Defined, angular facial features not only distinguish facial beauty but also point to youth and vitality. Age-induced skin laxity produces sagging cheeks and jowls, and the cheeks, jawbone, and neckline often lose their youthful definition. Patients who would like to reap the greatest benefits from their facelift should consider combining their facelift with facial implants or fat injections to enhance their facial structure. Alternatively, a deep plane facelift may accomplish both, without implants.
Facial Structure and Aging
New scientific research has shown that facial structure can be adversely affected by the aging process. The bones of the body, formerly perceived as relatively static once we reach adulthood, are now known to be constantly changing. This is why individuals tend to lose stature and become shorter as they age. In several studies of men and women ranging in age from 20 to 65+, researchers discovered that the older individuals had comparatively shorter jaws, receded chins, sinking cheekbones, and lower rims of the eye sockets. This research suggests that aging leads to a loss of bone support and structure in the face, specifically in the jaws, cheeks, and eye-socket bones. This reduction in structural support demonstrates that skin and soft tissue laxity are not the only cause of sagging cheeks, jowls, and drooping brows.
Facelift Surgery and Facial Implants
While facelift surgery has advanced far beyond the “cut and pull” techniques of the 20th century, it still focuses on the soft tissue rather than the bones. Experienced facial surgeons can skillfully tighten and lift the muscles, tissues, and skin of the face to rejuvenate the appearance. Surgeons may also use fat injections or dermal fillers to reverse facial volume loss. With these techniques, a facial surgeon can noticeably rejuvenate the face with natural-looking results. But to adequately address age-related bone loss and achieve the most dramatic results, it may be advisable to incorporate facial implants with facelift surgery.
Facial implants are used to augment the facial skeleton in the following ways:
- Chin implants are used to enhance a receded chin and improve the balance and definition of the profile and neckline.
- Cheek implants, cheek fillers (such as JUVÉDERM VOLUMA® XC), or fat transfer are used to create a more angular face shape and counteract sagging cheeks.
- Sub-malar implants or fat transfer are used to restore youthful fullness to the midface by elevating the area below the cheekbones and above the nasolabial folds.
- Jaw angle implants or facial fillers are used to enhance a small jaw and restore jaw definition loss from sagging jowls.
Since research shows that bone loss occurs as we age, bone implants can be just as important for facial rejuvenation as skin and muscle tightening. Facial implants are long lasting and can enhance the results of facelift surgery. When placed on the facial bones, implants serve as part of your facial skeleton and can support the soft tissues in their newly tightened and lifted positions. Strengthening the facial structure with implants can counteract the loss of bone definition due to aging and restore a youthful, natural-looking appearance.