Facelift Surgery in San Francisco

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facelift surgery

A facelift improves the fullness next to the corner of the nose and sagging skin across the cheek and along the neck and jowl line.

Laser Assisted “Vertical” Facelift

In response to facelift patient’s requests, Dr. Kulick developed laser applications that shortened recovery and resulted in less bruising and pain when undergoing a facelift prodecure. He is one of the early pioneers in plastic surgery, advocating the efficacy of lasers for aesthetic procedures.

Dr. Kulick lectures nationally and internationally regarding this topic. He has written numerous articles about the safety, effectiveness and integration of lasers for surgical procedures. His book, Lasers In Aesthetic Surgery has been published in the United States and Internationally.

Understanding Facelift Techniques

Initially, the problems of facial aging were treated with a “skin-lift” technique. The skin-lift technique, popular in the 1950-60’s, eliminated the extra skin but had drawbacks in terms of longevity, change in hairline and scarring.

The next development was the “SMAS” (sub-muscular aponerotic system) facelift. This is the method commonly used by many plastic surgeons today. This surgical procedure entails separating the skin from the underlying SMAS layer. The SMAS layer is then pulled back to flatten the naso-labial fold- the undesirable fullness next to the nose which appears as age. The tension on the SMAS layer (versus the skin alone) provides an improvement in the longevity of the facelift. However, this often leaves patients with a “pulled look” as well as leaving unsightly scars in the hairline behind the ear. Because putting the incisions in the hairline is the only way to camouflage the scars of the SMASS facelift procedure, patients have difficulty with short hairstyles. Also, following the surgery, many patients eventually develop a “roman shade” like draping of the skin along the cheek.

Like a stretched rubber band wanting to return to its original position, the attachments of the face that are not separated with a SMAS lift return the naso-labial fold to its original “aged” look. The pulled skin then sags like a drape secondary to the effects of gravity. Patients who have had a SMAS facelift often become self-conscious and frustrated by the disappointing long- term results of this widely used procedure.

Why a Laser Assisted Vertical Facelift is Better Than a Traditional SMAS Facelift

Seeing these results, Dr. Kulick developed his own technique. Dr. Kulick is known world wide for developing the Laser Assisted Deep Plane Vertical Facelift.

The vertical facelift is unique in the following ways:

  • Laser light is used as a “scalpel” to separate tissue. This reduces bleeding, swelling and bruising.
  • Laser dissection allows Dr. Kulick to lift the facial tissue all the way to the nose. This eliminates the “rubber band” pulled back look that often occurs in the SMAS facelift procedure.
  • The lifting of the facial tissue is in an upward direction. This means that the facial tissue will be elevated in an upward direction verses pulled back towards the ears, as occurs in the SMAS procedure.

As an experiment for yourself, look in a mirror and put two fingers on your cheek just below the lateral, lower eyelid. Look what kind of effect you can create on the lateral mouth/nose area and naso-labial fold when you pull back (SMAS facelift) versus lifting up (Dr. Kulick’s vertical lift technique). The test that you just performed should show a more natural positioning of the face vs. looking like you are smiling all of the time! In addition, Dr. Kulick’s patients do not have scars in the hairline behind their ears, and the results last.

Why Choose Dr. Kulick For Your Facelift

Other surgeons may use similar words as Dr. Kulick to describe their facelift procedures. However, they may have difficulty duplicating his results unless they take advantage of modern day laser technology and have a similar surgical experience, understanding of facial anatomy, and sense of artistry.

Dr. Kulick’s procedure capitalizes on laser technology, allowing him to treat the signs of aging directly. Laser facelift surgery allows Dr. Kulick to dissect all the way to the naso-labial fold with almost no bleeding and with significantly less bruising. The “heat” of the laser beam continuously seals the numerous tiny blood vessels and enhances the safety of his operation.

Recovery times can be as much as 40-50% less than the surgeries where scissors or a knife are used to divide tissue. Another significant benefit is that most patients report that they have very little if any pain after surgery. What about safety? To date, performing hundreds of procedures, Dr. Kulick has not had a permanent nerve injury or hematoma (a blood clot under the skin) using his technique. Patients that are 3, 5, 7 and even 10 years after surgery, still benefit from his procedure.

Performing the Facelift Surgery

The following video is actual surgical footage taken when performing a laser assisted vertical facelift.

Sedation and Incisions

The vertical facelift procedure is performed at the hospital under local, I.V. sedation (you are responsive but in a “twilight” state) or under general anesthesia depending on your health and personal preference. With regard to the placement of incisions, Dr. Kulick is able to place incisions that are well hidden and positioned in locations that many surgeons do not use. In front of the ear, the incision is placed behind the middle fullness in front of the ear called the tragus. Along the sideburn area, Dr. Kulick places incisions that zigzag in and out of the hair follicles, which allows the hair to actually grow through the healed incision camouflaging them naturally without the need for makeup.

Such placement insures that the patient’s own side burn hairline will not be raised or leave a bald spot in front of the ear. There are no incisions in the hairline behind the ear since the primary lift with Dr. Kulick’s technique provides a vertical, not a backwards lift towards the ear. This allows his patients to wear their hair short behind the ear or up in a ponytail without feeling self-conscious that someone will see their scars in the hairline from their facelift.

What To Expect From The Results

Many people fear that a facelift will leave their face looking stretched and artificial, like you have just been through a “wind tunnel.” However, Dr. Kulick’s vertical lift was developed to give a more natural, smoother, lasting and better-appearing rejuvenation compared to the previous style of facial procedures. A facelift can produce a more rested and youthful contour of the face and neck. It can also smooth wrinkles or deep creases, and help eliminate excess skin and jowl fullness.

Who is a Good Candidate For a Facelift?

The truth is, there is no right age. A person should have a facelift when they feel that they are ready for it, the procedure will help improve their “aesthetic concerns,” they are in good health and have realistic expectations. A facelift can help a person turn back the “clock” on their face. The face is probably the most important feature that defines a person’s appearance. Factors such as previous sun exposure, personal “genetics” genetics and gravity add to the undesirable “aging” appearance.

A good candidate is a person who has realistic goals and expectations. The more information you know about the particular procedure you will be having should help you make a better, informed decision and decrease your anxiety. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!! Sometimes it is helpful to bring a family member or friend with you to the consultation.

What Happens After Surgery?

The healing process begins as soon as you leave the operating room. Each person heals from plastic surgery at a different rate. A great deal of “how long does it take to look normal”…. depends on your health, genetic profile, the number of cosmetic procedures performed at the same time and your age at the time of your cosmetic surgery. You may opt to spend the night in the hospital to allow the sedatives given to you in the operating room to wear off.

When you’re a finished with your facelift procedure, cool compresses will be applied and should be continued by you at home for 48 hours. At home, you will need to keep your head elevated and rest as much as possible. We will make every effort to help you relax, your post-operative anxiety should be reduced because the person you met at the time of your initial consultation, your Patient Care Coordinator, will call you to check on your progress, answer your immediate questions and schedule your post-operative appointment with Dr. Kulick.

Sutures are eventually removed by one month and many patients feel that they are “socially” presentable within two to four weeks. As a post facelift surgery patient, you will continue to improve for several months but the final result of your facelift surgery can take up to 1-2 years, depending on how many procedures were performed during surgery.

Click here to contact Dr. Kulick for a facelift consultation.

Why Perform More Than One Plastic Surgery at Once?

Facelifts are frequently combined with other procedures mentioned earlier. Each “additional” aesthetic surgery procedure can add to the recovery time but can eliminate the need for additional surgeries later on.

What Other Procedures Can Be Performed With Dr. Kulick’s Laser Vertical Facelift?

Procedures such as removing the excess skin around the eyes (blepharoplasty), an endoscopic brow lift, reduction of cheek fat, laser skin resurfacing for wrinkles around the mouth, chin augmentation, lip augmentation and even a rhinoplasty (improve nasal contour) can be performed at the same time.

These procedures when performed at the same time as the facelift can add to the recovery time but obviate the need for “another” surgical procedure at a date latter. In addition, there is some cost savings when combining procedures. After surgery while the patient is recovering, the “other” signs of facial aging can be improved. Photorejuvenation can improve on the color and texture of the skin by reducing undesirable red, brown and fine wrinkles.

Facelift Patient Testimonials

Dear Dr. Kulick,

“It’s been six months since I first walked into your office in search of help for some nagging facial “concerns”. After meeting with you and Deborah and seeing your work, your techniques and credentials, I was very excited to plan my laser assisted vertical face-lift. Especially since I had a previous traditional face-lift, I was looking forward to the correcting of my pulled look. I diligently followed your post-operative instructions and after the first few days, you told me I could go for a walk. I felt incredibly well that entire first week and continued my walks. 2 1/2 weeks after my surgery, I attended a Tina Turner Concert in Las Vegas with a bunch of girlfriends. I was still swollen but no one would have known. There never was one hint of a bruise – anywhere! I am thoroughly enjoying the refreshed and natural looks that I have nearly forgotten I had a face-lift. You are a magnificent artist and that fact combined with your expertise in plastic surgery make for a magical combination. I am blessed that I found you. I will always be grateful for your attention, your expertise and your commitment to excellence in your field. Many thanks to you and your wonderful staff.”


Dr. Kulick,

“I thought you would find this funny. On my 60th birthday, I invited 30 friends to The Savoy in London for tea. All my friends said I looked absolutely wonderful and then the most staggering thing happed. One of my girlfriend’s husbands came over to me and said, “You look terrific”. He then proceeded to take my ear in his hand and examined the front and back thoroughly. I could not believe his rudeness, but he was unable to detect anything. He said, “Well you haven’t had a face lift”. I had my surgery in September and January was my birthday. Not bad for your 60 year old patient! You are a wonderful artist Dr. Kulick. Thank you once again.”


Dr. Michael Kulick,

“A friend referred me to Dr. Kulick in August and I was also scheduled to have surgery with another plastic surgeon in September. My friend suggested I see Dr. Kulick before going through with the procedure. She already spoke with the Patient Coordinator, Deborah so when I spoke with her, she was very accommodating and got me in right away. I explained to Dr. Kulick that at 36 years old and after two babies I was starting to see my looks deteriorate. I have always been happy with my looks and confident. I wanted to look the same but just more youthful. I didn’t want to wait for my face and body to age so much that when I chose to have cosmetic surgery that people would look at me and say, “Oh look, she’s had her face done”. I was impressed that Dr. Kulick did not proceed to tell me which procedures I should have done, but asked me what I saw in my looks that needed change. He explained the procedures and what results to expect. He was very straightforward and showed me before and after pictures. I was amazed at how good all his patients looked as compared to the photos from the other offices. It was obvious to me that Dr. Kulick’s use of the laser was far superior to the technique used by the other doctor and so I made my decision to change and have Dr. Kulick perform my surgery. I had my facial procedures done and a week later I had my tummy tuck and breast augmentation. Both surgeries were successful and I was able to get through the recovery without any problems. Because I have two small children I was concerned about the recovery, but I was very happy with how fast I did recover. When I returned to my regular activities I was wondering what people would say and most people just asked me if I had lost weight or said “you’re looking so good” or “you look younger” but nobody could pinpoint why. I am so pleased with my natural looking results. I couldn’t be happier. I am so grateful to you Dr. Kulick for doing such fabulous work”

Thank you,

To learn more about the Laser Assisted “Vertical” Facelift procedure, call our office to attend one of Dr. Kulick’s lectures..more

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