive facelift techniques.
Extra fat can be excised away or liposuctioned through a thin cannula, and area muscle and fascia may be lifted back into a more youthful position. The tissues can be suspended using permanent sutures or other methods during what is known as the SMAS (superficial muscular aponeurotic system) facelift. Next, the doctor carefully snips away excess skin. Finally, the skin is sutured together to reveal a refreshed appearance.
In some cases, general anesthesia may be the preferred option for combined procedures. The facelift procedure can be customized as needed. When addressing the various areas of the face, the doctor may create extra incisions in the skin. Dr. Wulc can also simultaneously address the face and neck during the same surgery.
Recovering from Facelift Surgery
Patients are discharged home after they are fully awake. Initial recuperation is expected to last 10-14 days and is made more comfortable with either prescription or over-the-counter pain medications. The doctor may also suggest cold compress techniques and sleeping in an upright position for the first week or so to lessen area swelling. Preliminary facelift results are generally visible after two weeks.
Hypoallergenic or natural cosmetics can be applied to the incision sites to cover any marks from the surgery, as well as associated bruising. During the period of downtime, patients are cautioned not to perform heavy duty tasks, to avoid sun exposure, and to follow the instructions provided by W Cosmetic Surgery. Final facelift results will settle several months after the surgery.
Possible Risks and Side Effects of Facelift Surgery
Healthy patients who choose a skilled facelift surgeon in Philadelphia and follow all pre- and post-operative instructions carefully are unlikely to develop serious complications. Most patients will experience only minor side effects, such as swelling, bruising, and minor to moderate discomfort during the recovery period.
However, all surgeries carry some risks. Occasionally, facelift patients may develop issues such as:
- Anesthesia complications
- Facial nerve injury
- Hair loss
- Infection or poor wound healing
Patients should call their plastic surgery or 911 immediately if any abnormal symptoms should arise during recovery.
Why Choose Dr. Wulc for Facelift Surgery?
A facelift specialist in Philadelphia, facial plastic surgeon Dr. Allan Wulc is praised by patients all over the country for his credentials, innovative surgical techniques, and record of successful procedures.
Dr. Wulc is quadruple board-certified in cosmetic and plastic surgery, ophthalmology, and oculoplastic surgery. He is also a diplomate of the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons. Dr. Wulc stands out as the only tri-state area surgeon recognized for these accomplishments.
In his nearly three decades of experience, the doctor has pioneered new techniques used during surgery, has given lectures and presentations and has published extensive material regarding his work. The doctor specializes in creating long-lasting results and a natural aesthetic. Because he only works in the field of facial plastic surgery, he has mastered techniques for the issues specific to facial aging.
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Frequently Asked Questions about Facelifts
Does a facelift create natural-looking results?
Dr. Wulc is an expert in minimally-invasive facelift surgery, so there are fewer or less extensive incisions in the skin. Any surgical cuts made will be camouflaged around the patient’s ears or within their hairline. A discreet surgery leaves fewer marks that are indicative of plastic surgery. Dr. Wulc also utilizes techniques to lift the tissues of the face rather than to pull them backward. This restores facial beauty and youthfulness without creating a “wind tunnel” look.
Is it painful to undergo a facelift?
Patients will be placed comfortably asleep during the facelift procedure, most commonly under local anesthesia with sedation. Some patients, however, prefer deeper sedation or general anesthesia. Dr. Wulc creates less extensive surgical cuts, leading to less significant tissue damage. This helps to minimize pain during the healing process. The doctor may also prescribe pain medication to control post-surgical pain and swelling. Dr. Wulc and his staff can also provide tips to improve patient comfort, like gently applying a cool compress and sitting and sleeping in an elevated position to lessen pain and swelling.
What’s the difference between a facelift and a mini facelift?
Perhaps the most-requested version of the facelift at our Philadelphia office is the mini facelift, which addresses the lower third of the face. Often called the lower facelift, this anti-aging surgery focuses on the lower cheeks to the chin.
During the surgery, incisions are cleverly disguised around the folds of the ears so the doctor can access the area. The facial muscles are tightened, and any unwanted skin and fat are removed from the lower face. This procedure is best for patients who have noticed more extensive changes in the lower face, and seek to eliminate their jowls and related lines, including the nasolabial folds and marionette lines. Through a mini facelift, Dr. Wulc can redefine the jawline and streamline the upper neck.
Can a facelift be combined with other procedures?
Yes. Many of our Philadelphia facelift patients have areas of concern that a facelift cannot address and combination procedures can be an excellent solution.
Surgical procedures are often combined, especially when a patient has sagging skin in the upper face or volume loss. Fat replacement can be performed through autologous fat transfer or liposculpture, facial implants, or dermal fillers like Juvederm®, Restylane®, or Radiesse®.
Dr. Wulc may also prescribe medically-managed skin care or suggest patients undergo treatments like laser or radiofrequency skin tightening or intense pulsed light (IPL) sessions after a facelift.
What areas of the face will a facelift improve?
A traditional facelift is performed to rejuvenate the face and neck from the upper cheeks to the jawline. If a patient has other aesthetic concerns, such as lines on the forehead or crow’s feet around the eyes, other procedures can be added on to the surgery for the best results. Facelift surgery is often performed with a brow lift, eyelid lift, and or a full neck lift.
How long should I wait to undergo a facelift?
While there is no set age for facelift patients, many find that they can postpone the procedure until their 50s or later. Other cosmetic treatments can improve or maintain a patient’s looks before more extensive facial plastic surgery is needed. Laser resurfacing techniques, skin-tightening procedures, and dermal injections are great ways to maintain a youthful appearance prior to cosmetic surgery.
Schedule a Facelift Consultation in Philadelphia, PA
W Cosmetic Surgery offers patients an array of treatments, from Botox injections to reconstructive facial plastic surgery. To learn about Philadelphia’s facelift specialist, costs, or for a consultation to find out if you are an ideal candidate, call our office staff at (610) 828-8880, or complete the Contact Us form.