Dear Dr. Wolf, I have wanted to get a face-lift for the longest time, but every time I see women walking around with taut skin by their ears, I decide against it. I think face-lifts are extremely noticeable, especially around the ear area where the incision is placed in front of the ear. Do plastic surgeons ever do the incision in the hair or behind the ear for a more natural look? When considering a surgeon, what should I look for?
Face-lifts do not have to be noticeable or look tight. If done properly, the face-lift should be an added boost to your look and not take it over.
The incision can be planned to be in the hairline behind the ear and in the temporal hairline above and behind the ear. The incision in front of the ear may be placed inside the ear itself so that the incision is virtually invisible.
The “tight” effect is due to an overzealous surgeon or a surgeon who tightens the skin and not the underlying muscle.
If done properly, the face-lift should enhance one’s natural aspects and make the patient look better.
Choosing a surgeon should be a careful and well-thought-out endeavor. Use the following criteria:
• Choose a surgeon who is board-certified in facial plastic surgery or plastic surgery.
• Make sure he does face-lifts frequently, and that it is a big part of his practice.
• Ask to see pictures of previous patients before and after. There is no excuse for your surgeon not to have them, so do not accept any.
• Make sure you like your surgeon’s aesthetic views, because what he may deem a successful operation may be your worst horror.
• Get referrals from friends and family members who have had surgery, and ask if they were satisfied.
• Finally, get on the Internet and check out the physician’s data bank to determine if your future surgeon has had chronic complaints against him or her. Remember, where there is smoke you may be burned.
Carlos Wolf, M.D., is a board-certified facial plastic surgeon who sees patients in Napa and Miami. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.