Facelift surgery or rhytidectomy is commonly performed to minimize the appearance of wrinkles, gaunt areas, and other signs of aging. However, some massive weight loss patients may also need the procedure to address skin laxity and other forms of deformities after shedding large amounts of excess weight.
With one-third of US adults considered obese, the number of weight loss or bariatric surgery patients has been steadily increasing over the past several years.
While weight loss surgery can decrease the risk of obesity-related illnesses and even death, almost all patients will experience deformity at a varying degree. In fact, it is not uncommon to develop hanging, loose skin in the tummy area that even reaches the pubic region, causing tissue breakdown, non-healing irritation, and foul odor.
The right timing is important to enjoy the full benefits of post-bariatric facelift surgery. While most patients are able to shed most of the excess weight between eight and 12 months, the general rule is to wait at least one to two years after weight loss surgery to make sure the weight has already stabilized.
Aside from waiting until the weigh has stabilized, Dr. Smaili said it is also important to make sure that prior to facelift, the patients are no longer malnourished from the sudden change in their diet and lifestyle.
Because each patient has a different anatomy and “problem” area, a good doctor will examine the skin quality, wrinkles and fat pad to come up with an individualized technique, which can help achieve the best result possible.
For massive weight loss patients, their facelift is often complemented by neck lift to achieve a more balanced result. In general, the goal is to refine the jowls, eliminate or reduce the appearance of wrinkles and saggy skin, and raise the displaced cheek pads.
Incisions are always needed to reshape the skin and underlying tissue, but to hide the scars they are typically positioned in front of and behind the ears, extending behind the hairline.
Compared to traditional facelift, the renowned plastic surgeon has noticed that post-bariatric facelift typically involves more skin removal to correct the deformity caused by dramatic weight loss.
Despite the facial “deformity” caused by excess skin after significant weight loss, all facelift surgeries are considered cosmetic procedures so health insurers do not pay for their cost.