What is a facelift?

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What is a facelift?

Although it seems simplistic, the answer is quite complex. I used to assume that what I think is a facelift is the same for all of my patients. I was wrong. Over years I have learnt that facelift is still a confusing word for most patients. They have developed a notion of facelift from their exposure to TV, Hollywood and many urban myths. This has led to a sense of fear as well. Even for the patients who might have a better understanding of a facelift it is difficult to differentiate between the following terms;
Facelift
Mini facelift
S- Lift
LifeStyle Lift
O- Lift
MACS lift
J- Lift
Vampire Lift
Cervical Lift
Thread Lift
Laser Lift
Lunch time Lift
and the list goes on.

It is important to understand the reasoning behind all of these different 'LIFTS' popping all over the place. Traditional facelift has been thought of as too radical, too invasive, too much down time, changing looks, un-natural, too painful. This has kept many patients away from plastic surgery offices. Surgeons had to come up with softer names and less threatening phrases to help the patient get through the decision making process. Some might argue that indeed all these procedures are very different and should be treated as such. However, no one can argue that it does not confuse patients and makes it harder to make a choice.
As physicians and surgeons it is our job not only to do surgery but also to educate our patients and make them better consumers.
From my perspective, there is FACELIFT and then there is every thing else. No procedure can substitute a good traditional facelift.
A traditional facelift involves correcting the forehead, cheeks, jaw line and the neck. It is a combination of three procedures; browlift, midfacelift, necklift. The incisions start from the scalp to the ears, then behind the ears and into the hairline. The skin is elevated, tissues underneath that hold all the facial muscles together (SMAS) is tightened and excess skin is trimmed. The result is a natural appearing tightening of facial skin, lifting of brows, smoothening of jowls and disappearance of a turkey wattle. It is important to know what a facelift cannot do.
A facelift cannot fix the eyes, you need a blepharoplasty.
A facelift cannot slow down movement of muscles in the upper face, only Botox can do it.
A facelift cannot fill in any grooves, wrinkles or depressions, only fillers do that.
A facelift cannot improve the quality of skin, only lasers, chemical peels and skin care products can do that.
Having said all of the above, is there is any room for the other kinds of facelifts listed above. Yes, there is certainly room for these once you understand the difference between a traditional facelift and the 'OTHERS', because now you are making an informed decision.

Article by
Bedminster Facial Plastic Surgeon