Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Small Facelifts Match Today's Lifestyles

My office often gets asked if we perform the 'LifeStyle Lift', 'S-Lift', and a variety of other names that end in -lift. The callers and patients don't know, of course, that all these names really refer to the same procedure, otherwise known as a limited facelift. Their interest is peaked by the allure of improvement in sagging jowls or loose neck skin but without the downtime of a full facelift.

The confusion comes from a general misunderstanding of what a facelift is or actually achieves. Most patients envision a facelift as a procedure that starts at the top of the head and ends somewhere below the neck. Visions of weeks of seclusion, obscene facial swelling and bruising, and ruinous financial strain make many patients feel that they definitely don't want a facelift. They don't understand that a facelift is really a misnamed procedure. A more accurate description of what it is....is a necklift or a jowl-necklift. A facelift, in isolation, does very little above the jawline or for most of the face. Only the neck and jowl line are changed from this procedure. Patients will often have other rejuvenating procedures done at the same time as their facelift such as on the eyes, nose, cheeks, lips, and chin. While these procedures are complementary to a facelift, they themselves do not constitute the facelift operation. As a stand-alone procedure, a facelift is really about the neck and jowls and creating a sharper neck angle and a clean jowl line again.

Therefore, a limited facelift is a scaled down version of the full facelift. It has gotten, for a variety of marketing purposes, many catchy names as previously mentioned. Some plastic surgeons even put their own name on it. But, in the end, there are all the same procedure. A limited facelift is.....limited. Meaning the length of the incisions used (in front of the ear), how much skin is undermined and removed, and the amount of subsequent after surgery care and recovery is much less than a full facelift. And the important thing to understand here is....the outcome is also not as significant as that of a full facelift. For this reason, limited facelifts are best done are younger facial aging concerns or on older patients who only want a smaller facelift for recovery or economic reasons.

I have found that one-half of the facelifts I do today are of the limited variety. They are very popular due to their quick recovery, lack of pain, and minimal swelling and bruising. They are a great stopgap measure that will substantially delay the need for a facelift is some patients and may, in others, potentiallhy eliminate the long-term need for a full facelift. Whe combined with other small face procedures, such as eye tucks and peels, they really make a nice change with no chance of getting that 'operated look.'

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