In general, most of the stereotypes about plastic surgery are largely exaggerated and typically based on the outliers that were either performed poorly or a patient going overboard by having far too many procedures. However, the traditional facelift has been known to create an unnatural result due to the lifting of the entire face in one upward direction.
Dr. Karolak, a board certified facial plastic surgeon at Reflections Center has decided to take a new approach towards facelifts by carefully analyzing the hundreds of small changes that occur as the face changes, and then accurately working to correct these. Often this means a creative approach to an individual’s treatment which combines several different types of procedures to accurately restore their face and neck to its more youthful previous appearance.
Where traditional facelifts focused on lifting and pulling the face up and back, Dr. Karolak’s approach focuses on restoring the face to its original beauty (with perhaps a few small tweaks to increase its natural beauty).
We talked to Dr. Karolak to get some insight on why he has spent his career formulating an alternative to the traditional facelift.
What is it about “old school” facelifts that make patients look overdone?
The idea that a facelift should be the “big procedure” that will fix everything by pulling it as tight as possible is the reason for unnatural results and many of the complications facelifts have become known for.
Dr. Karolak says that older approaches to the facelift and rejuvenation are still being done today and very often lead to an unnatural, windswept, operated-on look. The older method of facial surgery often involved a very straightforward concept of just moving all of the tissues in an upward direction. Dr. Karolak explains that facial aging is more than pulling the skin and tightening the muscles. When the skin is pulled tightly, we start to see complications like poorly healed scars (often wide, rippled scars) and distortions of the surrounding tissues, such as pixie ears. Instead, Dr. Karolak focuses on creating a strong foundation of properly-tightened muscles, smooth fat pads in naturally youthful positions, and these well-placed underlying structures naturally shift the skin upward into a more youthful position, without the need to pull or stretch it.
Dr. Karolak promotes a different approach to facial anti-aging, which instead involves addressing each component of aging at the right time. “Tightening the muscles when they are loose is the key” states Dr. Karolak. “Any excess skin is removed but not pulled or stretched. Volume can be replaced with fillers or a patient’s own fat. Lasers can be used to further improve the collagen and texture of the skin.” By separately evaluating the skin, fat, muscle, and bone, and then selecting and combining procedures that address all of these facets of aging, Dr. Karolak creates such natural results that it is rare that even his patients’ family members can pinpoint that their relative has had plastic surgery at all.
“The idea of “lifting the whole face” is an antiquated concept,” says Dr. Karolak. He also adds “That thinking is what has led to people looking bizarre. A treatment plan should be based upon photos of patients over the years to recapture their natural look, not change it.”
What procedures do you most frequently combine for full-face rejuvenation instead of facelift surgery?
According to Dr. Karolak, he has a winning formula when it comes to complimentary procedures, “Very often I’ll combine eyelid lifts, brow lifts, skin resurfacing, and fat transfer for full face rejuvenation,” in addition to a lower face and/or necklift procedure. While these procedures are effective on their own, with their individual purposes we can see why they work so well together to collectively renew the quality of the skin and improve facial contours.
- Lower facelift – this addresses sagging and loose skin and muscles along the jawline, as well as descending fat pads from the cheek, which are often responsible for a cascade of facial aging concerns, including smile lines (nasolabial folds), dark under eye circles and deep grooves that cut through the cheek, as well as flattened out “cheekbones.”
- Neck lift and/or neck liposuction – addresses loose skin and muscles in the neck, as well as removing any fat that may have accumulated here over time.
- Eyelid lifts – An Upper Eyelid Lift is a procedure intended to lift drooping eyelids and create a more youthful eye contour. This is of course without changing the shape of the eye; therefore, creating a natural and almost undetectable result.
- Brow lifts – As we get older, our brows tend to lower in position due to loss of skin elasticity. This creates a tired and aged appearance, sometimes making one look older than they are. This surgical treatment returns the brow to a more lifted position.
- Skin resurfacing – Laser resurfacing are able to dramatically improve the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Typically, patients steer clear of the most aggressive lasers (those that can provide the most profound result in a single session), due to the downtime. But when you are already having a surgical procedure, it just makes sense to bring in the “big guns” for skin resurfacing, too, so that you can get a truly profound result without taking any longer for recovery than you already would for your other procedures. Dr. Karolak typically uses a very aggressive CO2 laser or RF Microneedling for this.
- Fat transfer – Fat transfer, is a procedure where fat is taken from your body where you have excess fat to spare and is transferred into your face where volume has been lost. Using your own fat for facial volume provides a beautiful and natural result that lasts longer than synthetic fillers. He also often combines in Nanofat, which harnesses the stem cells and growth factors in your fat to amplify your results while speeding your recovery.
Choose Reflections for Your Facial Rejuvenation
At Reflections, our approach towards anti-aging procedures is multi-faceted. It is with this approach that we are able to provide customized, natural looking results for our patients. Dr. Karolak creates a collaborative environment in his consultations, which aids in his process of creating a treatment plan for facial rejuvenation. Reflections offers many traditional and cutting-edge surgical and non-surgical facial rejuvenation procedures, making it the ideal choice when selecting a practice.