Many patients make the mistake of thinking about a potential facelift surgery without considering how their weight, or changes in their weight, might affect its results. Could 10 or 15 pounds really affect the way your face looks? What about the new exercise routine you’ve just started a few weeks before your facelift date? While your overall health is essential to the success of your surgery and recovery process, facelift patients need to be aware of the way their results might be affected by last-minute fluctuations in weight. Even the way your improved face looks after surgery could be impacted by weight gain and weight loss.
Facelift Surgery and Its Ideal Candidate
The facelift procedure includes a multi-layer approach to improve the contour of the face and firmness of the skin. Your surgeon will tighten the facial muscle, remove or redistribute excess fat from the jaw and chin, tighten the underlying soft tissue of the lower face, and excise any extra skin. When the procedure is finished, the end results typically sweep 10 years from the patient’s appearance. For the right candidates, facelift surgery can be a successful and life-changing operation.
So who is a good candidate for facelift surgery? Ideally, you should be in good overall health, not smoke, and have realistic expectations for your facelift results. You should also be experiencing some of the signs of aging around the lower portion of the face, including the formation of jowls, the presence of lines and wrinkles, and the sagging of the skin. It is also essential that you be close to your ideal weight in order to encourage proper healing from surgery and long-lasting results. Weight added or subtracted from the face too closely before or sometime after surgery can impact your results.
When to Lose Weight Before Your Facelift
During your facelift consultation, the issue of weight fluctuations may come up and it should, if you are planning to lose a significant amount of weight before your surgery. For patients with weight loss goals, many facial plastic surgeons will encourage them to lose the weight and come back for a reassessment. This might not be the answer you want to hear, but there’s a good reason. Dropping pounds can affect the face’s appearance in unexpected ways and your surgeon doesn’t want to be taken by surprise in the operating room. Instead, by scheduling a secondary check-in, your surgeon is giving you the chance to lose the weight and be seen again for a new evaluation and an updated surgical plan.
When it comes to pre-surgical weight loss, timing is everything. Don’t try to make dramatic changes between the dates of your consultation and surgery. You may end up with results you didn’t expect, since you could change the very nature of what is being corrected by surgery. Instead, plan your weight loss and get it done before meeting with a plastic surgeon. If you begin at your ideal weight, or very close to it, your surgeon can have a clear idea of what changes should be made to achieve your desired results.
To lose weight at a steady, healthy pace, it’s essential to eat a well-balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals and to exercise regularly. Stay away from carb-free, fat-free, crash, or fad diets of any kind, as these won’t provide safe and sustainable weight loss. You might even gain more weight back and end up heavier than you started. Aside from poor weight loss, a proper diet and exercise regimen is a good habit to have. It can help your body heal faster and without complications, something that can only benefit you after surgery.
How to Lose Weight After Surgery
As previously mentioned, the ideal time to lose weight is before your consultation, but sometimes this just doesn’t work out. If you’re close to your ideal weight, you may be eligible for a facelift. After that surgery, don’t be too tempted to rush into a crash-diet or intense exercise routine. Even losing 5 to 10 pounds right away might affect your facelift results in an unexpected way. Of course, you want to achieve that ideal weight goal, but again, you’ll have to be careful with the timing.
Significant weight loss at a fast pace is inadvisable following any surgery, even a facelift. Your surgery will already have removed fat from the face, so losing more at a rapid pace could warp your new look. If you’re trying to work off any amount of weight after surgery, you should always wait until your recovery process is completed and you are cleared by your surgeon to participate in exercise again. Once you’ve started again, keep your weight loss moving at a slow and steady pace. Discuss your plans for weight loss with your surgeon before your facelift to get his or her opinion. The surgeon might schedule a follow-up to see how your results are doing after that weight finally comes off.
If you decide to lose weight, remember that it doesn’t have to come off all at once. Many healthy weight loss success stories span months and years, with their trimmed-down forms lasting a lifetime. Follow these tips to keep yourself motivated, on pace, and looking good after your facelift surgery:
- Aim for a slow rate of weight loss. The doctor-recommended 1 to 2 pounds of weight loss per week is a safe way to achieve lasting results.
- When you hit each 5-pound milestone, check in on the appearance of your face. Some people may experience initial weight loss from the chin and neck area that can change the appearance of facelift results.
- Be ready to try something new if you do experience unwelcome change. Your facial plastic surgeon can guide you through various techniques for adding volume back to the face if you find your look to be too skinny and severe. Fat transfers and dermal fillers are just two of the possibilities.
Managing your weight loss after a facelift surgery is not only possible, but it could be essential to your success. Remember that your plastic surgeon is there to help you throughout the facelift process, especially with personal issues like weight loss that could affect your surgery. Be honest about your plans for weight loss and take your surgeon’s advice seriously for weight loss results that don’t sacrifice your facelift results.
Start Planning Your Facelift Today
Achieving your best look begins with a faceliftconsultation with Dr. Robert Kessler, a board certified general and facial plastic surgeon, to learn more about what this surgery can do for you. Dr. Kessler completed his medical degree with honors from Tufts University in Boston as well as a distinguished General Surgical Residency with North Short/NYU in New York. Prior to that, he completed a Plastic Surgery residency with the U.S. Air Force and the University of Texas.
Today, Dr. Kessler operates his surgical practice in California, has worked as a surgical consultant and surgical assistant on ABC’s Extreme Makeover, and has lectured nationally and internationally on topics including facial rejuvenation, plastic surgery, and body contouring. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Kessler, contact his office, located at 2121 E Pacific Coast Hwy #200, in Newport Beach, CA, by calling 949.644.6544.