If a facelift is in your future, you may be feeling a mix of excitement and uncertainty. The thought of any operation can be a source of anxiety, and when it involves your face, it’s natural to feel even more concerned about getting a result you’ll love. After all, it’s the only face you’ll ever have — you want to feel confident that you’ll come out looking natural, younger and more beautiful.

At West Michigan Plastic Surgery, many of our facelift patients express the same sentiment: “I want to look like myself, I just want to look good for my age.” It’s easy to point to examples, often from high-profile people in the entertainment industry, of facelift results gone wrong. The overly taut, windswept look is artificial and undesirable, and makes some would-be patients question whether a facelift is right for them.

Rest assured, this is not the only outcome. For every extreme facelift you’ve seen, you’ve likely encountered many more that are so natural you didn’t notice any signs of surgical intervention. Decades of advancements in facial plastic surgery techniques have made facelifts better than ever. So what’s the difference between achieving natural-looking results and looking like you’re permanently trapped in a wind tunnel? We’re glad you asked.

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A beautiful facelift result starts with careful planning. During your one-on-one consultation with your plastic surgeon, you’ll have the opportunity to explain your concerns and describe your ideal outcome. Use this time to define what “natural” means to you. Communicating your vision clearly ensures you and your surgeon are on the same page about what you hope to achieve. In return, your surgeon should examine your face and be honest about what improvements can reasonably be expected from a facelift in your specific circumstances. Setting realistic expectations is an important step of any surgical procedure.


A lot has changed since the first facelifts were done. Today’s surgeons are better informed about what it takes to produce a natural facelift result and techniques have evolved accordingly. One notable difference is the depth of treatment. Rather than only pulling back the skin, the modern technique involves adjusting the underlying muscles as well as tightening the skin. Skin-only techniques do not last as long and are more likely to create the windblown look.

Surgeons are also now more attentive to inconspicuous scar placement and to how the skin is tightened. Skin that is stretched too tightly or pulled in the wrong direction will give an unnatural result. In cosmetic surgery, overcorrection can be more noticeable and undesirable than undercorrection.

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Facelift surgery specifically addresses concerns in the lower two-thirds of the face, but an attentive surgeon with a keen aesthetic eye should consider your face as a whole. A patient with significant signs of aging throughout their face may not get the best result from a facelift alone. The facelift would make the areas below the eyes look younger, but would do nothing to rejuvenate the eyes or forehead, and the patient could end up looking “mismatched.” The same consideration should be given to signs of aging the neck. For the most aesthetically-pleasing result, these areas should all be in harmony. Ask your surgeon if combining your facelift with a neck liftbrow lift or blepharoplasty would deliver the most natural outcome.


You may feel like the hard part is over once your surgery is done, but some of the most important work is just beginning. The days and weeks that follow a facelift make up a critical period that greatly impacts the results of your procedure. Knowing what to expect as you heal and following your surgeon’s aftercare instructions are essential to achieving the most beautiful outcome. Don’t rush the recovery process. Give your body time to heal and resume your regular activities gradually. Jumping back into daily life too quickly increases the risk of putting your incisions under stress, developing an infection and other complications that could jeopardize your natural results.


Nonsurgical treatments can enhance the results of a facelift. Botox and dermal fillers, for example, used simultaneously to facial rejuvenation surgery are a great way to address age-related volume loss and minimize wrinkles in areas outside the scope of a facelift. But these treatments must be used in moderation. Failure to use them conservatively can result in an overfilled, bloated or frozen look that is a clear sign cosmetic enhancement has taken place. Work with your plastic surgeon to make sure your add-on treatments complement your facelift results instead of detracting from them.


Finding the right surgeon is one of the most important things you can do to help ensure you get the natural-looking facelift you desire. Your surgeon should be skilled and experienced, ideally with extensive experience in facial plastic surgery specifically. In addition to technical precision, your surgeon must demonstrate attention to detail, advanced knowledge of facial anatomy and a thorough understanding of facial aesthetics.

View before and after photos of real patients to confirm your surgeon has a track record of producing results you like. It’s also a good idea to get personal referrals or speak to a surgeon’s current patients when possible. You should have full confidence that the surgeon you choose is reputable and has a long list of satisfied clients.


Dr. Scott Holley is a board-certified plastic surgeon and the president and founder of West Michigan Plastic Surgery. Since 1997, Dr. Holley has helped patients in the Kalamazoo area achieve beautiful and discreet results that improve not just the way they look, but the way they feel about themselves every day. Dr. Holley and his staff know just how much skill, experience and communication it takes to deliver natural facelift results that turn heads for the right reasons. If you’re interested in learning more, we invite you to visit us at our offices in Portage and Battle Creek. Give us a call at (269) 222-1611 or request an appointment online today.