Leave it to the Real Housewives of New York City to make facelifts a trending topic in 2020. While we may be used to seeing our favorite reality stars indulging in Botox parties and visiting the plastic surgeon for nonsurgical treatment here and there, Sonja Morgan’s recent admission to a full-fledge facelift took the reality star cosmetic treatment trend up a notch. Throughout the last season of her show, it was hard not to compare her on-camera pre-facelift look to her renewed and refreshed result just a few months later. Although we shouldn’t make it a habit to model ourselves after television stars, Morgan drew attention to how phenomenal natural-looking facial rejuvenation results can really be.
Here, top facial experts answer our most asked questions about the modern-day facelifts that are transforming our favorite celebrities.
Q: How do you know whether a “liquid facelift” or a traditional facelift is the right choice?
Most plastic surgeons believe the best candidate for a facelift is someone who is bothered enough by their appearance that they want to undergo a surgical procedure to match how they look on the outside with how they feel on the inside. “When less-invasive treatments like injectables— Botox, fillers and fat transfer—can no longer treat fine lines and deep-set wrinkles, jowling, laxity in the neck, and volume loss, then it’s probably time to consider a facelift,” notes La Jolla, CA plastic surgeon Robert Singer, MD.
Q: How can we know what results are possible?
Some doctors ask patients to bring in images of themselves in their younger years to help establish realistic expectations. Results can be gauged by a variety of factors, including age, skin elasticity and facial bone structure. New York facial plastic surgeon Konstantin Vasyukevich, MD recommends doing “the mirror test” to see if a facelift would be of benefit: “Put your fingers on the side of your face and pull the facial tissue upward, imitating the effects of surgery. This simple maneuver can give patients an idea of what they may look like after a facelift.”
Q: What other surgeries are commonly combined with a facelift?
Procedures that are commonly done at the same time include blepharoplasties, browlifts, lip lifts, and necklifts. “I often pair them with a minimally invasive temporal browlift, which is a go-to procedure for fine-tuning the brow and eye areas,” says New York facial plastic surgeon Andrew Jacono, MD, who performed the now famous deep-plane facelift on Morgan. “The results include a more energetic, fresh eye and brow arch without creating the dreaded ‘surprised’ look, as it doesn’t lift the central portion of the brow.”
Q: Why do some doctors recommend undergoing a fat transfer along with a facelift?
Some surgeons believe autologous fat grafting is an essential part of modern facial rejuvenation. Dr. Singer says conservatively filling the cheeks and nasolabial area can soften a facelift and reduce reliance on fillers in the future.
Q: Which nonsurgical treatments are typically done at the same time?
“There are so many complementary treatments to a facelift now,” Beverly Hills, CA facial plastic surgeon Davis B. Nguyen, MD says. “We used to just lift up the skin and get this very tight result, getting rid of every line and every pore, but the patient would look weird. Now, because we want this very natural contour, we leave the rest of the lines for radio frequency, lasers or fillers, so that patients still look very natural.”
Dover, OH facial plastic surgeon David Hartman, MD says his facelifts “always include laser treatments on the face, neck and eyelids to give additional smoothing and color-correction.” Chicago plastic surgeon Michael Byun, MD likes laser treatments too, but stresses the importance of being careful with post-procedure skin. “I will treat the central face area, but not the peripheral skin or anywhere close to the ear because the skin there is very thin and now under tension after the surgery.”