Ask Dr. Pane: Will A Facelift Repair A Sagging Jawline?

The Question

At Atlantic Coast Aesthetics, we get a lot of questions regarding the face and neck area. Not everyone wins the genetic lottery and gets what we’ve come to think of as the “ideal” face. Due to accidents, injury, illness, weight gain and loss or simple genetics, some people may find their faces plain or otherwise unsatisfactory. Sometimes, cosmetic surgery may be the answer. Sometimes, it isn’t. A case in point is the subject of this week’s Ask Dr. Pane segment. The patient writes to us from Instagram and wants to know, “Will a facelift repair a sagging jawline?”

The Case

Dr. Pane reviewed the pictures the patient sent in. He noticed an apparent break or disconnect between the muscles of the front of the face, just ahead of the lips, and the jawline. However, patients are reminded that pictures are often useful as a diagnostic tool for forming an initial opinion, they are not and should never be used as a substitute for a one-on-one clinical consultation and complete medical history. Photographs are almost never as revealing as we would like to believe they are, and subtle changes of light, shadow and perspective can make a big difference in what they show or hide.

The Answer

One of the best, and worst, things about living in Southern Florida is that there is a surfeit of cosmetic surgeons in the area. While on the surface this sounds great, it can be problematic because some people will say or do anything to make a buck, and unfortunately some cosmetic surgeons are no different. If a patient shops around long enough, chances are they will find a surgeon who will enthusiastically go along with what the patient thinks is the ideal course of action, whether that is or isn’t actually the case. For this reason, Dr. Pane strongly encourages patients to seek multiple opinions and err on the side of the least invasive treatment plan offered, to minimize potential complications and the risk of unnecessary procedures.

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Dr. Pane noted that the patient appears from her pictures to be no older than her early 20s. This is very young to consider full-blown cosmetic surgery, although it is not unheard of. Some reasons a patient may be considered a viable candidate for plastic surgery at a young age include correction of congenital birth defects, patients who have undergone bariatric surgery or patients who have suffered accidents or illnesses which caused some kind of disfigurement of the face or skin. These are all considered perfectly good reasons to consider a younger patient for procedures which otherwise might not even be on the table until their mid-thirties or older.

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Because of the fact Dr. Pane only has photos to go on, and since the patient didn’t state her age or other vital factors, he says he would strongly recommend against a full facelift at this time. The reason for this is because while a facelift is considered permanent surgery, as weight fluctuates, the skin ages and gravity exacts its toll, areas which were corrected or weren’t initially a problem may become worse over time. However, fillers around the area of the apparent “break” or radio frequency treatments may be a valid option which will give her far better overall results without the need for a more invasive surgical procedure, with its attendant risks now and later.

 

Regardless of the type of treatment a patient receives, following proper preparatory and aftercare procedures as outlined by the surgeon and clinical staff can help ensure the best possible outcome and the most durable result, with the least risk of complications. This includes avoiding environmental and habitual factors which may interfere with the healing process or cause the treatments to be less effective than they might otherwise be, such as consuming alcohol, smoking or exposure to direct sunlight, as well as taking any prescriptions given exactly as directed.

If you have a question regarding any aspect of cosmetic surgery, the staff of Atlantic Coast Aesthetics is always happy to discuss your interests, concerns and needs. Simply email us at our website; call us at (561) 422-4116; or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Your question might even help us educate and inform other patients as the focus of an upcoming Ask Dr. Pane segment, where our founder and Chief Medical Officer answers your questions live and in person. Remember, at ACA we believe the only bad question is the one you don’t ask!

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