The Best Facelift Is The One No One Notices. Expert Advice On Achieving Natural-Looking Results.
The greatest compliment any plastic surgeon can receive are the words, “I can’t believe it: the results look so natural!”
But the hard truth is that not all plastic surgeons achieve the natural-looking results that patients desire—especially when it comes to facelifts. A common misconception is that plastic surgery is noticeable. The truth is, great plastic surgery is invisible. When performed properly, patients should look natural and beautiful or handsome, yet totally untouched.
To better understand what sets apart top plastic surgeons from the rest of the pack, we recently spent time with Dr. Barry Weintraub, a board-certified plastic surgeon—and recognized Top Doctor in the field of plastic surgery. His expert insight, based on more than 25 years of experience, provides facelift candidates a clear understanding of the secrets of great plastic surgery.
“Often, the first words from a patient in consultation are, ‘I want to look better, but I don’t want to look like I’ve had surgery,’” Dr. Weintraub explains. “And let’s face it: we’ve all seen people in restaurants, at parties, in public who have had obvious plastic surgery—and surgery, by nature of needing it, indicates that the patient is of a certain age. In my opinion, not having surgery is better than having noticeable surgery.”
We asked Dr. Weintraub how he achieves facelifts that are undetectable. “There are many techniques that I employ,” he stated from his Fifth Avenue location on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. “Let’s first look at the component parts. A facelift can encompass an eyelid lift (blepharoplasty) to correct overly hooded eyes as well as puffy, tired undereye skin and pouches. Rhinoplasty or revision rhinoplasty can help tremendously in making patients look younger since noses droop and appear bigger with age. Chin augmentation, neck lifting, and corrective laser resurfacing can all be incorporated in facelift surgery if needed.”
Dr. Weintraub helps to define the surgeries above and cautions about the pitfalls to avoid. “With a facelift, the way to avoid producing results that look like The Joker is to make sure to treat the underlying musculature, or SMAS layer, as separate from the skin. This way, you do the ‘heavy lifting’ and create a strong, youthful substructure but with the skin re-draped on its own so it doesn’t pull,” he says. This technique translates to the incisional areas as well, so that the skin does not stretch to eventually create thick, ropey, ugly scars, but fine, undetectable hairline incisions that hide inside the ear, so women can wear their hair up.
The same goes for neck lifts, with incisions hidden behind the ear in the ear crease. “Also important is to make sure that the earlobes have a natural curve, rather than looking like ‘Satyr ears’ that are pulled and stitched onto the face,” he adds.
We’ve all seen people in restaurants, at parties, in public who have had obvious plastic surgery—and surgery, by nature of needing it, indicates that the patient is of a certain age. In my opinion, not having surgery is better than having noticeable surgery.
With eyelid lifts, according to Dr. Weintraub, the trick is to not remove too much skin and fat so the patient does not have the “deer-in-the-headlights” look, but to recreate the eyelids of a patient’s younger years, with meticulously sewn incisions hidden low in the blink crease. “The eyes are a key identifying characteristic of a face and it’s important to respect their shape,” he says.
With chin implants, Dr. Weintraub places the incision not on the outside of the chin, but through a small intraoral incision in front of the gum line—again, with the goal of not having any visible, telltale signs of surgery. Rhinoplasties can correct dorsal humps as well as bulbous and/or downturned tips. Here, the trick is to create a nose that suits the patient’s face because noses are not “one size fits all,” Dr. Weintraub explains.
A word of caution from Dr. Weintraub: If doctors boast about how fast they can perform surgery, don’t be impressed. It’s important to address a patient’s concerns about being under anesthesia, but facelift surgery is not something to rush through. One of the more common “time-savers” is using staples to close a wound. Although Dr. Weintraub understands why some doctors use stapling, he personally never employs that approach, instead utilizing extremely thin suture material that he hand sews under loupe magnification. “Fine stitches are the only way to ensure a truly seamless and natural-looking closure,” he says.
To help ensure superior results, Dr. Weintraub recommends working only with a board-certified plastic surgeon. Certification with the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) is a good sign your doctor has the proper education. Another indicator of expertise is membership with The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and The American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS). Both are recognized as having the world’s most stringent requirements for admission. As a result, only the best-of-the-best plastic surgeons are selected as members.
The secret to finding the right plastic surgeon? Dr. Weintraub summarizes: Look for expertise, experience, endorsement, and aesthetic awareness.