Ask Dr. Pane! Should I lose weight now or after an upcoming facelift surgery?

The Question

The facelift is one of the oldest and most popular cosmetic surgery procedures. In fact, it’s so ubiquitous that the very word “facelift” has become synonymous with plastic surgery, calling to mind Michael Jackson, Joan Rivers and other celebrities. At Atlantic Coast Aesthetics, the facelift is still one of our top procedures, so it’s only natural that we’d get a lot of questions and interest about it. One example is the topic of our weekly Ask Dr. Pane segment this week. The patient asks, “Should I lose weight now or after an upcoming facelift surgery?” The surgery is scheduled within a couple of months and the patient wants to lose 30-40 pounds, but wants to make sure if they wait until after they will get the optimal results.

The Case

In this case, no pictures were included. However, the basic facts of the case made rendering an opinion very easy for our Chief Medical Officer and founder, Dr. Thomas A. Pane.

Dr. Pane’s Answer

In any case where weight loss is a factor, it is almost always better to wait until the weight loss goal has been achieved and the loss has stabilized. This is because a facelift is designed to lift and tighten the skin of the face and sometimes the neck region. However, this procedure does little to nothing for subcutaneous adipose deposits, or areas of fat deposit under the skin in layman’s terms. Especially if there is fullness of the face and neck, this will tend to counter the tightening effect of the lift and make the skin appear slacker and droopier than it should.

The facelift is one of the most durable and popular cosmetic procedures for a reason. In most cases, a facelift’s positive results can be expected to last years or even decades. However, the patient and the skin will obviously continue to age. However, when the patient is intent on losing weight, especially prior to any lifting or sculpting, it is almost universally considered a good idea to get the weight loss out of the way first. Liposuction can help shape problem areas, but is not a stand-in for diet and exercise, nor should it be used as such.

Another factor to consider is that of the patient’s personal medical history, overall health and desired results. These are very difficult to evaluate, even from pictures. It is by far better to have an in-person clinical evaluation and analysis of both the existing area, the expected outcome and factors which may influence the surgeon’s approach to the procedure. There is not one “perfect” way to do a facelift, and some patients may respond better, with more ideal results, to one approach versus another. Having a cosmetic surgeon with the skills and experience to explore several different avenues to the same result can help reduce the likelihood of complications and drastically increase the odds of a terrific outcome.

When considering any form of cosmetic surgery, it is always good to ask a lot of questions. It is also important to remember that every patient is a unique person with a unique body, medical history and risk factors. Because of this, it is never a good idea to get “married” to the idea of one approach to achieving a specific goal. One perennial issue Dr. Pane has noticed is that of patients going on the Internet, finding the “right” way to do it and insisting upon it, not realizing the approach they want may not work for them. You and your surgeon should be able to work as a team to discover the best way forward for you and your needs.

As with any other kind of cosmetic surgery, it is also important to follow aftercare instructions diligently. This can help reduce the possibility of postoperative complications and help maximize the positive outcome of the procedure.

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If you have a question, interest or concern regarding cosmetic surgery, we at ACA are always pleased to discuss your points of interest, and we want it to be as easy as possible to contact us! You can follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, contact us through our website at or call our clinic at (561) 422-4116. Your question might even serve as an educational opportunity for others as the focus of a forthcoming Ask Dr. Pane segment, answered live on the air by Dr. Pane in person. Remember, at ACA we believe the only bad question is the one you don’t ask!


*Individual results may vary

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