The midface is an essential component of an attractive face. With the ageing process, fat tissue that typically drapes over the cheekbones begins to droop with gravity. Due to the laxity of the skin and lack of subcutaneous supports of the midface, the fat of the lower eyelid and upper cheek begins to droop. The result is less prominent cheek volume, hollowness under the eye (tear trough area), redundant skin and excess fat at lower eyelids and prominent folds between the cheek and nose (nasolabial fold). Sagging cheek fat can also alter the appearance of the lower cheek. In addition to these changes, there is also volume loss from the cheek with ageing resulting in loss of cheek fat and muscle.

Midface lift (cheek lift) is a cosmetic surgical procedure that is performed either alone or in combination with other methods to rejuvenate the areas around the cheek and lower eyelids. The goal is to reposition the sagging fat of the cheek over the cheekbone and to restore the cheek volume. The droopy cheek tissue can be lifted over the cheekbone restoring the more prominent youthful contour, improving the lower eyelid-cheek junction including tear trough area and softening the undesirable cheek fold.

Depending upon the severity of the condition, midface lift can be performed in several ways, including endoscopically via incisions hidden behind the hairline in the scalp, directly through a standard facelift incision (in front of the ear), directly through a lower eyelid incision or fat grafting to restore and augment the cheek volume. Often midface lift can also be combined with additional cosmetic surgical procedures such as upper eyelid blepharoplasty or browlift to order to achieve a desirable aesthetic outcome. Thus, the result of midface lift alone or in combination with additional procedures help to transform into a more youthful and fuller appearance, reduction of tear trough deformity and excess skin under the eyes and softening of the nasolabial folds.

Ideal candidates for midface lift:

The midface lift is often appropriate for patients who are generally looking to improve droopiness and puffiness in the cheeks or beneath the eyes or hollowing in the cheeks. For those who are not yet ready for a full facelift, this is an excellent, less invasive option which can provide a very natural, often subtle result. Patients should also be in good general health and have realistic expectations for improvement. It’s important to understand that the midface lift is not a replacement for a full facelift. Some candidates may be better candidates for a traditional full facelift if they are looking to address significant excess or sagging skin on the outer face, neck and jawline.

Preoperative evaluation for midface lift

Communication is vital to achieving the patient’s goals. During the initial consultation, patients will have the opportunity to discuss their goals and desired results with the plastic surgeon. The plastic surgeon will work closely with the patients to reach an agreement about the expectations from the surgical procedures involved and their long term benefits. Every patient is different. Therefore a specific treatment regimen is planned to suit an individual’s need.

The preoperative assessment for midface lift may involve:

  • Discussion about patients’ expectations and desired outcome
  • Medical conditions, drug allergies and previous medical or surgical treatment
  • Use of current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs
  • Examination of the face and its soft tissues
  • Discuss the options available for midface lift and other facial rejuvenation procedures
  • Preoperative evaluation for types of anaesthesia
  • Photography for preoperative and postoperative evaluation

Preparation for a midface lift

  • Preoperative medical evaluation including blood investigations
  • Avoid certain medications or adjust your current medications
  • Stop smoking or alcohol for about 2-3 weeks before the scheduled surgery
  • Avoid taking aspirin and certain anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding and bruises

The risks and safety information on midface lift

It is vital for patients to understand that every surgical procedure has its complications and downtime. However, if a patient is assessed correctly before the surgery and postoperative care is given adequately, these risks can be eliminated or reduced. The risks involved in facelift surgery may vary depending upon the nature of the surgical procedure.

Some of the risks of midface lift include:

  • Wound infection
  • Poor wound healing (higher risks in chronic smokers)
  • Unfavourable scarring
  • Bleeding (hematoma)
  • Anaesthesia risks
  • Nerve injury resulting in cheek numbness or muscle weakness
  • Facial asymmetry
  • Fat necrosis
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Skin contour irregularities
  • Skin discolouration, sensitivity or swelling
  • Possibility of revision surgery

Postoperative expectations for midface lift:

Bruising and swelling are common after midface lift, both in the midface area and around the eyes. They typically resolve within seven to ten days after the surgery. Discomfort can be managed with pain medication. The smile may appear unnatural at first due to over-correction of the cheek pad, but this settles into a more natural position gradually with time. The final results are usually seen after two to three months. Most patients feel well enough to return to work and other activities after about two weeks.

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Postoperative care

  • Follow the postoperative instructions given carefully
  • Head elevation especially when sleeping for 1-2 weeks
  • Take the prescribed medications as instructed
  • A compressive bandage or facial garment may be used for 3-5 days
  • Ice compression on the cheek area for 3-5 days
  • Regular wound cleaning with an antiseptic solution and antibiotic ointment
  • Avoid strenuous physical activities for 3-4 weeks
  • Makeup to cover the bruises and discolouration may be allowed from third-day post surgery
  • Regular use of sunblock for 3-6 months after the surgery

How much will a midface lift surgery cost?

Cost is always a consideration in elective surgery. The cost for midface lift can vary widely. Cost may include:

  • Surgeon’s fee
  • Hospital or surgical facility costs
  • Medical tests (blood investigations)
  • Anaesthesia fees
  • Prescriptions for medication
  • Post-surgery garment (facial garment)

Midface lift surgery is a cosmetic surgical procedure. Therefore, most of the health insurance companies do not cover cosmetic surgeries or their complications.