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Daniel Careaga, MD
Paul Durand, MD
Karl William Schwarz, MD

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How to Combine Non-surgical Procedures With Your Facelift

Posted November 21, 2023 in Facelift

When you think about a facelift, what comes to mind? Is it an angular, stretched-tight look that makes you look completely different? Or is it a smoother, younger-looking version of your face that still looks like you, only healthier and more refreshed?

When performed by an experienced surgeon, a facelift enhances your features by smoothing wrinkles and reducing sagging. However, a facelift cannot address all signs of facial aging. This is where injectable treatments come in. Below, we discuss how injectable treatments can augment the results of your facelift and help you maintain your results.

Woman with her hands under her chin

What Can a Facelift Do?

Three primary elements contribute to facial aging: sagging, skin changes, and volume loss. A facelift works by tightening and lifting sagging skin but cannot fix the other two aging elements.

You might not know that a traditional facelift only addresses signs of aging in the lower two-thirds of your face, as well as laxity in your neck. As you age and your skin loses strength and elasticity, it begins to sag and can’t support the weight of your facial muscles and fat. Everything begins to migrate downwards, resulting in drooping and jowls. A facelift elevates and tightens the muscles, secures them back into position, and repositions facial fat. Your skin is gently stretched, and excess tissue is trimmed away, leaving your face looking smoother and more youthful.

What Can’t a Facelift Do?

The other two elements of an aging face, loss of volume and skin changes, aren’t typically fixed by a facelift as a stand-alone procedure. As you age, the fat volume in your face decreases, especially in your cheeks, temples, and under your eyes, so your face looks flatter and more gaunt. Skin tone and texture changes add to a more aged appearance as wrinkles settle in and your skin looks dry and uneven. So, how do you combat those issues to create a balanced and natural look? 

Fat Transfer

At Careaga Plastic Surgery, our surgeons typically combine facelift surgery with fat transfer for patients with severe volume loss. Fat transfer—also called fat grafting—uses liposuction to remove unwanted excess fat from other areas of the body, such as the back, abdomen, hips, and thighs. This fat is purified through a special process and then strategically reinjected into the areas of the face where more volume is desired. Fat transfer is performed as an outpatient procedure using either general anesthesia or a local anesthetic with oral sedation.

Neurotransmitter Inhibitors

More commonly known by their brand names, BOTOX® Cosmetic and DYSPORT®, these cosmetic injectable treatments are designed to address dynamic or “active” facial wrinkles.

Active wrinkles are caused by the long-term repetitive contractions of the muscles in your face—the natural, reflexive ones you don’t even realize are working. When you frown or furrow your brow, your forehead muscles and the muscles between your eyebrows contract, causing your skin to wrinkle and fold. Squinting activates the muscles around your eyes, eventually causing crow’s feet. Because you use these muscles all day, every day, as the collagen and elastin in your skin naturally decrease with age, dynamic wrinkles eventually etch themselves more deeply into your face.

BOTOX® Cosmetic and DYSPORT® are effective in treating active wrinkles only. They are both FDA-approved to address several facial areas, including:

  • Horizontal forehead lines
  • Glabellar lines (vertical frown lines between the brows, known as “elevens”)
  • Crow’s feet
  • Bunny lines (wrinkles on the sides of your nose when you wrinkle it)

Adding BOTOX® Cosmetic and DYSPORT® to your facelift can help smooth wrinkles in your upper face for a more complete rejuvenation.

Facial Fillers

While your facelift has smoothed away most of your wrinkles and tightened drooping skin, you still may not be completely satisfied because of volume loss in your face. That’s where injectable dermal fillers pick up the slack. There are two types of fillers available at Careaga Plastic Surgery:

Hyaluronic Acid Fillers

Hyaluronic acid is an ingredient used in several injectable fillers because of its versatility and ability to treat various issues. Hyaluronic acid is a tiny molecule found in nearly every cell in your body, with the incredible ability to retain almost 1,000 times its weight in water. It binds to water, forming a viscous gel that helps moisturize and lubricate your eyes, joints, and skin (just to name a few). In fact, approximately 50 percent of your body’s hyaluronic acid is found in your skin, working to keep it hydrated and supple. When hyaluronic acid-based filler is injected into your skin, it softens and smooths lines, fills in deep facial folds and wrinkles, and adds volume to areas where it has been lost. 

At Careaga Plastic Surgery, we offer injectable fillers from both the JUVÉDERM® and RESTYLANE® families of hyaluronic acid fillers. These fillers are designed to improve:

  • Volume loss under the eyes (tear troughs)
  • Volume loss in the cheeks
  • Nasolabial lines
  • Lip augmentation
  • Perioral lines (smoker’s lines)
  • Chin augmentation 

Collagen-boosting Fillers

Everyone knows that collagen is one of the building blocks of youthful skin. But starting around age 30, your body begins to lose collagen, which leads to fine lines, wrinkles, and laxity. Collagen-boosting fillers contain ingredients that stimulate your skin’s natural production of collagen when injected into the dermis of your skin. As the new collagen begins to rebuild under your skin, it restores lost volume and helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 

At Careaga Plastic Surgery, we offer SCULPTRA® Aesthetic, a collagen-boosting filler that uses poly-L-lactic acid to spur collagen production. One of the advantages of this type of filler is that because it increases your body’s collagen, you enjoy more lasting results. SCULPTRA® Aesthetic is primarily used to restore volume to your cheeks. 

Learn More About Combining a Facelift With Fat Grafting or Non-surgical Treatments in Miami

While a facelift alone can neither address the wrinkles in the upper face nor increase collagen or the suppleness of your skin, fat grafting and non-surgical treatments can. By combining a facelift with fat grafting and/or injectable treatments, you can diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and eliminate sagging skin while improving the quality of your skin. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Careaga, call (305) 615-4987 or complete the online contact form.


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