Do you look in the mirror and see your mother or father looking back at you?
We all want to stay young looking but most of us do not want to go through a face lift. We just want to look like our younger self. A new technique, using soft tissue fillers has enabled doctors to create a liquid face lift to plump specific areas of the face that have lost fat and sagged. These new filler techniques can lift the cheek and drooping skin around the mouth. Results are very exciting when the technique is properly applied. Because we are injecting liquid or semi solid fillers, we call this technique the liquid face lift.
Why Our Faces Begin to Look Older-Loss of Fat
We talk to so many people every day in our Boston area office about some type of facial rejuvenation. Most men and women feel that their faces look aged because they are sagging and worry that they need to be nipped and tucked or have a face lift to look younger. In fact, there are many things that contribute to an aging face: lines, wrinkles, discoloration and sagging skin. The one factor that most people don’t consider is loss of fullness.
A youthful face is plump with full rounded cheeks.
The cruelness of aging is that people lose fat in their faces and gain it elsewhere. Sadly, fat in a face contributes to filling out the skin and keeping a face looking smooth and supple while fat tends to do the opposite in other areas of the body.
Why Have a Face Lift
If loss of fullness is a significant reason for our aging, why do people need and get facelifts? Why not just add fullness to achieve a youthful look again?
The complex answer is that some people need volume, some need surgery and some need both. A properly done face lift in the appropriately selected patient can produce an excellent result-see before and after photo below:
The Liquid Face Lift
Rarely are people excited to have surgery, so many people that come to see us ask about other options or things to do in the present time to possible delay the eventual need for a surgical procedure. The internet and media have discussed and promoted the liquid face lift and many patients ask about it. This lift is a lifting, plumping, filling, smoothing and re-contouring of the face with a combination of various injectable dermal fillers and neurotoxins.
The injectable dermal fillers that we use in our office for facial re-contouring are hydroxyl apatite (Radiesse™) and hyaluronic acid (Juvederm™, Restalyn™ and now Perlane™). Most people know these products when used to treat nasal labial folds (the lines connecting your nose to your face) or to plump the lips. Results can be very nice-see before and after photos of filler treatment of the nasal labial folds shown below:
Patients achieve nice improvement of these lines with injectable dermal fillers but these products can also be used to increase fullness in other areas of the face. This is what the liquid face lift achieves-see before and after liquid face lift below:
The mid cheek area can be augmented with fillers and this new volume significantly enhances a youthful face. In fact, cheeks with more volume typically have less dramatic nasal labial fold lines. A third area treated in this lift is the pre-jowl sulcus. These are the vertical lines that are on either side of the mouth. They connect the edges of the mouth to the jaw. These are also known as Marionette lines.
To achieve these results, often a few different fillers are used in each procedure. Each filler listed above has its own specific characteristics. They are made in different ways and are intended to be used for different situations. The use of fillers for facial augmentation is very patient specific and surgeon specific.
Botox™ Also Helps Enhance the Liquid Face Lift
The use of botulinum toxin (Botox™) in addition to injectable dermal fillers can make for better, longer-lasting results. Botox™ blocks the nerve impulses that cause muscle contractions. When injected into specific areas, it effectively relaxes the muscles that are responsible for making certain facial expressions; these repeated facial expressions contribute to the breakdown of collagen in certain areas, leading to deep creases and expression lines. Lines that can be reduced with Botox™ are frown lines, worry lines, crows feet, bunny lines, and lip lines. No, Botox™ does not make you look like a figure in the wax museum! You look like yourself after Botox™, just you without frown lines, worry lines, crows feet and lip lines. Botox™ has been safely used in young children with spastic muscle problems since 1978 and is widely used around the world. Results of Botox™ injection in the crows feet can be dramatic-see photo below of patient smiling before and after Botox™ injection:
Botox™ can be very useful when dermal fillers have been used to fill in expression lines, such as the creases that formed when smiling. The repeated over-use of the surrounding muscles will cause the filler to break down more quickly. This breakdown shortens the length of time before more injections are needed to maintain results. With less muscle contraction after Botox™ the filler used for your liquid face lift should last longer.
How Long Does It Take to Have A Liquid Face Lift?
Facial recontouring as described above can be accomplished in an office visit. A combination of nerve blocks and local anesthetics makes for the treatment to be very easily tolerated. What must happen first though is a thorough consultation with a plastic surgeon. In our office, we perform a lengthy review of your past medical history, allergies, previous facial treatments and ultimately your facial concerns and goals. The whole visit including treatment may take 45 minutes to an hour.
How Will I Look Right After?
You will see the early results immediately-we hand you a mirror and let you see. The results will improve over the next 3-6 weeks as the filler absorbs fluids and the body starts making new collagen in response to the filler.
Usually there is minimal or no bruising. The area may be slightly swollen and pink from the injection, but ice packs take care of this. With makeup you should be fine right after treatment or certainly the next day.
Who Is the Best Candidate for the Liquid Face Lift?
Ideal candidates are realistic men and women who are beginning to notice gaunt, sunken features and suffering from loss of tissue volume causing wrinkles, lines, and folds. These patients should have good skin texture and elasticity, be in good physical and psychological health and non smoking. Most patients are in their mid to late thirties up to patients in their fifties and sixties. Age does not matter, what matters is whether you have lost facial volume and want to plump your face to a more youthful appearance
Please call or email us for a consult or to discuss facial rejuvenation and what your “liquid face lift” should be! Be sure to read our free email newsletter to stay up to date on the newest techniques in aesthetics, non-surgical facial, eyelid and body rejuvenation techniques and plastic surgery. Read Save Your Face to learn how to prevent facial aging.
Dr. Sean Doherty