All Face Lifts are NOT created equal


“Doctor, how long will my operation take ?”

Before face lift, you'll ask about length of the procedure. Besides curiosity, many emotions prompt this question. My staff and I are trusted, but you give up control over everything during general anesthesia. Your trust in us is all encompassing.

So is anesthesia safe? Is a shorter procedure better? Choosing between a quick face lift or “mini” lift, perhaps under local anesthesia, and a longer face lift under general anesthesia, should you be afraid of a longer surgery? The answer is, NO, you shouldn't fear a longer face lift, under many circumstances, YOU SHOULD WANT IT. General anesthesia is VERY SAFE, and longer procedures likely offer better, longer lasting results.

Think of a similar situation: Say you're choosing a painter for the outside of your home. One looks at your house and anticipates the job will take one day. Another estimates three days. Assuming the same number of workers, details of the result will be considerably different. After the one day job, trim, edges, corners, and difficult to reach areas will be missed and poorly covered. Number of coats will be less, and protection of your home not as durable. The home will not look as good up close as if the painter cared more, and took three days for a complete job. Quality always requires time and effort, and higher quality requires additional time and effort.

Likewise, not all face lifts are created equal. The surgeons' capacity to correct aging features has progressed dramatically. Modern face lift promises more beautiful and natural results. Technical details that improve your result demand from surgeons greater care and knowledge, extra time to accomplish successfully, and more focus on details. Time in the operating room is lengthened, but your result is improved, and perhaps safer. Better outcomes require longer procedures. The good news is that advances in anesthesia allow longer and higher quality procedures without increasing risk or compromising safety.

Abbreviated face lifts offer improvement, but how much will this be and how long will it last compared to the longer version? This varies, but usually, you lose value with a “mini” or “quick” version. Marketing limited procedures as quicker, less invasive, less recovery, and less cost may all be true, but there is nothing contemporary, new, or improved about the "mini" lift. Quick lifts are antiques, and have been around since the 1930's or before. Minimal surgery provides minimal results. Longer lasting, contemporary face lift incorporates advanced understanding and techniques. When well done by an expert surgeon, today's face lift is a masterful work of art individualized to reverse aging features by re-positioning sagging tissues into their youthful location and by securing them for a long lasting beautiful correction. During the operation, identification and protection of nerves, vessels, ligaments, and other important anatomy adds time, but promotes safety for you by avoiding complications.

To the perceptive, quick surgery is easily differentiated by the quality and longevity of the result. Quick surgery glosses over details. Quick surgery appeals to patients because of less time, perhaps less cost, and less recovery. Surgeons who perform “quick” or “mini” face lift regularly like these procedures as well. Quick face-lift is easier. More "mini" procedures can be scheduled in the same time, so more revenue can be generated for the surgical practice. However, quick face lift is never as thorough or comprehensive as state-of-the-art. If you’re only planning one face lift, there's no good reason to make it a quick one.
Article by
San Diego Plastic Surgeon