Advances in Minimal Scar Facelift Surgery: The Lite Lift™
Minimally invasive procedures are the focus of all surgical fields and plastic surgery is no exception. The trend for looking your best has moved towards procedures that have rapid healing times, reduced risk and leave significantly less scarring than traditional methods. More importantly, most patients want a natural, refreshed look without the appearance of having had surgery. The Lite-Lift™, modified facelift procedure, exemplifies these principles by having 40% less scarring, and nearly half the surgical down time. Rather than being performed with general anesthesia, most are performed in our office with oral sedation and local anesthesia without an IV.
It seems rational that the more extensive a procedure is, the more dramatic and long lasting the outcome will be but this is not always true. Though there is still a place for the traditional facelift, with it there is also increased recovery time and potential for problems. By using advanced techniques deep to the skin, we are able to minimize external skin incisions and scarring. For example, placing the scar within portions of the ear and ending the incision behind the earlobe crease eliminates the usual telltale scar of a full facelift. Similarly, repositioning the incisions to hide them is also used. For example, beveling the incisions just behind the hairline allows the sideburn not to be displaced too high while allowing hair to grow through the scar to conceal it. In contrast to the traditional facelift, the Lite-Lift™ re-draping of skin is upward, a more natural, antigravity, direction eliminating the “swept away” unnatural pull too often seen in Hollywood stars with older facelift techniques. These and other advanced techniques along with modifications and innovations by Dr. Nichter are what make up the essence of the Lite Lift™.
The techniques of the Lite Lift are advanced and predictable in the most skilled hands of Plastic Surgeons Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery . The best candidates are those patients with some remaining skin elasticity (late 30’s to 60’s) but this technique is also applicable to most patients including those in good health but advanced age. Best of all, this technique can incorporate synergistic procedures such as blepharoplasty (eyelid lift), temple/brow lift, cheek lift, and liposuction of the neck and jaw line, chemical peels and more. These added procedures heal simultaneously so a speedy recovery is expected.
Our patients remain our biggest source of our referrals. Over time they remain thrilled with their Lite-Lift™ results. I share their enthusiasm and appreciate their long lasting rejuvenation which affects them inside and out.
I agree there is a wide variability techniques out there. Many of the latest advances focus on minimal skin incision with maximum improvement beneath the skin.. This is not surprising as there are many techniques, different elasticity of the skin, anatomical variation, different fat deposits (or wasting) and so on. Some techniques focus on underlying structural lifting (SMAS lifts). But probably most important factor of all is in fact the skill and experience of the surgeon. Always check out his/her before and after photos and ask to see long term results and most of all that he is trained and a board certified plastic surgeon by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or board certified facial plastic surgeon. It is their role to see you through this complicated decision making process. You will probably also want to ask your plastic surgeon about the difference between a traditional facelift and a mini lift (both usually address the deeper structural lifting you mentioned).
A full or "traditional" facelift addresses the sagging upper and lower neck skin and (platysmal) vertical neck bands, jowls, lower and mid nasolabial folds and marionette lines. It involves incisions from the temple scalp, along the front of the ear (inside the mid part for women), behind the ear in the crease then along or into the scalp hair behind the ear towards the back of your neck with undermining of the skin and tightening of underlying support tissues.
A mini-facelift, or "short scar facelift" or as I call it in my practice addresses all of the above except for the lower neck. The difference is that the incisions are shorter - basically the same description in front of the ear and temple scalp but ending at the level of the earlobe (in front or in back) - as much as 40% less scarring. Remember it is the expertise and skill of the surgeon, not the technique that is most important.