Three things happen to the face as we age. Firstly, the tissue descends with gravity; secondly, we lose fat in the deeper planes and elasticity in the skin and supporting structures; and thirdly, we develop wrinkles and creases. The bad news is that these changes, which inevitably mark the passage of time, are almost inevitable. The good news is that something can be done about them. At what stage in your life these changes start to become a problem for you is partly due to your genetics and lifestyle choices (which determine how rapidly you age), and partly due to your attitude.
For most faces, both male and female, one of the most prized beauty assets is a well-contoured, full cheek. This sets off the eyes, smooths the lid-cheek junction and helps to suspend the tissues around the mouth. Individuals with a flat mid-cheek region tend to show aging changes earlier and dissatisfaction with this area of the face is a common complaint heard in my office. For the younger patient, or those with very deficient mid-face bony support, facial implants are an excellent consideration. These are easily placed, may consist of solid silicone or a better-integrated material such as Porex®, or even the patient’s own, autologous tissue such as fat and dermis. Either will give a convincing fullness and contour to the face and greatly improve the aesthetics of the area. It is a particularly good procedure for those considering having baggy, wrinkled lower eyelids treated; in many such cases there is a deficiency of mid-cheek fullness and a lengthening of the lower eyelid, with an obvious lid/cheek junction zone as well, all of which can be addressed by a simple mid-face lift.
For the face which has been injured, leading to loss of symmetry, or the aging face where there has been both wasting of native fat pads, soft tissue such as muscle and even bone, plus tissue slumping (known as “ptosis”) and sagging. All these can be reversed by performing a mid-face lift, or by placement of a cheek implant, and sometimes, by both.
A mid-face lift is not a true face-lift, although it does literally lift the face. Where a classic face- and neck-lift requires an incision along the contour of the ear and up into the hairline behind the ear, and addresses mainly the lateral cheek, the neck and the jawline, the mid-face lift is performed through the lower eyelid and the space behind the top lip and addresses the central face, on either side of the nose, out to the outer corner of the eye and the cheekbones. It is a virtually undetectable procedure that can literally take years off a face, rejuvenate the eyes and lift the corners of the mouth, yet still make the patient look like nothing more than a better, more youthful version of themselves, rather than someone else, or what’s worse, someone who’s had too much surgery. Alternatively, depending on the patient’s wishes, properly planned and executed mid-face lifting with implants can make a bland face appear exotic and exciting.
In selected cases, a mid-face lift can easily be combined with a classic face and neck lift. This is one group of procedures you need to find out more about, but as not many surgeons perform the surgery, so do your research before committing.