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Regain a More Youthful Face Shape in the Philadelphia Area

Facial rejuvenation may involve a number of different treatment strategies, but nothing is more effective or longer lasting than a facelift or neck lift (rhytidectomy). Dr. Kevin Cross performs more than 100 neck and facelifts in the Philadelphia area each year. This is close to 20 times the number of facelifts performed in a year by the average plastic surgeon and is one of the chief reasons he was named one of the nation's 30 best beauty gurus by Town and Country Magazine.

Cross Aesthetics


Schedule a facelift consultation today by calling Cross Plastic Surgery at (215) 561-9100 (Philadelphia) or (610) 688-9100 (Villanova), or send a message online.

As we age, the face loses volume and tissues grow increasingly lax and descend. This creates the appearance of loose and heavy skin in the lower face and neck. The shape of the face tends to become more square with aging, changing from the more conical shape of youth, when volume is greatest in the cheek region, and the chin and jaw appeared tapered. These changes are seen when comparing the features of this daughter and mother:

Mother-daughter comparison showing natural progression of face during the aging process.

This mother-and-daughter comparison shows the squaring of the face during the aging process.

Furthermore, excess fat deposits in the neck add to the loss of a defined neck region. Whether addressing changes in the mid portion of the face, the neck, or both, a good surgical correction via facelift will restore tissues to their proper location, secure them under the skin, and get rid of excess skin and fat. This helps define the jawline, achieve a more contoured neck, and restore lost volume in certain areas of the face, as seen in this patient:

View before & after results from Cross Medical Group in Philadelphia, PA
View before & after results from Cross Medical Group in Philadelphia, PA

*Results May Vary

Before & After Photo Gallery

See for yourself the patient transformations that can be achieved by Dr. Cross and his team.

Dr. Kevin Cross's Facelift Technique

Key regions of focus during a facelift surgery.
This diagram clearly shows the muscular layer of the face and the key regions targeted during a facelift surgery.

Patients are often familiar with facelift techniques marketed as the "lunch lift" or the "style lift." These techniques typically involve a surgeon cutting out a wedge of skin and then pulling the rest of the skin very tightly. This facelift strategy causes poor scarring and shorter-lasting results. Unlike these shortcut procedures, Dr. Cross's facelift techniques address not only the skin, but the stronger tissues under the skin, and results can often be achieved through even smaller incisions. In doing so, the correction is performed so that the tissues lie naturally and do not appear overly tightened or unnaturally pulled, but remain in the proper position for many years. To further help create a facelift result that looks balanced, Dr. Cross controls the important muscular layer at all levels of the face, from the neck to the cheek region and, when necessary, into the forehead, as shown in the diagram. This allows him the ability to balance each of these regions or to focus on an individual region, depending on what the facelift patient's needs and desires require. Dr. Cross will choose one of many technical options in order to create the most correction possible.

The Deep Plane Facelift

Widely considered to be one of the gold standards in facelift surgery, the deep plane facelift technique allows Dr. Cross to mobilize and reposition all of the aging elements of the face. This is most essential in patients with deflation in their cheeks, deep nasolabial folds, and excess jowls. Dr. Cross puts sagging fat, muscle, and skin back where it belongs after releasing tethered ligaments in the face. These ligaments can only be released from a deep access point, and this maneuver is the key to a successful deep plane facelift surgery. These same ligaments are also what prevent many standard facelift techniques from achieving rejuvenation in the midface and jowl area, because they prevent appropriate repositioning when not released.

To release the ligaments, the facelift procedure involves going below a layer of tissue known as the superficial muscular aponeurotic system, or SMAS for short. It is the SMAS that does the heavy lifting and is responsible for holding repositioned tissues in place.

Before & after image showing the reduction in facial sagging and improved overall shape as a result of a facelift by Dr. Cross.

Notice, in this picture of a 63-year-old woman who underwent a deep plane brow, face, and neck lift, that the sagging in her cheeks has been lifted. Her features are no longer flat and square, but take on the more curved shape of youthfulness. Her cheeks are higher and more full, and her jowls are corrected.

The High SMAS Facelift

The High SMAS facelift is similar to the deep plane facelift, except that the deep entry point occurs higher up on the face. This allows even more improvement in the cheek region and is an ideal option for younger patients, as well as those with a naturally thicker SMAS. Part of the artistry in face lifting is being able to recognize who is a better candidate for one procedure as opposed to another.

Other SMAS Facelifts

Suturing the SMAS without first lifting this tissue layer comes in many forms. This is the most common approach used by plastic surgeons who are getting comfortable with facelift surgery. While it is very limited in its ability to improve shape in the mid portion of the cheeks and face, Dr. Cross will use this type of approach when patients require more attention in their neck and only limited correction around the jowl and jawline.

Facelift Incisions

Proper incision placement makes the end result of a facelift nearly impossible to find.

A crucial element of a successful facelift procedure is incision placement. It is important to keep the incisions as short as possible—but what is even more important is that the incisions remain as unnoticeable as possible. Incisions that distort the sideburns or that are invisible, but in front of the ear, should not be tolerated. Often, plastic surgeons shorten their incisions but leave the skin around the ear and neck looking puckered and bunched. As is evident in the picture below, when the incision is placed correctly, it is nearly impossible to find, even with the hair pulled back as seen in this image.

The Male Facelift

There are a few important elements of a facelift that are unique in men. This largely has to do with the beard. All men have a patch of hairless skin between the ear and the beard hair of the cheek and neck. When excess skin is removed during a facelift and/or neck lift, bearded skin is moved into the location where the hairless patch used to be. During the procedure, Dr. Cross will remove as many hair follicles as possible from the skin that now covers the area around the ear—but not all follicles will be removed. Men have to be prepared to shave closer to their ears or consider hair removal in our office for any remaining growth in that region.

Men should also be very aware of the numbness of their facial skin for the first few months after their procedure, because when they shave, they will have less tactile feedback from the razor. Shaving will require a little more attention until the sensation returns.

Revision and Repeat Facelifts

Every year, Dr. Cross performs a significant number of revision procedures, or fixes of other surgeons' work. In fact, more than 10 percent of his procedures are revisions. Common reasons for revision work include poor scarring or scar placement, lack of improvement or rapid loss of improvement in the areas targeted for correction, and asymmetries or imbalances left after the original work. Dr. Cross encourages patients to wait at least one year before performing a facelift revision procedure, but under certain circumstances, work is performed sooner.

Even great facelifts won't last forever. The aging process continues from the second Dr. Cross puts in his last stitch. Whether it is one of Dr. Cross' patients who had a procedure more than a decade earlier or a patient who had a procedure elsewhere years in the past, follow-up facelifts are not only possible, but very effective. Former facelift patients will often find that they heal faster and more easily these days, since techniques have improved over the years, shorter scars are possible, and the body is more prepared to heal, having gone through a procedure in the past.

As Dr. Cross tells his patients, "A good facial rejuvenation should mean that, once the recovery is complete, friends and family will appreciate an improvement, but a new acquaintance should not know that a procedure has been performed."

When significant work is necessary on the neck region, a small scar under the chin is used. Many people have scars in this location from having fallen as a child, and this facelift scar appears no different. In fact, it is usually forgotten by the patient over a short period of time.

Often, patients look at pictures of themselves when younger and notice that they had more upper facial volume in youth. When necessary, adding volume back to the face is performed through the repositioning of the natural tissues of the face. This can be enhanced with the use of fat and stem cell grafting during the time of the procedure. Added volume should not look overdone, but rather complement the restoration, as demonstrated in this patient:

View before & after results from Cross Medical Group in Philadelphia, PA
View before & after results from Cross Medical Group in Philadelphia, PA

*Results May Vary

Before & After Photo Gallery

See for yourself the patient transformations that can be achieved by Dr. Cross and his team.

More Face Surgery and Rejuvenation Options

Patients who address sagging on the lower portions of the face also frequently want to correct signs of aging on the upper face as well. A brow lift elevates and smooths a creased, dropping forehead, while blepharoplasty creates a more alert look by opening up the eyes. Patients who want even more facial definition may opt for chin and cheek implants.

All of these facial surgeries alter contours, but a different technique is required to improve skin quality. Choose from broad band light (BBL), radiofrequency (RF), and fractional laser skin rejuvenation treatments, chemical peels, microneedling, and more.

Cross Aesthetics


Contact Cross Plastic Surgery for facelift surgery in Philadelphia (215) 561-9100 or Main Line's Villanova (610) 688-9100. You can also send a message online to inquire about a consultation, or for more information.


2200 Arch Street Suite 120, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Philadelphia, PA

2200 Arch Street Suite 120, Philadelphia, PA 19103
PH: 215.561.9100

775 E. Lancaster Avenue Suite 230, Villanova, PA 19085
Villanova, PA

775 E. Lancaster Avenue Suite 230, Villanova, PA 19085
PH: 610.688.9100



Cross Medical Group

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