Face lift surgery – how to set realistic goals

face lift surgery manage expectationsEven the most pain shy among us at some point has probably wondered what we’d look like with a face lift.

Even those of us who feel we don’t want to go the facial surgery route. Even if you’ve got knife phobia – you can still be influenced by the impossible dream of your younger face restored in an instant.

Of course that can be just a fleeting moment when the harsh morning light does you no favors in your bathroom mirror – you go about the day’s business, forget about it and move on.

Reasons for face lift surgery

But what if the thought lingers and becomes a possibility – you start actively considering whether facial surgery might be for you.

You might be contemplating a facial surgery for all sorts of reasons. You could have a school or college reunion coming up or perhaps you’ve caught sight of yourself in photos of some recent family get together and wondered who that person was.

The facial changes that aging brings are generally slow to accumulate and over time you get used to the new, older face that you see in the mirror.

But when you see the same changes reflected in the faces of people you haven’t seen for ages or in an unflattering snapshot of your own face – then the reality of aging kicks in and for some people it is a reality they want to do something about.

Benefits of facial surgery over-hyped

The apparent benefits of facial surgery are all around us.  You may know someone who looks years younger after a succesful face lift or you may be influenced by the images of successful celebrity plastic surgery in so many magazines.

Shows like “Ten Years Younger” or “Extreme Makeover” make us think we can instantly look like our younger selves with just a minor bit of facial surgery.  Even when we see the blood and gore of the operation or the post operative bandages, bruising, pain and stitches – we tend to gloss over it and look forward to the new woman that emerges at the end.

Of course – this isn’t the reality. If you are considering facial cosmetic surgery of any kind – a reality check is what you need before you go for it.

This is not to say you shouldn’t do it – face lift surgery may not be right for some women but could turn out to be the right approach for others. It has got to be a personal choice.

Realistic goals produce the best outcome

I was struck recently by the online comments of a board certified plastic surgeon on a review site. He had done many operations, had consultations over the years with thousands of patients and potential patients and he voiced his opinion about the best preparation for facial surgery.

The single most important thing for a successful outcome in his opinion was managing expectations. If patients went into the procedure with realistic ideas of what could be achieved and what it would take to achieve what they wanted – then they were much, much more likely to be satisfied with the results.

How to set realistic goals for facial surgery

The most important thing is that you don’t opt for a serious surgical procedure – especially something that will change your face – without some equally serious research and thought.

So before you do anything – here’s an eight point plan to give yourself the best chance of getting the result you want.

1. Aim to look like yourself but better

Start off by identifying exactly what it is about your appearance that makes you unhappy.  Avoid comparisons of any sort – the only person you can look like is you.  

Aim for you but improved or a little younger but don’t cherry pick the best bits of your favorite celebrities or your best friend and mentally add them to your face.

Even if your surgeon is skilled enough to give you something like Angelina Jolie’s nose or lips – chances are it won’t look right and you won’t be happy with the result bacause you simply won’t look like her.  In fact aiming for a celebrity add on feature might even make you less happy with how you look overall.

2. Consider alternatives to facial surgery?

Find out whether there are any safe, effective and less invasive procedures that could help you tackle things another way.  

Take a look at lifestyle choices too – would your face look better if you exercised a little more or lost a few pounds.  

Far from the common belief weight loss (properly achieved) is one of the best things you can do to rejuvenate your appearance.  You may rediscover a little of your youthful jawline quite naturally.  Even if it doesn’t do the trick eating better and exercising more will help you get physically fit for the op if you do go for it.

3. Consult the right people

Some people talk endlessly through the options with their best friend or close relative or colleagues at work and somehow feel they can’t do the same with a professional.  

Find a reputable (board certified) plastic surgeons with a lot of experience in aesthetic procedures (not just surgery) and consult them on an information only basis – without commitment.

A good doctor will give you the time without charge to explore your options and discuss your worries. Find out as much as possible about the procedure you are considering and any alternatives.

Take as long as you need in consultation – don’t be rushed and don’t be intimidated into making a commitment to facial cosmetic surgery before you are ready.

Ask for examples of patients who have had facial cosmetic surgery – if possible ask to speak to a previous client who has had similar procedures about their experience.

4. Focus on the downsides

Find out about the downsides of the treatments you are considering – what are the risks? – how likely are bad side effects and what are they?  

Get a realistic view of discomfort and pain.   Ask for the worst case scenario – chances are it won’t be nearly as bad.

5. Search for opinions and reviews online

Go on the internet and search out sites that carry reviews, comment and before and after photos of face lift surgery – specifically of the procedure you are considering.

There is an increasing amount of information out there as more and more ordinary men and women share their experiences of plastic surgery.  One of the best sites to look at is RealSelf which carries not only patient comment and reviews but contributions from plastic surgeons and a great Q&A section on each procedure.

6. Downsize your expectations

When you talk to your doctor – be honest about your hopes and expectations and ask them to tell you honestly how far the procedure you are considering will get you what you want.  Be guided by what he or she tells you and downshift your expectations and goals accordingly.

Take your time and weigh up all the evidence and information you have gathered. Any good plastic surgeon will tell you this is the ONLY way to approach such a serious decision.  

7. Put your goals in writing

Sit down and write out a set of realistic goals and expectations covering everything from the procedure itself to what you will end up achieving and how long it will last.

Then add the financial cost in at this stage – it should be the full cost of the procedure using the doctor you consider to be best qualified and experienced and including the cost of time off work and any meds or recovery aids you need afterwards.

8. Take time out before deciding

Take a bit of timeout before you make a final decision – let the information float around and come back to it after you’ve had time to mull it over.

Only then can you make a decision by weighing up your balance sheet – what can be realistically achieved against what it will cost you.

Chances are – if you’ve done this you’ll feel happier about the decision and go into face lift surgery with a realistic set of goals and expectations.  It doesn’t guarantee a great result but it makes it a lot more likely.

About Eileen

I am the publisher of Simply Anti Aging and a web author researching and writing on all aspects of anti aging. I'd love you to connect with me on

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