Once only within reach of millionaires and movie stars, facelifts are now more affordable – as well as more socially acceptable. Today’s emphasis on youth has made turning back the clock through cosmetic surgery a matter-of-fact procedure rather than a “secret” that nevertheless gave itself away when the recipient resumed their regular activities looking significantly younger!
Yet for all the open discussions about facelifts, many prospective patients may not realize that the surgery that refreshes their appearance also leaves permanent scars which – depending upon the patient’s hairline and amount of hair – are easily visible. For this reason, following a brow (forehead) lift, face lift or other cosmetic facial surgery, many people need a hair restoration procedure to conceal scarring, lower their hair line back to its original position or conceal hair loss that may have occurred at the incision site.
As an internationally renowned board-certified hair restoration surgeon, Dr. Marco Barusco – Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Tempus Hair Restoration – has extensive experience in performing this final step in perfecting the patient’s desired aesthetic effect of an invigorated, youthful appearance. Here is what you need to know about scarring from facial cosmetic surgery, and how a skilled hair transplant surgeon can artfully conceal the results.
Do all facelifts leave scars?
A facelift is performed by the surgeon making incisions along the natural contours of the ears and face. Incisions can be made in the hairline starting at the temples, continuing down and around the front of the ears and ending behind the ears in the lower scalp. A skilled, experienced surgeon will work to ensure the incision heals with the absolute minimum amount of scarring possible.
However, each patient experiences different rates of healing. Also, the commitment to following the surgeon’s post-operative care instructions play a role in the amount of visible scarring that results. Lifestyle choices are another factor. Heavy alcohol use and smoking hinder the healing process. Smoking, especially, deprives tissues of the oxygen essential to healthy function and, of course, healing.
In addition, the surgeon’s level of experience, skill and artistry can determine how well scars are concealed. As we well know, these qualities are extremely important in the results that hair transplant patients can expect, and not all doctors who perform hair restoration procedures have the ability to provide the highest level of natural-appearing aesthetic results. The same is certainly true of cosmetic surgeons.
Although this is not a definitive answer, two different people can undergo the same facelift procedure, yet one may experience more obvious scarring than the other. As we always recommend to our prospective patients, choose your surgeon carefully based upon thorough research. If you have not yet undergone a facelift but are in the consultation process, ask the surgeon direct questions about the type and amount of scarring your procedure will involve, and how he or she will work to minimize it. Also ask if the procedure will affect the position of your hairline. If you feel the surgeon is underplaying or dismissing your concerns, you may want to continue your search.
Other post-facelift issues that can necessitate a hair transplant
Scarring is not the only issue that a facelift patient may have to deal with. A facelift sometimes results in a hairline that is higher or farther back than desirable. And patients who are already experiencing hair loss – or who start losing hair after surgery – could find that previously hidden scars become more visible or exposed.
Hair transplant options for facelift patients
It does seem ironic that a surgical procedure performed to restore a youthful appearance can create its own issues that need to be corrected with additional surgery. Fortunately, achieving an aesthetically pleasing, natural-looking result is possible. Despite the misconception that hair cannot grow in scars, the transplanted hair continues to grow and look natural. Again, selecting the right surgeon is essential. Dr. Barusco employs several advanced techniques to conceal facelift scars. These procedures include the following:
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) – This is commonly known as the “strip” method of hair transplantation. In this method, hair is removed from the donor area of the scalp by removing a strip of skin and hair before the area is then stitched up. Advances in the closure methods and the healing of the donor incision results in a small, thin linear scar that is easily concealed without having to grow the hair very long.
Be aware that some hair restoration practices that specialize in the Follicular Unit Excision (FUE) procedure try to steer patients toward the FUE by using misleading marketing material depicting “after” FUT photos of patients with a pronounced scar. Again, today’s advanced FUT technique provides greatly improved results. For a variety of circumstances, the FUE is not appropriate for every patient. Some may be a better candidate for the strip surgery than the FUE procedure.
Follicular Unit Excision (FUE) – Typically done as a shaved procedure (where the donor area is shaven) at Tempus, Dr. Barusco created an improved technique known as the “no-shave” procedure.This technique allows clients to have the benefits of an FUE procedure without having the downtime of waiting for the hairs of the donor site to grow in. Advantages include complete concealment of harvested donor sites immediately, and a quicker return to normal activities, as no suture removal is required .
Choose your surgeons wisely
As previously stated, cosmetic surgery and hair restoration surgery are, after all, surgical procedures, to be taken with the same degree of due diligence as choosing a surgeon to repair or replace a major organ. Most people wouldn’t consider looking for a bargain heart surgeon, yet too often do just that when seeking aesthetic surgery. You get what you pay for, and a never-ending supply of heartbreaking patient accounts about botched procedures should provide good reason to exercise caution.
When you have a consultation with a hair restoration surgeon, you should expect (in fact, demand) an open, detailed discussion about your concerns and aesthetic goals. The surgeon should not only assess your scarring, but the overall condition of your scalp, possible donor area and your general health.
Dr. Barusco examines and evaluates each patient on an individual basis. Because he is experienced and skilled in every hair transplant procedure, Dr. Barusco will recommend the option that is best for the patient – unlike many other hair restoration surgeons, who are only familiar with a limited range of techniques, and so promote them over a technique that could be more beneficial.
As also previously mentioned, open communication is essential. If you feel the surgeon is not answering your questions to your satisfaction, or otherwise seems dismissive of your concerns, look elsewhere. It doesn’t matter if the surgeon says that he or she has performed the same procedure “a million times” with no complications. You have the right to be fully informed. Our blog post – “What to Look for in a Hair Transplant Surgeon” – provides a valuable guide.
Ultimately, choose your surgeon based on experience, results and integrity. Dr. Barusco’s long list of accomplishments, his notable artistic ability and his successful surgical team make Tempus Hair Restoration a renowned practice.
Dr. Barusco also conducts virtual consultations for those who can’t travel to one of our 16 Florida locations, and our office will arrange travel and accommodations for out-of-area patients for their procedures. We invite you to learn more about our procedures, then contact us to schedule your free consultation with Dr. Barusco. We look forward to meeting you and discussing your options.