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What Type of Facelift Do I Need ?

Lifestyle Lift, J-Lift, Smartlift, Quicklift, Hybrid lift, S-lift, Image lift … the list of brand name facelifts goes on and on. So many names, so many apparent techniques, so many options. What is one to do?

Hopefully, this article will make it all a little easier to understand as to the differences and what is the best option for your face.

To start, a little basic anatomy of the layers of the face and neck as there are structural changes that occur over time, that can be tweaked or altered to reverse these signs of ageing.

I like to think of the face and neck as having 3 layers; the base layer made up of facial bones, the middle layer consisting of facial muscles and soft tissue (the famous SMAS layer) and the overlying covering skin layer.

The ageing process affects all 3 layers. The deepest structures change a little but most dramatically the middle and the top layers age the most. The middle layer loses volume, so our checks and under eye areas appear hollow and it sags due to gravity. The overlying skin loses its elasticity (think of a new rubber band vs an old one) causing the skin to stretch and lines to form. Visibly we see jowling and deepening of the lines around the mouth, the nasolabial and marionette lines appear deeper and the hollowing under the eyes and cheek areas, making the face appear longer and squarer.

How does a facelift improve all this? A facelift (technically referred to as a rhytidectomy), should tighten (lift) underlying muscles, placing them back to where they used to be and remove extra skin:

The basic steps occur in the following order:

  • An incision around the ear – there are many different types
  • Tightening the SMAS layer- there are different ways to perform this step
  • Removing the excess skin from around the ear

Different surgeon approaches result from variations in steps 1, 2 and 3, all used to achieve similar results. Some surgeons vary the lengths of the incisions, some surgeons vary step 2 in the way they tighten the SMAS and some vary their approach to step 3. All these lead to the ability to brand a different approach to achieve similar results.

Additionally, ancillary procedures can be performed to compliment the results of a facelift- for example, if there is significant fat or fullness in the chin area, liposuction can be performed along with the facelift. If there is lots of volume loss (present to some degree universally), I like to perform a fat transfer combined with the facelift to address both causes of ageing in one sitting.

What are you supposed to do? At the very least, ensure the surgeon is performing the 3 steps, check to see how they would perform them on you and look at before and after pictures to get an idea of results you can expect. This will ensure that the latest and best-tested approach to a long lasting facelift has been performed.