Summary: Most of us are pretty content with our faces. Sure, there are some things that we’d change, but they’re overall very little things. We wouldn’t want to change our entire face. Unfortunately, sometimes we just don’t get that kind of choice. When our face undergoes an extreme trauma, or when we’re born with an extreme deformation, sometimes a complete face transplant is the only way to go. However, lining up the basic physiological functions can be a challenge. Something as simple as blinking can throw the whole project off. In fact, new studies have found that coordinating blinking responses can be key in successful facial transplant surgeries—and these studies may have implications for those such as LA or Connecticut facelift surgeons, and everyone in between.

A Little Improvement in a Big Plastic Surgery Procedure

Most of us, when we go in for plastic surgery, are looking for a little improvement—maybe we want to look a little more youthful, or have slightly smoother skin or want the tissue taken back from our eyelids. But rarely, when we go in for plastic surgery, do we think about having what is known as a face transplant. Thanks to the miracle of modern science, this procedure—once little more than a macabre fantasy—is entirely possible. And it’s changing lives for people who have gone through traumas to the face. The face, after all, is often our primary form of interaction with other people—those who have a traumatized or disfigured face can find themselves social stigmatized, which is not a very pleasing position to be in.

While some disfigurements can be achieved using less drastic means (a cleft pallet, for example), sometimes a complete facial transplant is in order. However, the face is also the site of a wide variety of muscles and movements. One that can be particularly important to pay attention to during a face transplant, it turns out, is one we barely think about in our day to day lives: blinking. According to new research, failure to get the blinking properly transferred can result in increasing complications down the line. This means that blinking and eyelids must be mapped very accurate before surgery is to proceed.

Accurate Mapping, Better Facial Plastic Surgery Results

If this mapping is not accurately undertaken, the patient can experience eyelid retraction, corneal exposure, or even impaired vision. As we mentioned, blinking is a fairly complex physiological action—and there’s more than one muscle that controls blinking. Understanding and mapping those muscles is key to getting a good blink-transfer (honestly, we’re not quite sure if that’s the proper term, but we think it illustrates the point nicely).

All of which goes to show that, in general, plastic surgery can be a complicated endeavor. Look, you’re probably not going to need a complete face transplant in your life (although, if you do, these kinds of studies are good news for you, as it means that surgeons are learning ever more about how to get you better results). But that doesn’t mean that studies like this aren’t helping you out. The human body is, after all, quite complex, and the more we know, the better we’ll be able to predict results and ensure outcomes.

Research for All Plastic Surgery

So, just because you yourself aren’t going to be getting a facial transplant yourself doesn’t mean you won’t be taking advantage of advances in facial surgery. Indeed, facial plastic surgery—both aesthetic and reconstructive—are growing ever more popular, even in the face of competing options from nonsurgical procedures such as Botox and dermal fillers.

But, if you want to look younger permanently, there’s still no substitute for a facelift. One of the most popular plastic surgery procedures, according the website of the Connecticut facelift surgeons, there aren’t many ways to get a natural-looking younger face than with a facelift. Patients of all ages—but especially those who might be considered middle aged and older—are interested in facelifts, as they can take several years off the appearance of the face. And in the hands of a very skilled plastic surgeon, you can avoid that stereotypical “plastic” look and simply seem younger.

Face Your Identity

No matter what your plans are for your face, it’s difficult to get around how central it is in our daily interactions. It’s the way we recognize each other, so it’s not surprising that the face quickly gets entangled with our identities. This means that for recipients of facial transplant surgeries, they finally get just that—an identity, and an identity they can share with the rest of the world. The same is true of a facelift—we tweak our outward identity so that it looks just as young as we feel.

Of course, getting those results can take time. And those results are more precise—and more durable—when we have a better understanding of the overall anatomy of the face. Studies like these are important not only to reconstructive facial surgery, but to plastic surgery and aesthetic plastic surgery as whole. After all, if there’s one thing that’s for sure, it’s that plastic surgeons will continue to work to improve results—to the satisfaction of patients everywhere.

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