Facelift techniques & options
During recent years various facelift methods have been developed, all with specific advantages and disadvantages. The aim of the methods is to always use the least invasive technique to achieve the best possible result.
Most plastic surgeons agree that in order to achieve a good and lasting result of a facelift it is necessary to also lift the faces underlying structure with what is known as a SMAS-lift. Less invasive and simplified methods such as ”mini-lift” or ”French-lift” whereby only skin is removed often provide limited results with short duration.
In some cases the term full facelift is used, which comprises the whole face, from forehead to neck. In daily speech the term facelift means treatment of the lower 2/3 of the face (from eyes to neck). Therefore, a full face lift also comprises surgery to the forehead and eyelids, using for instance eyelid surgery and browlift .
Thus, there are two effective methods available to accomplish a facelift. Both involve lifting and stretching the facial skin as well as the underlying structures (SMAS) which are comprised of fatty tissue and musculature.
The most common facelift method is the more extensive of the two surgical procedures but also facilitates the most considerable and long-lasting results.
The method is suitable for patients with relatively long-drawn signs of age such as deep furrows by the nose (nasolabial creases), cheek pockets, the lower part of the face affected by a heavy neck (turkey neck) and a slackened jaw/chin line (hamster pockets).
The surgical procedure stretches the middle face and the weakened neck muscle including the skin on the neck, chin, and jaw bone up towards the eyes.
Middle face/cheek lift
The second and less extensive method for facelifting is called a middle/cheek lift. The method is most suitable for younger patients who do not have a heavy neck or general slackening in the lower third of the face.
A middle facelift is included as a part of a facelift with the aim of lifting sunken cheek tissue, the corners of one’s mouth and to minimise the creases between the nose and mouth (nasolabial creases).
However, by performing a middle facelift separately it is possible to reach the same effects as with a face lift to the middle third of the face but with substantially shorter scars and milder aftercare.
Other facelift methods
As previously mentioned some clinics perform facelifts with less invasive methods. For instance, mini facelift, APTOS thread lift, short-scar lift etc.
These methods can have a facelifting effect but many surgeons cannot provide extensive or long-lasting results in order to be regarded, in this context, as suitable treatment methods.
Since a facelift only treats the lower 2/3 of the face the procedure is, as mentioned before, sometimes combined with eyelid surgery or a browlift which both address the upper third of the face (known as a full facelift).
In order to treat other wrinkles or pigmentations different types of peeling, laser and/or injection treatments with Botox or tissue/fat fillers are used.
Summary of facelift methods
A facelift can only treat the lower 2/3 of the face. The aim of a facelift should therefore be to create a smoother more well defined face and jaw line without a sagging neck and a more open and pleasant impression around the mouth.
The former can be achieved with two methods. A facelift which treats the faces lower 2/3 or through a middle facelift which treats the middle third of the face. .
Whichever the method it is important that the deeper layer of the face (SMAS) is lifted and fixed by the procedure. Each patient is unique and must be assessed from his/her prerequisite and needs. The discussion between you and your surgeon will determine the most suitable solution for you.
Suitable facelift candidates
The most suitable candidate for a facelift is a man or women whose middle face and neck has begun to slacken but with a skin that still has some elasticity and a strong well-defined underlying structure. Obese individuals are usually not suitable patients.
Most patients are in their forties and sixties but a facelift can successfully be performed on patients in both their seventies and eighties.
A facelift can make you look both younger and healthier which results in increased self-esteem and greater well-being. However, it cannot completely change your appearance or return your youthful health and vitality. It is necessary to consider your expectations and discuss them with your surgeon before deciding on a facelift.