Question: I am a 62-year-old woman and my youngest daughter is getting married in two months. I’ve had several consults from plastic surgeons for facelift surgery in the past few years, but I’m afraid that I have procrastinated too long. Is it too close to the wedding to have a facelift; if so, do you have any recommendations?
Answer: Your dilemma is not that uncommon. Facial rejuvenation surgery requires a lot of forethought, and you certainly have to be mentally prepared to undergo a procedure. You need to find a Surgeon that you are comfortable with and have an appropriate amount of time for healing. Even though most of my patients look great within an average of 2 weeks, there are things, which can occur that can’t be predicted. For instance, some patients because of dietary supplements or aspirin use tend to bleed more during surgery, which can cause excessive bruising postoperatively, thus a longer recovery time. Smokers tend to take longer to heal and can be prone to complications due to poor circulation. The amount of postoperative swelling is also something that can’t be foreseen. Most patients will see swelling resolve anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks.
Probably the biggest hurdle for you at this point though, is the surgeon’s schedule. Most surgeons with a great deal of experience in facelifts probably have their schedules booked ahead a few weeks at least and wouldn’t be able to perform your operation within the week of your visit. So, you’re actually looking at a much smaller window of time than 2 months. As a general rule, I will not operate on anyone less than 2-3 months prior to an important event, just to be on the safe side.
Even though the timing isn’t right for you to have the procedure before this wedding, there are some great options that you can take advantage of that will have you looking more youthful for the event. Then you can plan your surgical procedure at a more optimal date. There are injectable products requiring only an office visit at least three week prior to your scheduled event that can make you look significantly younger.
Botox can be used to soften the lines of the forehead, crow’s feet, and upper lip. Restylane or Juvederm can soften the nasolabial creases (around the mouth) as well as just slightly plump the lips, which naturally thin with age. Cosmoderm can be used to treat the fine wrinkles around the mouth and face. Bruising can occur slightly at the injection sites, that’s why I recommend treatment 2-3 weeks prior to the event. A series of microdermabrasions ending one week prior to the wedding will also help to give your skin a radiant more rejuvenated glow.
The combination of all these products will give you wonderful results and get you some compliments along the way. The longevity of the injectables vary from 4-6 months in duration or longer in some patients. The effect can be extraordinary and with little risk Over time, there is no substitute for facial rejuvenation surgery but these suggestions will help significantly in your situation.
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. Questions may be condensed and reformatted for the column.
Questions are answered by Dr. Mark A. Foglietti
, a nationally recognized board-certified plastic surgeon and author.