How prepping your skin can lead to faster healing times and enhanced surgical results
“Our patients are often surprised to hear me say that a facelift procedure is not the end all, be all,” shares Dr. Griffin candidly. “The health and condition that the skin is in BEFORE the procedure can dramatically impact the quality and end results of a surgical facelift,” he adds. “At Midwest Facial Plastics, we want our patients to have the absolute best outcome possible. This is why we have all of our cosmetic surgery patients partner with our licensed estheticians to create a “Prepping Protocol” to maximize skin health, condition and strength before our surgical procedures,” Dr. Griffin continues. “We see so much value in this approach, that we include a pre and post-operative skincare kit with all of our cosmetic surgery patients.”
To understand the benefit of starting with skin that is “prepped” we need to first understand what healthy skin looks like and how it functions.
Skin that is in great condition possesses the following characteristics:
- Fullness, bounce and spring due to a healthy collagen and elastin matrix
- Soft, pliable and hydrated due to adequate moisture balance and absence of TEWL (trans epidermal water loss)
- Clear and even tone. Absence of both brown discoloration (sun damage/dark spots) and red (broken blood vessels/telangiectasia)
- Resilient and quick to heal due to optimized desquamation cycle (your natural exfoliation or cellular turn over)
“By having all of these attributes attained in the skin BEFORE a surgical procedure we find that patients not only have a better result, they heal faster, the results last longer and patient satisfaction is far higher,” shares Dr. Griffin. “Imagine trying to lift and stretch a material like sand paper. It’s thin, dry, rough and may tear easily. Although this example is extreme, it becomes the difference for surgeons working with skin that is in ideal health and condition during surgery, to working with compromised skin. It is well worth the investment to pre-condition the skin as part of your pre-op protocol,” he advises.
Now that we see the value, how does a patient go about ‘prepping their skin’ for surgery and what treatments or products are advisable?
“When one of our physicians first refers a patient to me to pre-condition their skin before surgery, I go through a full skin analysis to truly customize what their strategy should be,” shares Sara Manulikow, Lead Licensed Esthetician with FACE by Midwest Facial Plastic Surgery. “In an ideal world, we are prepping at least 3 months out from their procedure so that there is ample time for the skin to respond to products and treatments,” she continues.
Common treatments and products to get the skin in shape for surgery:
- RADIANT – our retinol, the gold standard in thickening skin, normalizing cellular turnover, and increasing resiliency
- IPL/Photofacial – to remove any dark spots and to treat any diffused redness, small blood vessels and telangiectasia
- A series of Fresh-Faced Chemical Peels to regulate cellular turn over, remove dark spots, normalize moisture retention
- NOURISH – our signature hyaluronic acid, which binds water hydration to the skin, to treat dehydration
- RESTORE – If needed, this ceramide-rich emollient hydrates oil-dry skin and keep it soft and pliable
- ALPHAEON EPIDERMAL SERUM – which contain epidermal growth factors to turn on the ‘youth switch’ in skin cells and get them behaving like younger cells, firming the skin and leading to faster healing times
- SHEER ARMOR or SUN SHIELD – sunscreens infused with antioxidants to combat free radical damage and skin inflammation and prevent hyperpigmentation
“As you can see, there are lots of options. We carefully design programs that are unique to our patients, their present ‘skin state,’ and their future surgical procedures. You’re unique! Your treatment plan should be too” exclaims Sara.
The success of a facelift procedure has many moving parts. The beginning overall health of the patient plays a crucial role as well, in terms of their lifestyle choices and exercise and diet. All in all, the healthier YOU and your SKIN are before a surgical procedure, the better the healing and outcome.
“We know that a surgical procedure like a facelift is an investment for our patients, which is why we want them to protect that investment by taking care of their skin both before and after their procedure. We take this partnership in health very seriously, as the satisfaction of our patients is paramount in our clinic,” concludes Dr. Griffin.