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Which Facelift Technique Has Less Complications and Side Effects?

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Minor and major complications of face lift



Face lift complications can be minor or major and vary based on the extensiveness of the procedure as well as the surgeon.  Minor complications are primarily related to contour irregularities that are associated with seroma (healing fluid) collection or irregularity of the underlying soft tissue.  Major complications include nerve damage, tissue loss from blood supply problems, or significant distortion of face and/or hairline from poor planning.  The key to minimizing your face lift complications is probably selecting a plastic surgeon that can guide you to selecting a face lift procedure that meets your goals and that he/she can execute consistently.

All the best,

Dr. Remus Repta

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

The greatest risks in facelift surgery include injury to the facial nerve, a motor nerve that supplies movement of all areas of


The greatest risks in facelift surgery include injury to the facial nerve, a motor nerve that supplies movement of all areas of the face, and unsightly scar formation. There have been a number of well accepted facelift techniques over recent years that have ranged from a more superficial SMAS elevation technique to a deplane facelift to minimal access types facelifts, including the S-Lift, endoscopic facelifts and--what I believe is an outdated technique called the threadlift.

The most important part of the decision is to chose the appropriate technique to address your specific, common individual concerns. These may include excessive jowling, skin laxity in the midface and prominent muscle bands in the neck. I believe that a deplane facelift adds risk of injury to the facial nerve that is not proportional to any improved results that this technique offers. Any minimal access type of technique may be appropriate for a younger patient with a less significant skin laxity or facial aging, but a limited access approach also occasionally exposes the patient to a greater risk because of less exposure.

In my hands, variations of a more traditional SMAS technique have yielded very safe and effective results. I hide any scars above the hairline, behind the cartilage in front of the ear, and in the post-auricular crease behind the ear. In this way, the scars are so well hidden that the risk of poor wound healing is very minimal. 

Michael R. Macdonald, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Which Facelift Technique Has Less Complications and Side Effects?


I think a better way to ask this question would be 'How can I minimize complications and side effects after a face lift?' and the answer to that is to choose an experienced surgeon who performs facelifts on a regular basis and with proven results.  Any technique (SMAS plication, SMAS flap, Deep plane) can give great and safe results in experienced hands and disastrous results in inexperienced hands and the likes of facelift 'Mills' you see advertising on TV

Sam Naficy, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 132 reviews

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Facelifts with Least Complications


Any technique when performed properly has a low incidence of complications.  I also know that as I perform more and more facelifts, I have learned a lot of techniques for assuring patients the least complicated recovery, and the best overall aesthetic results.  This is a surgery where repetition and practice are invaluable, but every patient is unique, and the surgeon must also be prepared to modify the technique for the patient.

Jeffrey Epstein, MD, FACS
Miami Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Face lift technique


I work as an aesthetic facial plastics surgical tech and I have seen many procedures and many situations. I feel Fat Transfer is the best option to go with because the outcome can offer many results that the traditional incision procedures does not. For instance, as described on our web site volumizing will eliminate the extra skin and fill any unwanted wrinkles and lines. If you go with the traditional face lift all that is accomplished is tightening. When we age we experience muscle and bone loss loosing volume. The youthful appearance is much contributed by the volume.  Fat transfer brings back the volume taking of over ten years or more. The procedure is a lot less invasive and the only cutting and sutures are limited to 2-3 centimeters where the fat was harvested.

Kindest regards



Philip Young, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon
3.5 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Which Facelift Technique Has Less Complications and Side Effects?


I have performed Face Lifts for over 20 years and IMHO, the minimally invasive Face Lifts have the least amount of swelling, bruising and down time that can be measured in days versus weeks or months for traditional Face Lifts that are more invasive.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Facelift techniques and complications


Generally speaking, the less invasive the procedure, the lower the risk of complications. However, an experienced surgeon should be able to tackle complex cases with minimal risk of complications. Keep in mind that the less invasive the procedure, especially with facelifts, the higher the risk that results won't last.  I woud not base your decision on which procedure has the lowest risk of complications. I would base it on which procedure will give you the best results in the hands of the most experienced surgeon.

Todd C. Miller, MD
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Facelifts can be done several different ways


As far as less complications and side effects, much of this is patient and surgeon dependent.  However, the less invasive the facelift is (SMAS lift) the less potential risk for complicatinos/side effects (deep plane lift).

Jeffrey E. Schreiber, MD, FACS
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Minimizing risks and maximizing results with facelift


As with all plastic surgery, the slection of procedure and technique is a balance between risks and expectations. In general, deeper and more extensive facelift techniques will cause more swelling and may have more risk for certain types of complications. However, more minimal procedures would be expected to have shorter lasting results. I would advise against selecting the operation besed on marketing, especially for brand-name franchise type facelifts. Your plastic surgeon can recommend the best and safest approach for both the surgery and the anesthesia.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Which facelift technique has least complications and side effects


The facelift with the least complications and side effects is the facelift that is not done at all.  The lesser the procedure, the fewer potential complications and side effects, and the lesser and shorter duration of the result, generally speaking.  The caveat of course, is that when you find an outstanding surgeon, he or she has the training, experience, vision, and commitment to perform a major procedure which carries major risks, but because of the surgeon's expertise, you get that beautiful youthful natural face which lasts for years, still with minimal if any complication or problem.  Merci beaucoup, thus you understand the passion which propels the greats among us forward.

Steve Laverson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.