The shape of your face and position of your cheeks can be an unforgiving reminder of your age. A midface lift or cheek lift procedure can have transformative results, drastically reducing signs of aging, making you look years younger with little downtime.
A midface lift, or cheek lift, is a procedure that can have transformative results, drastically reducing signs of aging and making patients look years younger with little downtime. Dr. Allan Wulc, MD, FACS, is board-certified in cosmetic and plastic surgery, ophthalmology, and oculoplastic surgery. He has been in practice for over 30 years, honing his skills in midface lift surgery and other anti-aging procedures. Dr. Wulc offers this effective cosmetic surgery procedure to patients who want to look younger and feel more confident without undergoing an in-depth surgery like a traditional facelift.
What Is a Midface Lift?
As a person ages, the fat pads in the cheeks start to deteriorate. Over time, this results in volume loss and deep folds in the facial skin. A midface lift, or cheek lift, is a common facial cosmetic procedure that creates a youthful appearance to the face by restoring the fullness of the cheeks and correcting hollows and dark circles under the eyes.
A midface lift, also called a cheek lift, lifts the cheek back into a youthful position, creating a heart-shaped, well-defined face. The lift accentuates the eyes, enhances the appearance of the brows, widens the face, and provides overall age-defying enhancements.
A quick test we recommend to patients considering a midface lift is to pull up on the side of your face. If you are happy about the results of this exercise, you may be a good candidate for a cheek or midface lift.
Midface Lift Results
We’ve seen transformative results from our midface lift procedure. It’s easy to see why our patients love their midface lift results. Many of these patients have had additional procedures such as a brow lift, eyelid surgery, or liposculpture, in addition to a midface lift procedure.
*Each patient is unique and individual results may vary.
Benefits of a Cheek Lift
A midface lift or cheek lift provides long-lasting cosmetic improvements to the face that can greatly improve patients’ self-confidence. Midface lifts also provide the following benefits:
- An elevated and youthful cheek and midface position
- Beautiful, natural-looking results
- Minimally-invasive techniques and minimal downtime
- Long-lasting facial rejuvenation
Ideal candidates for a midface lift include men and women with sagging cheeks, loss of cheek projection, sagging skin in the midface, prominent nasolabial folds, and loss of volume under the eyes. Prospective patients should select a board-certified plastic surgeon that can provide sound advice and guidance based on their desired results.
Candidates for midface lift surgery should be non-smokers in good physical health. Any type of plastic surgery requires the patient to be healthy before surgery in order to promote proper healing and optimal results. Prospective cheek lift patients should also have fairly elastic skin that can bounce back easily from surgery. Significant sun damage or damage from many years of smoking can negatively affect surgical success.
Good candidates for midface lift surgery should have realistic expectations of what cheek surgery can do for them. While a successful surgery can take years off a person’s appearance, it is important for each patient to understand what cheek lift surgery can and can’t achieve. The goal of surgery is to create results that look as youthful and natural as possible, but the procedure can’t work miracles. Most candidates for this procedure have subtle signs of aging. Very often patients of cheek lift surgery are between 45 and 55 years of age. Older patients may be better candidates for a full traditional facelift and/or neck lift.
The Midface Lift Consultation
The first step for patients who are considering cosmetic surgery is scheduling a consultation with Dr. Wulc at his practice in Philadelphia. During this consultation, Dr. Wulc will be able to determine whether or not the patient is a strong candidate for the midface lift and ensure that the patient’s expectations are realistic and in keeping with the results the surgeon may be able to provide.
This is a chance for the patient to ask any questions about the procedure itself, preparation steps, and recovery from a midface lift. The doctor will ask about any medications the patient is currently taking and assess their general health to determine candidacy. Other topics covered may include the type of anesthesia that will be used during the procedure, and any precautionary measures or preparations to take before the day of the surgery.
The main goal of the consultation with Dr. Wulc is always to educate the patient about the surgery and explore different options for facial rejuvenation if it is determined that a cheek lift is not the best route to take.
How a Midface Lift Works
There are many techniques to perform a midface lift. One popular technique is to lift the cheeks through eyelid Incisions. We have seen many complications with this technique. Another popular technique uses fillers to correct hollow cheeks and lift the cheeks. But there is a limit to how much lifting fillers can provide. Too much filler can tip the face into looking unnatural.
The best age-defying facial procedures:
- Counter the effects of gravity and lift the cheek back up from where it fell
- Produce natural, beautiful and expected results
- Have minimal downtime
- Are minimally invasive
- Are long-lasting
Advancements in facelift procedures are now able to address the cheeks simultaneously with the face and neck. However, in most practices, these procedures result in large incisions and a longer recovery.
At W Cosmetic Surgery of Philadelphia, we specialize in a midface lift technique performed through small incisions in the temple and forehead above the hairline that are easily concealed. The procedure is often performed under monitored anesthesia and associated with a recovery time of approximately 9 days. The procedure has one of the highest satisfaction rates of all the procedures we perform.
Our interest in midface lifting n all its forms resulted in the publication of our book Midface Rejuvenation published by Springer. Our chapter on midface rejuvenation via a preperiosteal approach defines our unique midface lift technique. Due to the technical challenges of the procedure, we have designed several instruments that may be useful to surgeons new to these procedures to make the procedure easier. These devices are either patented or in further development. Schedule a consultation with us to learn if a midface lift is right for you.
The Midface Lift Procedure
At W Cosmetic Surgery of Philadelphia, we specialize in a midface lift technique performed through small incisions in the temple and forehead above the hairline that is easily concealed. This outpatient procedure is often performed under monitored anesthesia for patients’ safety and comfort.
Much like a traditional facelift or a mini facelift, the midface lift procedure involves repositioning facial fat and skin through small incisions at the hairline. During this procedure, the fat pad in the cheek is repositioned to create a more youthful and lifted appearance to the face. In addition, the muscles are elevated around the nose and the lost volume in the cheeks may be restored using fat grafting. Using this approach, Dr. Wulc is able to bring about the most natural-looking results for his patients.
The cheek lift procedure has a recovery time of approximately 9 days. Pain medication will be prescribed by the doctor to help control any discomfort that may occur. Swelling and bruising are common but should fade gradually in the weeks following the procedure until the final results are visible. The procedure has one of the highest satisfaction rates of all the procedures we perform.
We are publishing our results on midface lift in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery. We have followed our patients over 15 years and found that the operation is a long-lasting and durable aesthetic procedure. The procedure that we perform is a supraperiosteal midface lift done with minimal incisions and which can be done either with a surgical technique or with our patented midface lift device. Midface lift lifts up the middle of the face, primarily the cheek. Effects are seen as far as the jowl, though little improvement is noted in the neck.
The most obvious benefits of getting a midface lift are improved facial aesthetics and a more youthful appearance. The midface lift has been around for many years and delivers long-lasting results. During the consultation with Dr. Wulc, he will outline all of the benefits you can expect once you have healed from surgery.
People with sagging cheeks, loss of cheek projection, sagging skin in the middle of the face, and loss of volume in the under-eye area are all signs of aging that a cheek lift can correct. While dermal injections and fillers are an option, these results of these treatments are temporary. Surgical options produce longer-lasting results, providing facial rejuvenation for many years.
Along with creating a refreshed appearance of the overall face, this surgery makes the cheekbones more prominent and youthful. The hollows in the lower eyes become much less noticeable, the smile lines are softened, and the corners of the mouth are lifted.
Is a midface lift ever combined with other cosmetic surgeries?
Yes, sometimes the procedure is combined with lower eyelid surgery to make the eye area appear brighter and more youthful. Additionally, sometimes cheek implants or fillers are used to create more fullness in the cheeks. Tear trough augmentation is also occasionally performed in conjunction with a cheek lift. Each treatment plan is customized with the patient’s specific goals and requirements in mind.
How do I choose the right surgeon?
As with any surgery, a midface lift should be performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon with specialized training in this area. Individuals looking to have this procedure done should do the necessary research, look at images of past patients, read reviews, and ask former patients about their experience if possible.
What are the types of midface lifts performed?
A midface lift can be performed through the eyelids, and from the temples. Many other surgeons elect to make an incision inside the mouth. As stated, thread lifts and barbed sutures to lift the midface do not work for any length of time, and each of these techniques has its own unique constellation of complications. Transeyelid midface lifts can cause drooping of the eyelids. Transtemporal lifts, if done along the surface of the bone, can widen the face and make it look unnatural especially with facial expressions, and can produce prolonged swelling. If done on top of the muscles of the midface using a temporal approach (our preferred technique), these complications do not occur.
What are the complications of midface lift?
We often see complications from unsuccessful midface lifts from other practices. These include: abnormal weird appearance including too wide of the face (most common), paralysis, numbness, drooping of the lower eyelids (ectropion-second most common), and permanent swelling at the midface junction. We have recently written a chapter on midface complications in a Springer Book on eyelid surgical complications which will be published within the next year.
In our practice, the most common complications are bruising and swelling which lasts approximately 9-12 days, and swelling of the lid/cheek junction which we treat with radiofrequency energy. We do not perform subperiosteal midface lifts in our practice anymore. They are associated with widening of the cheeks, prolonged swelling and overelevation (overcorrection) and abnormal facial expressions because the muscles that lift the face have been translocated and lifted into an unnatural upwards and outwards direction.
What is the difference between a midface lift and a facelift?
In our practice, a midface lift is done with an incision that measures approximately 1” and that is hidden above the hairline. A facelift is done with an incision that surrounds the ear and is easily concealed at the ear facial junction.
Midface lift vs. neck lift
A midface lift lifts the cheek and does not address the neck. A neck lift addresses the neck.
*Each patient is unique and individual results may vary.
Cost of midface lift
The cost of a midface lift varies on whether the procedure is done under general or local anesthesia, in the office or in the operating room. Schedule a consultation if you would like to discuss the cost of these procedures. The costs also vary from surgeon to surgeon and are best addressed with the individual surgeon.
Midface lift vs. face lift
A midface lift addresses the cheeks primarily and secondarily elevates the jawline. A face lift primarily attacks the blurring of the jawline that occurs due to drooping of mid face tissues and lower face tissues. Elevation of facial tissues is done with an incision that goes from the sideburn around the ear and is, therefore, a procedure that involves a larger incision and a longer recuperation. This technique, however, can also address the aging neck and the jowl more directly than a midface lift.
How long does a midface lift last
A midface lift in our hands has a long duration of benefit. You continue to age, but your midface stays in place. In many patients, volume loss continues to occur, but the suspension keeps the cheeks in a good position. The volume loss is easily addressed with a variety of hyaluronic acid fillers.
What are the complications of an endoscopic brow lift?
Complications of an endoscopic brow lift are rare in our practice. Reported complications include hair loss, scarring, paralysis such that the brow does not elevate – so the operation actually makes the brow look droopier–numbness, irregular appearance, undercorrection, overcorrection, infection, and asymmetry. Most patients are afraid of looking too surprised after a brow lift, and this is caused by an overcorrection. If done using certain techniques, the hairline is elevated inappropriately.
Brow lift recovery
Brow lift recovery generally requires approximately one week. In consultation, we will show you pictures at every stage in their recovery. After surgery there is a sensation that you are “wearing a scarf.” Minimal swelling is observed after endoscopic brow lift.
Endoscopic brow lift vs. traditional or pretracheal brow lift
We almost never perform a “traditional brow lift.” The scars from this can result in hair loss, elevation of the hairline, as well as prolonged numbness. Endoscopic brow lift works well even in bald men and produces little in the way of visible scarring.
Cosmetic surgery: What is a cosmetic surgeon?
A cosmetic surgeon is anyone who does aesthetic surgery who is a surgeon. The American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery certifies some of these surgeons. It is a recognized organization that Plastic surgeons, facial plastic surgeons, and oculofacial plastic surgeons, and dermatologists, all perform cosmetic surgery as part of their training and in practice. Gynecologists also perform relevant cosmetic surgery related to form.
A dermatologist performs skin surgery and routinely can deal with skin complications better than someone who performs surgery, say, to improve the appearance of the sexual organs. The ideal cosmetic surgeon may not have experience in all fields but has specialty training, surgical skills and access to expertise from other cosmetic specialists. It is difficult to choose a surgeon, and it remains so. Board certification is not the sole criteria that should determine your choice. Meet with the surgeon, look at their before and after pictures, ask how many of the chosen procedure they do, ask them about their complication rates. Ask to speak to patients who have had the surgery you are considering. Most importantly, make sure you have a good connection with the surgeon and his/her office staff—you will be seeing a lot of them during the postoperative period and should feel comfortable with their expertise.
What are the most common types of cosmetic surgery?
The most common types of cosmetic surgery can be found by looking at the statistics. In general, on the face, the most common procedure that continues to be performed that is surgical is blepharoplasty surgery. These surgeries are commonly performed by facial plastic surgeons, plastic surgeons, oculofacial plastic surgeons, and ophthalmologists. The most common minimally invasive procedures performed on the face are Botox peels and filler injections.
*Each patient is unique and individual results may vary.
What is a minimally invasive face lift?
In our practice, we perform minimally invasive minimal face lifts. This involves small incisions placed in strategic locations where the incisions are completely concealed and where single areas of the face are elevated to produce natural and desirable and long-lasting results without the need for large incisions. A full face lift involves a full facial incision. Instead, multiple unconnected small incisions can lift the skin and underlying tissues in various vectors to produce pleasing and completely concealed results.
What is the SMAS
SMAS is a layer of muscle and tendon that fits between two layers of fat in the face. It is often believed that the SMAS needs to be tightened in order to achieve lifting of these fat pads, and most face lifts do some variant of tightening, lifting or cutting and elevation of the SMAS to achieve this result. We have found that lifting the SMAS strategically in certain locations in between or at the levels of the ligaments that support the SMAS can provide minimally invasive face lift that is long-lasting but does not necessarily require complete SMAS elevation.
Where are the incisions for a minimally invasive face lift?
Incisions for a minimally invasive face lift can be placed at the sideburn, in the hair at the temple, in front of or behind the ear where the ear meets the tissues of the face, and in each of these locations, the face can be lifted without resorting to a large scar.
What are the costs of the mini face lift, face lift, direct face lift, or SMAS lifts?
Costs vary from region to region and surgeon to surgeon and are best discussed at the time of the consultation. We see lots of people that regret the bargain they found. A facelift ages naturally and sometimes needs a secondary lift to keep it fresh: a bad facelift lasts forever. Click here for a consultation.
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Midface Lift Philadelphia with Dr. Allan Wulc
The surgeons at W Cosmetic Surgery are experts in midface lift techniques. Our interest in midface lifting in all its forms resulted in the publication of our book Midface Rejuvenation published by Springer. Our chapter on midface rejuvenation via a pre-periosteal approach defines our unique midface lift technique. Due to the technical challenges of the procedure, we have designed several instruments that may be useful to surgeons new to these procedures to make the procedure easier. These devices are either patented or in further development. Patients at our Philadelphia practice will gain the benefit of our surgeons’ experience in these techniques.
Dr. Allan Wulc, MD, FACS, is board certified by the ABMS board in Ophthalmology. Additionally, he is board certified in Facial Cosmetic Surgery by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, where he served as a trustee for six years. He is also board certified in plastic surgery by the American Board of Physician Specialists. He is further trained in Oculoplastic Surgery, Orbital Surgery, and Cosmetic Surgery and a diplomate of the nationally recognized and highly exclusive American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, and the American Academy of Surgeons.
The doctor is known for his holistic and meticulous approach to facial cosmetic surgery and he takes pride in his ability to provide patients with natural-looking results. He has also been selected to be part of Castle Connolly’s Best Doctor in the World list for the last decade and a half. To schedule a midface lift consultation with Dr. Wulc, contact his Philadelphia office at (610) 828-8880 or fill out this online contact form.
I have had two surgeries performed by Dr Wulc ( including mid face lift , eye lift, lower face lift,etc). I couldn't be happier. He is a gifted surgeon. I look completely natural . His motto "you only better " is so true! He is an artist! He and his staff are kind , accommodating, and genuinely concerned . Everything is clearly explained prior to a procedure and they go above and beyond in your care following surgery . If you are thinking of surgery, fillers or botox don't make a decision until you meet Dr.Wulc. You won't be disappointed.
Why Choose Dr. Allan Wulc
He is board-certified in: