The signs of aging on your face can make you not only look older, but also more tired and unhappy. Lines and wrinkles can make you look angry or stressed, even when you feel terrific on the inside. While in years past the only option to reduce the look of wrinkles and other signs of aging on the face was a surgical procedure, in the 21st century, patients can choose considerably less invasive non-surgical procedures.
Non-surgical facelifts mean not only less recovery time and lower costs. There are cons, such as results which don’t last as long as results from a surgical procedure. Learning more about each procedure and discussing your specific wants, needs, and expectations with a surgeon can help you decide which option — surgical or non — is best for you.
What’s in a Non-Surgical Facelift?
If you opt for a non-surgical facelift, the surgeon uses fillers and injectables to mimic the results you would get from surgery. For example, you might choose to receive a filler to add volume in the eye area or to the lips. Injectable fillers used during a non-surgical facelift typically include Juvederm, Perlane, and Restylane. Each filler contains hyaluronic acid, which is a substance naturally produced by the body.
Another injectable filler, Radiesse, contains a calcium substance. It’s heavier than the other three fillers and is often used to augment the chin area, instead of surgically inserting an implant. Radiesse can also fill in lines by the mouth and add volume to the cheek area.
Finally, a non-surgical facelift might include Botox injections. Botox isn’t a filler like Radiesse, Juvederm, and the others. Instead, it temporarily blocks nerve signals sent to certain facial muscles, to reduce the formation of certain lines and wrinkles on the face. It’s commonly used to treat the lines between the eyebrows, crow’s feet by the eyes, and forehead lines. The surgeon can also use Botox to reduce the appearance of wrinkles on the chin.
Recovery and Downtime Differences
The recovery time after a non-surgical facelift is very minimal, compared to the recovery time following a surgical facelift. You’ll typically be able to go back to work right after your non-surgical procedure. After a facelift, you’ll typically need to rest and recover for several weeks. In some cases, it can take up to a month after the facelift for you to feel comfortable going in public or going back to work. You’ll need to wait at least four weeks after the surgery to start exercising again.
The results from a non-surgical facelift are also visible sooner than from a surgical procedure. It can take six months to a year for final results to appear after a facelift. But, the results from a non-surgical procedure appear almost right away. The results from hyaluronic fillers appear immediately while the results from Botox typically appear within four days.
The trade-off is that the results from a non-surgical facelift generally don’t last nearly as long as the results from a surgical facelift. In many cases, patients enjoy the results from facelift surgery for many years, in some cases for longer than 10 years. How long the results last from a non-surgical facelift depend on the injections used. Botox injections wear off after about six months, while some fillers can last for up to two years.
Risks and Considerations
The risk for complications after injections or surgery is generally low. But, complications can occur after either a non-surgical facelift or a surgical one. For example, bleeding can occur after a surgical facelift. Typically, it occurs in less than 2 percent of cases at the Bitar Institute. Another potential risk after surgery is infection at the surgical site. That can be reduced considerably by the administration of antibiotics and by cleaning the area well before and after surgery.
After a non-surgical facelift, there’s a chance you might have some redness or swelling at the site of each injection. If you receive Botox as part of your procedure, you’ll need to take care not to rub the area right after the treatment. Rubbing the area or tilting your face downwards can cause the injected substance to travel to another area of your face, causing droopiness in your eye or other issues.
Drs. George Bitar and Robert Centeno at the Bitar Institute are happy to answer any questions you have about facelift surgery or non-surgical facelifts. Schedule a consultation in the Virginia, Maryland, or Washington, DC area today to choose the treatment that’s best for you. To schedule an appointment, call (703) 206-0506 today.
George Bitar, MD, FACS is an award-winning, board-certified cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgeon, the Founder and Medical Director of Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute in Virginia. He specializes in the latest surgical and minimally invasive techniques to scar management and reduction. Dr. Bitar is involved in groundbreaking research and education in plastic surgery and has authored numerous articles, abstracts, and chapters.