The Inside Scoop on Skin Tightening – Surgical Options

Skin tightening seems like quite an intimidating phrase, but it merely describes procedures that can reverse signs of aging, especially on your face. Deep expression lines and wrinkles as well as sagging facial skin in the cheeks, jowls, and neck can be distressing and seem to form all too soon. The good news is, there is a procedure that can help you, no matter what stage of aging you are experiencing.

As Chicago’s premiere center for facial rejuvenation, the Whole Beauty® Institute offers solutions for every aspect of the facial aging process. Every procedure, from surgical lifting to non-invasive face tightening follows protocols designed by Dr. John Q. Cook, a recognized leader in facial aesthetic surgery. With our extensive experience, we can help you select the procedure that is most in line with your goals.

We offer here a guide to the range of face tightening procedures that we offer at the Chicago and Winnetka offices of the Whole Beauty® Institute.

Surgical Option: Face and Neck Lift

Lifting of the cheek, jaw border, and neck is a major focus of Dr.Cook’s work. In Dr. Cook’s practice a face lift is much more than a simple tightening of the skin. The real work is done at deeper levels, so that the pull on the skin is much less severe. This helps us avoid the distortion that can be seen with an inexpertly performed lift. Almost every lift that we perform is combined with facial fat transfer in order to counteract the volume loss that occurs with aging. Dr. Cook has combined fat transfer with surgical lifting for over 20 years. The combination of lifting and volume restoration is one of the keys to a natural face lift.

face lift - before and after

Face lift surgery – before and after

Patients who come to us for a face lift may combine the with surgery the refreshes the eyelids and brow position, if this is needed. This allows for total facial rejuvenation with a single treatment.

lower face lift - before and after

Lower face lift surgery – before and after

Although a face and neck lift is a surgical procedure, over 50% of our lifts are performed under local anesthesia. For patients who desire a deeper rest during the procedure, we can perform the surgery under IV sedation or a light general anesthesia at a state-of-the-art surgical facility near our Chicago office.

Face and neck lift are by far the most powerful and longest-lasting procedures for rejuvenation of the cheek, jaw border, and neck regions. Not everyone needs this power, so for milder forms of facial aging we offer an extensive portfolio of minimally invasive and non-invasive face lift procedures. During your detailed consultation we will educate you about your range of options.

Best Candidates

If you have significant looseness in the face, so that the cheeks have settled, the jowls are pronounced, and the neck has lost its tone, surgical lifting is often the best choice for you. Patients who come to us for lifting may have undergone previous treatments with Botox, fillers, and medical skin care, but find these treatments are no longer working. This is the point where surgery should be seriously considered, since over-correction with these other methods will produce a strange and distorted look.

Every team member at the Whole Beauty® Institute adheres to Dr. Cook’s naturalist aesthetic. We perform a detailed analysis and follow artistic principles in all our work.

What To Expect

Face lift and neck lift are surgical procedures. Careful planning of the surgical incisions to follow the natural contours around the ear and into the side burn and meticulous technique through the closure leads to scars that are virtually invisible.

When patients recover from face lift surgery under IV sedation or light general anesthesia, they will usually spend a night at a 5-star hotel that is in the same building as the surgical center. We can arrange for custom packages for out-of-town patients. When surgery is performed in the office under local anesthesia most patients recover at home, but we can arrange for recovery at the hotel if you prefer.

Most of the sutures from the skin incisions are removed by one and a half weeks. As with any surgical procedure, there will be a predictable sequence of swelling, bruising, and “settling in.”

Recovery Time

Most patient are surprised by how little pain is associated with face lift surgery. By one week most patients feel quite well, but there will still be traces of the surgery in terms of swelling and bruising. The majority of patients return to work and social activity between 2 and 3 weeks after surgery. We encourage our patients to resume gentle exercise as soon as they are comfortable, but heavy exercise should be avoided for one month. We provide each patient customized guidance for the recovery period after surgery.

Minimally Invasive Option: FaceTite – Tightening of the Face and Neck


The FaceTite™ device

Short of a surgical face lift, the most powerful way to tighten loose skin along the jaw border and neck is FaceTite™. This truly is a game changer in minimally invasive facial rejuvenation. Through tiny openings made with a needle we insert a probe under the skin. A second probe is placed on top of the skin and we then glide the two probes back and forth and apply radio-frequency energy until a certain temperature is reached. This causes significant skin tightening. The process is known as bipolar radio-frequency skin tightening, because the energy flows between two probes. The fundamental design of the system eliminates the possibility of damage underneath the deeper probe and allows for a precise delivery of energy. Our team at the Whole Beauty® Institute is pleased to be one of the first centers in the United States to offer this powerful technology, which has become the leading method of non-surgical skin tightening in European countries.

pic_bodytite_03 pic_bodytite_02It is important that this therapy be delivered by a board-certified plastic surgeon or facial plastic surgeon. Even though it is minimally invasive, it requires a detailed understanding of facial anatomy

It is possible to combine FaceTite with fat transfer and skin resurfacing, all under local anesthesia.

Best Candidates

Patients with a moderate degree of looseness along the jaw border and neck are excellent candidates for treatment with the FaceTite technology. There are patients with a greater degree of looseness who are either afraid to undergo surgical face lift or who have medical issues that prevent a face lift. These patients may also benefit from FaceTite, as long as they understand the the procedure will not be as powerful or long-lasting as a face lift performed by Dr. Cook.

What to Expect

Dr. Cook injects a dilute local anesthetic solution underneath the skin of the areas to be treated with FaceTite. This makes the procedure virtually pain free.

Even though there are no incisions or surgical undermining, there will be some swelling and potential bruising from treatment with FaceTite. Recovery generally is easier than a full face lift, and there is a quicker return to work and social activities.

Recovery Time

We often combine FaceTite with Fractora, another radio-frequency treatment that delivers energy to the skin with tiny needles (under local anesthesia, of course). This boosts the power of the skin tightening and also improves the surface quality of the skin.

Many patients look good with makeup a week after treatment, but the occasional patient requires several more days until she or he is comfortable returning to work and social interaction.

Return to Dr. Cook’s blog next week for Part II of his Skin Tightening Series, The Inside Scoop on Skin Tightening – Non-Surgical Options

To learn more about the benefits of skin tightening and find a treatment that suits you needs, contact the Whole Beauty® Institute in Chicago and Winnetka, or call (312) 751-2112.