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“I am in my early 60’s, have been a golfer all my life, and have very weathered skin. I had a facelift ten years ago and think my neck still looks fairly good. I would like to get rid of all my wrinkles – should I have a laser or a face lift?”

Judy L, Newport Beach, CA

A laser resurfacing (or chemical peel) and a facelift address totally different concerns! In general, skin resurfacing procedures are utilized to minimize surface wrinkles and sun damage, but they do not tighten the jowls or neck. The skin resurfacing procedure will significantly decrease wrinkles and texture, and may be very effective by itself if there is not much in the way of neck laxity and jowls. On the other hand, a face lift will tighten the facial and neck skin, but will not alter the surface of the skin. In severe situations, it may be necessary to consider both procedures, which can be done during the same procedure. But we cannot stress enough how important it is to have realistic expectations. One of the first caveats in doing aesthetic surgery is to make sure that each patient has a realistic expectation of what can be achieved surgically.

A fully trained plastic surgeon will be able to evaluate your situation and review all your options – and hopefully, stress the limitations of what each procedure can accomplish. In my many years as a plastic surgeon, I have never had a weathered patient in whom we were able to tighten the neck and facial skin, and remove ALL the facial wrinkles. Some wrinkles and lines always persist but when patients see what can be done to smooth the forehead, raise the brows, remove fatty deposits around eyes, plump up the lips and cheeks, minimize jowls and tighten the neck, they are almost always pleased with the natural-looking results!

The following patients will illustrate your options.

48 year old, weathered ex life guard without significant drooping, before and after a fractional laser resurfacing. A facelift would not have added anything to her final result. Actual patient of Dr. Bunkis.

50 year old weathered female before and after a laser resurfacing combined with a face & brow lift, upper and lower lid blepharoplasty. This was done in one surgical procedure lasting about four hours. Doing the face/brow lift and blepharoplasty without adding the laser resurfacing would have left her less droopy but every wrinkle would still have been on her face. Actual patient of Dr. Bunkis.

55 year old female with relatively little sun damage, before and after a face & brow lift, blepharoplasty and chin implant without a laser resurfacing. Since the quality of her skin was good, a laser resurfacing would not have added to her result. Actual patient of Dr. Bunkis

If you have any specific questions about cosmetic procedures, your best bet would be to see a qualified plastic surgeon to review your options. Please feel free to contact our office at 949-888-9700 to set up an appointment with Dr. Bunkis; check out our web site at to see further examples of similar patients.

We have instituted a telemedicine consultation service online through – just please call us in advance to set up a time when we can chat. (Just click on this link to use after you call to alert me, and your name will pop up on my screen that you are waiting to talk to me). Save this link in your favorites or contacts. This service can be used for follow-up patients as well as new consultations.

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