Face Time

Plastic surgeon Dr. Kristin Egan shares methods to reverse the hands of time on our faces and necks.

Summertime … and we’re feeling the urge to move our activities outdoors and have fun in the sun. While a healthy, active lifestyle predominates in the South Bay, spending time outside can also lead to premature aging that overshadows how young we feel on the inside. Kristin Egan, MD, understands the desire for a youthful and natural appearance. As a dual board-certified plastic surgeon, she provides subtle changes so a patient’s appearance matches how they feel.

Specializing in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery and otolaryngology head and neck surgery, Dr. Egan opened her Manhattan Beach practice 12 years ago and her Torrance location four years ago. We asked for her recommendations for maintaining a youthful image with or without surgery.

What is a face-lift?

A face-lift is a surgery designed to address skin laxity in the jowls, neck and jawline. It involves deep permanent sutures to hold the muscle and tissue underneath the skin in a more aesthetic, youthful direction. Stitches and scars are hidden around the ears and by the hair. Results typically last 10 to 15 years.

“I recommend applying sunscreen and wearing a hat and sunglasses On a daily basis, and using retinol at night.”

How do I know if I need a face-lift?

If you find yourself daily in front of your mirror, pulling your skin back along your ears and liking how that looks, you would probably be very happy with a face-lift. It should not change how you look but should tighten up the skin of the neck and lower face along the jawline.

Is the face-lift procedure the same for men and women?

In general, the direction of the pull is the same for both men and women. For men, the incisions are hidden very well because of the hair along the face.

What is a mini face-lift, and how is it different from a regular face-lift?

The mini face-lift does not involve elevating the skin as far out, which can sometimes mean that you can’t tighten sufficiently to achieve a sharp jawline. In most cases, it’s advised to invest in a face-lift, which will be longer-lasting and only involve one recovery period, versus doing a mini face-lift and having another surgery/recovery period five years later.

What if I just do a neck-lift?

A neck-lift is actually a face-lift or a face-and-neck-lift that addresses the upper neck and the lower face to sharpen the jawline. There are many different names associated with the same surgical procedure.

How long does a face-lift take?

The typical face-lift surgery is about two hours. However, if you want to address other issues at the same time, such as eyelid skin trimming, it can add another hour.

What is the recovery process?

One to two weeks. By two weeks, when the stitches and staples come out, most of the swelling has gone down. The incisions are still pink but can easily be covered with makeup. Patients should be up and walking one day after surgery but avoid heavy lifting for two weeks.

Will a face-lift remove acne scars?

A face-lift trims and removes excess skin, but it does not address acne scars, which can cover large areas of skin. These are better dealt with using a CO2 resurfacing laser.

Is it painful?

Patients are given pain medicine, and most only need it for the first day or two, after which they can manage with Tylenol. Compared to most other surgeries, the recovery is not very painful.

How much does it cost?

Prices are usually around $10,000 for a face-lift, including facility and anesthesia fees, with no hidden costs for visits before or after surgery. Sometimes we offer coupon specials and discounts for combined procedures. Unfortunately, insurance considers this type of surgery to be cosmetic and does not cover it.

Is a mini face-lift cheaper?

Due to the costs for anesthesia and facility remaining the same per hour, a mini face-lift is not considerably cheaper. However, an office laser face-lift is offered at a lower price with a shorter recovery period for those not yet ready for a surgical face-lift.

Can I get the same results with fillers and Botox?

While great for the mid-face, forehead and around the eyes, fillers and Botox will not tighten the skin of the neck and jawline comparably to a surgical face-lift.

What are the risks of a face-lift?

The risks are the same as any other surgery, including bleeding and infection. Long-term issues can be the widening of the scar or scar hypertrophy, both of which can be dealt with in the office with injections or a small touch-up procedure under local anesthetic.

What can one do to maintain a good appearance?

I recommend applying sunscreen and wearing a hat and sunglasses on a daily basis, and using retinol at night. Consider using neurotoxins like Botox or Jeuveau every four to six months. Fillers for the mid-face can also be helpful, as they can last up to five years and help rejuvenate the cheeks. I do all of these things myself, and I also undergo fractionated CO2 laser treatments on my face and neck every two to three years to reverse sun damage from not wearing sunscreen as a child. The CO2 laser also helps tighten the skin and smooth out fine lines and wrinkles.  

What recent developments are you excited about?

I am excited about the results we have achieved with our LaserLift for middle-aged patients who are not yet ready for a face-lift but are bothered by loose skin in the neck area and the development of jowls. LaserLift enables skin tightening without incisions or scars. Final results occur around the six-month mark.

Kristin Egan, MD, FACS 

2809 Sepulveda Blvd., Manhattan Beach  |  310-426-8415 
3655 Lomita Blvd. #300, Torrance  |  310-361-3650