Dr. Little’s Philosophies
The Timing of Facial Rejuvenation
Patients often ask: “When is the correct or best time to have a facelift?”
No Simple Answer
There is no simple answer that fits everyone. A review of the photographic Results section, for example, will reveal a wide range in patient ages. If the results of facelift were short-lived, then precise timing–tied to a key event or time in one’s life–might be logical. But the results of a well-done facelift persist over an extended period–more than a decade–and even then leave the patient more youthful in their appearance then had the facelift not been undertaken.
Is Sooner Better?
Some surgeons argue “the sooner the better;” there is some truth in this advice. The patient who has a facelift earlier rather than later in life can expect less overall change at the time of her surgery and thus a subtler transition. And her youthful countenance will be easier to maintain through her remaining lifetime. Whereas, for some older patients, the return to a convincing “bloom of youth” may no longer be possible or practical. But plastic surgeon exhortations for surgery at the first aging concern appear self-serving. Some individuals, however, do develop premature or early structural aging to a degree that does justify an early full facelift; but more often than not, lesser steps can be effective and appropriate, such as the micro- or mini-lift, structural fat grafting alone, or segmental surgery limited to the eyelids and brows, for example. In any case, no ethical plastic surgeon will recommend that a patient undergo premature surgery that cannot be expected to bring a worthwhile benefit that justifies the surgery; certainly Dr. Little will not.
Illustration:Leonardo da Vinci, “Clock mechanism with bell,” ca. 1495-1498, Codex Madrid I fol. 27v, Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid