Not all mini facelifts were born equal.
With current increased popularity of Minimally invasive procedures, a few new names and techniques appeared on the market. For the majority of consumers and very commonly for Plastic Surgeons, including myself, sometimes it is difficult to separate what represents a reasonable procedure with durable and stable result and what is a marketing gimmick and a new trade name.
Over the years, over 200 techniques of facial rejuvenation had been described. From thread lifts and endoscopic laser tightening to multilayered and composite lifts.
Most patients walking into our office do not request a facelift. They usually pull up on the neck and ask me to do as little as possible to get a smoother neck and cheek, as well as a more defined jaw line. Immediately after that they usually state that they do not want a facelift as they have a friend, a neighbor, or a relative who had it and looks just too pulled and un-natural. The name of Kenny Rogers comes up a lot lately in that content.
It appears that the word FACELIFT itself acquired a negative connotation and today equals to unnaturally pulled looking faces.
The goals of a facial rejuvenation are not to look 18 and very tight, but to look more refreshed, more youthful, but still natural. More aggressive facelift techniques can produce excellent results, but some of them take 6-8 hours, 3-4 weeks of recovery, prolonged swelling up to 3-6 month and may cost $12,000 to $50,000 (yes, this is not a typo).
Most of my patients have 1-2 weeks they can take off and $6,000 to $10,000 to spend. In my experience, to achieve a durable, reliable and consistent result, deeper tissues (SMAS) need to be treated.
I am a big supporter of MACS type lifts (Quicklift and so on). It allows excellent deep tissue support, has much lower risk of nerve injury, limits surgery time to 1-2 hours and recovery to 5-14 days (on average 7-10). It can be performed under local anesthesia alone, though for most patients we recommend sedation too.
Skin-only procedures take less time, can be done in under an hour, but they do not provide enough deep tissue support and therefore are less durable. The cost for these procedures is $4,000 to $6,000. There are people who are reasonable candidates for these lifts, but not everyone.
For sake of completeness, I will mention Thread Lifts. I do not believe in them and do not perform them.
In summary, Not all the Mini lifts produce Mini results. Our practice had shifted to Mini Facial rejuvenation surgery. I have been using this technique for the last 5 years with very consistent results and very high patient satisfaction.
The keys to successful facial rejuvenation surgery are to:
- Find an experienced Plastic or Facial Plastic Surgeon - not a casual facelift doc, but someone who does them routinely, in my mind at least 1-2 a week
- Establish a good and open relation with the doctor, so that he or she understands your goals
- Have your procedure customized to your facial features
- Have it done at a safe place; usually it means an in-office accredited surgery suite or ambulatory surgery center
- Ask questions and use common sense