A facelift is one of the most influential procedures to combat signs of aging. However, the surgery can also lead to an overdone or unnatural appearance if not executed properly or left in the hands of a non-board certified plastic surgeon. According to these experts, you know a good facelift when you see one, and these are the signs.
The neck is free of deformities
Signs of a bad facelift can be seen everywhere, from the neck to the ears, which is why it’s important to trust a professional who has a history of executing natural-looking facelifts. Short Hills, NJ facial plastic surgeon Alexander Ovchinsky, MD says a “cobra neck deformity” can form after a bad facelift as a result of “the excessive removal of submental and inter-platysmal fat and inadequate correction of platysmal bands and laxity.” This deformity appears as an indentation in the center of the neck.
You look more youthful
“Well-executed facelift surgery almost universally provides patients with natural results and a younger rejuvenated appearance,” says Dr. Ovchinsky. Not only should patients look younger and more attractive following a good facelift, but they should also have “a youthful fullness to the face,” says Denver facial plastic surgeon Brent Smith, MD.
Your ears look normal
The ears can easily be collateral damage during a facelift gone wrong. Scottsdale, AZ facial plastic surgeon Kelly V. Bomer, MD says a good facelift doesn’t result in any “unnatural change to the shape of the earlobe and/or ear cartilage.”
Dr. Ovchinsky warns that a “pixie ear deformity” could occur, distorting the earlobe “due to postoperative scar contracture secondary to over-resection of the skin redundancy and inadequate soft tissue support.”
Your skin looks healthy
Part of having a more youthful look is having healthy-looking skin, says Dr. Smith. If you go opt for a facelift but end up with unhealthy-looking skin, the procedure wasn’t worthwhile.
Angles are symmetrical
A good facelift looks natural, and that includes the angle of the lift. Dr. Bomer warns that an unnatural angle or asymmetrical angles of lift on one side compared to the other can occur, making the procedure look obvious and uneven.
You have a natural-looking smile
If you’re getting a facelift, you’re looking to alter some aspects of your appearance, but likely not your smile. Dr. Smith says a good facelift maintains the mouth area so you can keep a natural-looking smile.
The face is not pulled too tight
While part of the goal of a facelift is to tighten up the face, too much tightness is a bad thing. Dr. Smith says a good facelift has a natural appearance rather than looking pulled or overdone. Dr. Ovchinsky refers to this as the “wind tunnel” facial appearance, “which is a distortion of facial features due to excessive lateral pull on the tissues and inadequate vertical correction.”
Your jawline and neckline look youthful
Following a facelift, you want the rest of the surrounding area to match the youthful restoration of the face. Dr. Smith says a youthful-looking jawline and neckline are essential in a good facelift.
Your platysmal bands are minimized
The platysmal bands are the two strips of muscle that run vertically down either side of your neck. When the appearance of these bands is obvious, it can lead to an aged appearance. Following a good facelift, Dr. Smith says the apperarance of these platysmal bands should be minimized or non-existing.
There are no visible scars
Dr. Bomer says a good facelift should be “artfully camouflaged and executed with skilled precision.” In Dr. Bomer’s book, this means there shouldn’t be any overt signs of alteration. Dr. Smith notes that in a good facelift, scars are expertly hidden in places like anatomic skin creases.