What Exactly IS the Lifestyle Lift? No One Will Tell Me

What does the Lifestyle Lift entail? Is it a surgical procedure involving cutting and sutures? Is it the purse-string procedure? How long does it last? Do you have the "wind-tunnel" look afterwardd?

Doctor Answers 26

Slick Marketing, Quick Procedure

The short answer is twofold: heavy marketing and a quick procedure

The Procedure: Designed for speed

There is no aspect of a Lifestyle Lift (that has been published in the literature), which distinguishes it as unique to any of the previously described facelift techniques.The Lifestyle Lift is performed under local anesthesia. Speed is a quality that most good surgeon's have, but finishing a procedure too quickly can sacrifice the eventual aesthetic result. As described in Dr. Jafri's excellent post, the Lifestyle Lift procedure is a facelift-type procedure that is performed to enhance the surgeon's speed.

For example, a pre-auricular incision is generally used instead of a retrotragal incision. It is easier, simpler, faster, and technically less complicated to perform and close than a pre-auricular incision. In my own practice, I almost always use a retrotragal incision, meaning the incision follows a path behind the tragus (cartilaginous shield of the ear canal). In my opinion, supported by much of the literature and by many colleagues who are experience at facelift, the retrotragal incision produces a cosmetically superior result (for both men and women).

Secondly, the procedure employs a SMAS plication procedure. This means that there has been no true mobilization of the SMAS (the SMAS is the layer of tisse that bears the tension in a facelift, taking tension off of the skin). Again, a plication procedure is easier, simpler, faster, and less technically complicated to perform than either a true SMAS flap or a deep plane facelift. In my opinion, and in the opinion of many accomplished facelift surgeons, mobilization of the SMAS produces a superior and longer lasting result than simple plication. Is it possible to produce an acceptable result with plication? It is. Is a plication likely to hold up for as long as a SMAS mobilization procedure? Doubtful; not in my hands at least.

Thirdly, a lifestyle lift, as marketed, will not address a heavy neck, platysmal bands, or a low hyoid bone. In order to properly tackle a heavy neck, an incision, skin undermining, appropriate defatting, and contouring of the neck muscle is required. Addressing the neck, combined with the procedures decribed above, will take substantially more than one hour. In my practice, a patient will be comfortably and safely sedated (similar to a colonoscopy) when having this procedure performed. Laying still and awake for 3 hours, hearing the sounds, and seeing the sights of a surgical facility are definitely not for the faint of heart. In fact, this experience can be very anxiety provoking.

Most surgeons have some variability in the way they perform facelifts and certain techniques work better in certain surgeon's hands. However, one axiom that can be applied to facelift is that if a patient has significant aging changes, a one hour procedure is not likely to produce substantial and lasting results.

Heavy Marketing:

Lifestyle lift is a registered trademark owned by a company known as Lifestyle Lift Holdings based out of Michigan. The company owns centers throughout the country that offer a facelift-like procedure. Surgeons are recruited in a local area to perform this procedure at a Lifestyle Lift Center. The Lifestyle Lift company lays out a heavy marketing campaign in an area and over the internet to recruit prospective patients. These patients are then generally screened by non Physicians and sometimes non medical personnel who appear to make preliminary decisions about the acceptability of a prospective patient.

Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

"Hello, Emergency Room? Yes, well, here is what I know about Lifestyle Lift"

I had a call from an Emergency Department colleague in Denver this evening. She asked me if a patient she was seeing would need to be seen immediately for surgery or if they could be sent home and be seen later. From our discussion, I was able to reassure her that this patient could be sent home.

Now, if the question she had asked was about a patient that recently underwent a Lifestyle Lift, I don't know if I'd be able to answer it. Why? Because Lifestyle Lift is a "trade secret" procedure that is not published. 

So, what exactly IS the Lifestyle Lift? Dr. Prendiville's answer to this question does an excellent job of describing what is known about Lifestyle Lift -- it is Slick Marketing and a Quick Procedure (see his answer to this question for more information).

Hope this helps (/cynicism).

Nick Slenkovich, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 101 reviews

Lifestyle Lift is a Facelift

It is unfortunate that so much mystery and heavy marketing surrounds the Lifestyle Lift since that only confuses patients and prevents sound medical discussions and decision making.

The Lifestyle Lift is a facelift procedure that has incisions both in the front and the back of the ear. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia and mild sedation if requested.

It is not a purse string suture or suspension procedure. It is a plication procedure. This means that the SMAS/muscle layer is pulled up and folded onto itself and sutured into place (much like folding a pant leg onto itself to make a cuff). Extra skin is then removed and sutures are placed to close the skin.

As for duration, many surgeons argue that the plication procedure does not provide long lasting results and should not be done. Others feel it is worthwhile but are sure to point out that you need to select the right patients for it. I have met many patients that had results last less than 6 months and others over a year.

The "wing tunnel" should be avoided in all types of facelifts by using proper technique.

Nothing new or revolutionary here, this is a standard facelift technique that has been around since the 1970's.

Hope this helped answer your questions.

Kamran Jafri, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

You might also like...

Lifestyle lift

The Lifestyle lift is a marketing ploy by a Michigan based company started by a non MD otolaryngologist that "teaches" a simplified facelift technique to non-plastic surgeons and then franchises an area for a percentage of the profit the doctor makes. Beware.

Catchy phrase, big name celebrities in the ads and some nice before and after photos. It is a cookie cutter technique. There are no published articles in refereed journals about it that I have seen. I have seen many women with poor results coming in to see if they can be fixed.

Find a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon (Not cosmetic surgeon, not some off brand, non existent certification) with experience who will show you their before and after photos, let you talk to  previous patients and has the experience to customize what is done to fit your face and needs. 

Good luck

Dr. J

A. Dean Jabs M.D., Ph.D.
Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
Bethesda MD/McLean VA

A. Dean Jabs, MD, PhD, FACS
Bethesda Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 88 reviews

A Very In-Depth Description of Lifestyle Lift

There is a great deal of confusion about Lifestyle Lift, it’s origins, and what they do. I have been a surgeon with Lifestyle Lift for over five years, and hope that I can clear up some of the confusion.

First, the surgeons at Lifestyle Lift are all employees. They are not independent contractors or owners. The only surgeon who is an owner is Dr. David Kent, the founder. Some of the surgeons are part-time employees, and have their own practices separate from Lifestyle Lift, but every surgeon signs an employment contract as an employee.

Secondly, all Lifestyle Lift surgeons are Board Certified. There are several specialties that are certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties as being qualified to perform facial plastic surgery, and these are the only specialists that are accepted to work at Lifestyle Lift. Therefore, they have no Dermatologists, General Surgeons, etc.

What, exactly, is a “Lifestyle Lift?” There is no patented, special procedure. It is simply a facelift performed at a Lifestyle Lift center. The name, Lifestyle Lift®, was trademarked simply to differentiate who Lifestyle Lift (the corporation) is and what they do for advertising purposes. There is no such thing as a distinctive “Lifestyle Lift facelift.”

A number of misinformed plastic surgeons have speculated online that a “Lifestyle Lift facelift” may consist of just tightening the skin, or just using a loop of suture, or just performing a plication of the SMAS, or using dissolvable sutures, or using permanent sutures, or performing a S-lift, etc., etc. In fact, every surgeon at Lifestyle Lift performs a facelift in their own unique way, the same as every plastic surgeon in the world has their own individual techniques.

The surgeons who are hired by Lifestyle Lift are already trained and experienced in the vast number of techniques and nuances of facial plastic surgery. Over the years, each surgeon’s techniques continue to evolve as he finds better, more reliable ways of doing things. This is no different from any surgeon anywhere. Each surgeon’s techniques constantly advance as we discover more nuances and subtleties. This is called “experience,” and is why you want a facial plastic surgeon with as much experience as possible.
This brings up one of the key differences between a plastic surgeon who works for Lifestyle Lift and one who does not. The Lifestyle Lift plastic surgeon performs about FIVE TIMES AS MANY facelifts and other facial plastic surgeries than the average plastic surgeons performs in their own practice. Partly, that is because facial plastic surgery is all that we do. We do not perform breast implants, tummy tucks, etc. By concentrating on just the face and neck, we develop an enormous amount of expertise in the course of our careers.

Also, to my knowledge, Lifestyle Lift is the largest plastic surgery group in the world. As an integrated group practice, we can freely discuss our successes and insights with each other since we are not competing with each other. We are not limited to an annual conference where speakers give 45 minute speeches about their pet techniques. We communicate daily by email with each other offering advice, and often surgeons will spend a few days at other Lifestyle Lift centers exchanging experiences and insights with each other. We are colleagues in the best sense of the word.

A key difference between a Lifestyle Lift procedure and a non-Lifestyle Lift one is the anesthesia. The typical non-Lifestyle Lift facelift is done under general anesthesia, while no procedures performed at Lifestyle Lift are done under general anesthesia. (General anesthesia is usually performed in a surgery center or hospital with an anesthesiologist in attendance. This is the kind of anesthesia typically used for open heart surgery, brain surgery, etc., where the patient is placed in a coma, and a breathing machine is needed to keep them alive.) At Lifestyle Lift, the patient is made comfortable and relaxed with pills, never I.V. drugs, and their face is made completely numb with local anesthesia. This is done with constant monitoring of blood pressure, pulse, and oxygenation. Almost all of our patients doze throughout the procedure, and wake up afterward with just a pat on the hand.
While it takes a while to get good at this technique, it is also much safer for patients with significant medical problems. And it is much better tolerated by elderly patients. AND it is much less expensive when you cut out the anesthesiologist and the surgery center or hospital. This is why Lifestyle Lift’s procedures are so much less expensive than a non-Lifestyle Lift surgeon’s.

Another question that arises is what procedures can be done at Lifestyle Lift. We offer the full spectrum of face and neck rejuvenation procedures: facelifts, brow lifts, upper and lower blepharoplasties (eyelid lifts), lip lifts, lip implants, chin implants, fat transfers to the face, filler injections, Botox injections, CO2 laser skin treatments, split earlobe repairs, scar revisions, etc. Many of us also perform Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) infusions, Smart-Lipo laser procedures, westernization of Asian eyelids, upper eyelid ptosis correction, etc. There are almost no problems in the face and neck that we cannot address.

In summary, Lifestyle Lift is the largest plastic surgery group in the world, employing some of the best plastic surgeons in the world. Their plastic surgeons perform almost any face and neck rejuvenation procedures using the same surgical techniques as plastic surgeons anywhere in the world, but in general they have much more experience in these surgeries than your average plastic surgeon. By performing their surgeries under oral sedation with local anesthesia, they can perform surgery more safely, and much less expensively.

I hope this clears up some of the confusion about Lifestyle Lift.

Chris Himmelheber, MD
Killeen Otolaryngologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Its a facelift and neck lift

I can only answer for myself, as a former surgeon at the Ontario CA center.  I performed a traditional face and neck lift under local anesthesia.  It involved all the things which previous posts stated were not done....all in the time usually described for a "lifestyle lift" without hurrying or rushing.

Although Lifestyle lift has closed, there were many excellent surgeons who were very good at what they did and are still in practice.  Although I'm in southern California, there were many excellent surgeons in Florida as well.  Good luck!

Brian K. Machida, MD, FACS
Ontario Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

What is a Lifestyle Lift?

That is a question for which nobody seems to have a clear answer. Even an expert from Lifestyle Lift themselves didn't answer the question in a recent commentary published in a trade magazine. His explanation was that it is whatever the doctor decides to do that day. Clearly if that's true, a Lifestyle Lift can hardly be any special procedure that is so much better than procedures performed by well qualified surgeons in their private practice. In fact, you have to wonder why facelifts have a 90% worth it rating in Realself and the Lifestyle Lift has a 60% rating! If you do a little homework you might be able to make an educated decision when choosing the best procedure for your facial rejuvenation. I would suggest you listen to the link below. You might find it very interesting.

Adam Rubinstein, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

What is a lifestyle lift?

 According to their literature it is a mini lift with an option to perform a cheek lift or neck lift in association with it. Always best to check with the lifestyle lift  sales associate if you're so inclined.
 In our practice, we perform a comprehensive face and neck lift to rejuvenate the face with a natural look. Our comprehensive lower face and neck lift involves tightening the neck muscles in 3 locations, tightening the SMAS and removal of the jowls, tightening excess facial and neck skin and removal of fat above and below the platysma muscle in the neck. For many examples, the please see  the link below  to our face lift photo gallery

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 143 reviews

Lifestyle Lift is a Brand Not A Procedure

Lifestyle Lift is a corporate brand term that encompasses a range of cosmetic surgical procedure on the face and neck. The term firming is used instead of surgery. The cost varies based on the array of procedures you choose, such as a cheek lift or a cheek neck lift with upper and lower eyelids

Each of the procedures has been standardized, so that all the Lifestyle Lift surgeons perform the procedures in a similar fashion - one size fits all. The procedure anesthesia consists of pills before surgery and multiple numbing shots to the surgical area.

For some a surgical procedure from Lifestyle Lift may be the right decision. However, for others the peace of mind having a customized surgical procedure using safe, comfortable anesthesia in an accredited facility at roughly the same cost is a better choice.

You should be able to make the correct decision after your consultations.
Dr. Kaniff

Thomas E. Kaniff, MD, FACS
Sacramento Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Beware of Gimmicks

Typically this refers to a partial facelift that is done under local anesthesia in a hurried manner with the bare minimum equipment and supply requirements. It is a very effective marketing tool with questionable consistency of good results. 


A small or mini facelift can be a great operation if done by the right surgeon on the right patient. Make sure you research your surgeon and become educated with the details of your operation. Don't be fooled by gimmicks put out by multimillion dollar franchise-style companies trying to make money.

Marcelo Ghersi, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 149 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.