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Facelift After Weight Loss

Whether it is the result of bariatric surgery or good old fashioned diet and exercise, a large weight loss is a life changing commitment that you should be proud of, but a significant weight loss can unfortunately leave you unhappy with the changes that you notice in your face and neck.

The face is different because it cannot be covered up and camouflaged with clothing like you can do with loose skin and saggy areas in the midsection or arms.  Your face is quite simply your most important feature, and as such it requires a special focus when considering the effects of large amounts of weight loss.  When you look in the mirror and the person you see doesn’t match with how you feel inside then it is time to consider your options.

Unique Challenges

You first need to understand some of the qualities that make a face youthful.

Take a look at some people that you find attractive who are at a healthy weight in their 20s and 30s.  One thing you will notice is a fullness to the face, especially around the cheeks and eyes.  This causes the various subunits of the face to blend seamlessly with one another.

Significant weight loss combined with the normal effects of aging and sun damage over many years ends up with a much different look.  Similar to other areas of the body, the face is especially prone to developing loose, saggy skin with loss of the underlying muscle support.  This leads to an unhealthy aged look and highlights the deep folds and wrinkles throughout the face.  In the neck it leads to sagging and what many people decsribe as a “turkey neck” appearance.

Learn more about ways to improve your neck in our recent blog post.

Your Options

The great thing about facelift and necklift surgery is that each case is truly unique.  This is especially true in patients who have had siginificant weight loss.

dreamstimemedium_38197559A facelift is without a doubt the best option for most patients desiring a long term solution to improving the signs of aging brought on by weight loss.

Over the years, certain techniques such as a deep plane facelift combined with additional work to support the stretched muscles in the neck have been shown to be a great method for providing better support when compared to some of the less thorough mini facelift options available.

An additional option is the use of fillers to add volume to the areas where that youthful fullness was lost during the initial weight loss.  Fillers by themselves can be helpful after small amounts of weight loss.

Unfortunately, some patients are unhappy when doctors try to cut corners and only use fillers after massive weight loss.  If there is loose excess skin in the jowls and neck, that really should be addressed with a facelift.  Fillers are best used to augment the results after a facelift in this case.

Many patients choose to have additional procedures at the same time as a facelift such as including eyelid surgery or a browlift to get a balanced improvement for the entire face.  One additional option that is very important to consider is skin resurfacing such as a CO2 laser treatment or series of chemical peels to improve the loss of elasticity and fine wrinkles that were caused by the skin being stretched when overweight.

What if I Gain Some Weight Back?

Don’t get discouraged.  It happens to many people despite the best intentions.  The good news is that some mild weight gain after a facelift is not necessarily a bad thing.

For some people it actually improves the look to have a little bit of additional volume return after you have had a chance to turn back the clock and tighten the loose areas after the initial weight loss.

KYBELLA-Product-Image-1024Also, there is a new option that will be available later this summer for stubborn fat in the submental area (the place that gives you a double chin).  We will offer Kybella (also known as ATX-101) when it is released in late summer.  It is a quick and easy series of injections that can dissolve fat in that area.




Dr. David Rodwell specializes in facial cosmetic surgery including facelift and necklift procedures as well as neck liposuction and Kybella.  To learn more about your options and what to expect after these procedures call our office at (843) 628-1415 to schedule a private consultation.