Will I Need a Facelift After Significant Weight Loss?
Achieving significant weight loss is something to be proud of—it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to make lasting lifestyle changes. Wherever you are in your weight loss journey, you are likely noticing many positive changes. However, one well-known and common side effect of significant weight loss is excess, sagging skin.
If you are reading this, chances are you are either facing or anticipating the possibility that you will have loose skin after your weight loss is complete. The good news is that there are many excellent options to address the issue, should you desire—and an experienced plastic surgeon can help.
Facial fat loss can lead to jowling, deep folds, a gaunt appearance, and sagging neck skin. Men and women who undergo massive weight loss often see these changes at a younger age than most, but facelift surgery can help.
While most information about post-bariatric surgery focuses on the body between the shoulders and knees, massive weight loss can significantly change the appearance of the face as well.
How can weight loss affect my face?
Many patients are surprised to find that although their body looks fitter and more youthful after undergoing massive weight loss, their face actually appears older. Here is the reason why.
Facial fat loss is a natural part of aging, and the underlying cause of many undesirable changes, such as jowling, sagging cheeks, loose skin on the neck/under the chin, and deep nasolabial folds. Eventually, all of us will begin to exhibit some of these traits, even those of us who’ve been at the same weight our entire adult lives.
Men and women who undergo massive weight loss often experience these issues at a faster rate, to a more dramatic degree, and at a younger age. Some patients have significant skin and soft tissue gathered around the neck and chin, while others feel they have a gaunt or sunken appearance due to facial fat loss.
How a facelift can help
Facelift surgery is the gold standard procedure to correct most of the above issues. During a facelift, sagging tissues on the mid and lower face are raised to a more youthful, natural position, excess skin is removed from the lower face and neck, and remaining skin is repositioned to achieve a smoother, more slender profile.
Choose a plastic surgeon who has specific experience performing post-bariatric facelifts, which require a unique surgical approach. Make sure your plastic surgeon has the skill, experience, and aesthetic sensibility that matches your goals.
The procedure is very similar to a traditional facelift; however, surgery is more focused on skin removal and tissue reshaping, and less on surface wrinkle reduction. Additionally, while older patients look natural with slightly thinner features (and will often look unnatural with too much volume), most younger patients will need some degree of facial volume replacement to restore a youthful appearance and avoid a gaunt or sunken look.
An expertly performed facelift can dramatically improve your appearance, and the results should age naturally with you.
Facial fillers are often part of the equation
One of my preferred tools to restore volume to the face is an injectable filler. Products such as Juvéderm Voluma or Restylane Lyft, which are specifically formulated to revolumize the cheeks and mid-face, can not only help make cheeks fuller, rounder, and softer, but also complement your facelift by providing a subtle lift without over-tightening skin.
Other fillers can be used to fill out sunken temples, smooth depressed tear troughs, soften nasolabial folds, or enhance lip volume—all common concerns in my weight loss patients. While the effects of fillers are temporary, they can last for one to two years before a touch-up treatment is needed.
Don’t let your age deter you from the right procedures
If you’re thinking you’re too young to have a facelift, consider that choosing the right procedure is more important than your age. Some younger patients rule out the possibility of surgery, not realizing it may be their most cost-effective solution over time—non-surgical options can add up and won’t provide the significant lifting that you’d get with a facelift.
Next step: consult with an experienced, board certified plastic surgeon
If you have facial sagging concerns and wonder if a facelift might be the right option for you, the next step is meeting in person with a plastic surgeon. They can help you understand your specific options and how best to achieve your goals. Every patient is different, and your plastic surgeon should individualize your treatment plan to best meet your needs.
Be sure you choose a plastic surgeon who has specific experience performing post weight loss or post-bariatric facelifts. As I touched on above, the surgical focus, and thus the techniques, differ somewhat from that of a traditional facelift, and you want to make sure your plastic surgeon has the skill, experience, and aesthetic sensibility that matches your goals.
If you have questions about your Maryland facelift options, I invite you to contact my office. My friendly staff can set up a personal, free consultation for you, where we can discuss your concerns and goals with no obligation to make a decision. Please call 301-791-1800 to set up an appointment. I hope I’ve answered some questions for you here, and congratulations on your achievement!