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What are the different facelift techniques?

The goal of the facelift is to restore a more youthful appearance. Learn more from Dr. Jeremy Warner from NorthShore University HealthSystem about the different face lift techniques.
Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgery
There are many types of facelifts available. The spectrum runs from minimally invasive to very extensive dissection. Least invasive techniques include fat grafting and injectables into the varioius frown lines. More invasive surgery includes mini-facelift with less dissection. Most invasive include SMAS lift (elevation of the deeper fascia), and wide dissection. The subperiosteal lifts include very extensive mid-face lifts that require up to 6 months to heal. 
Erik A. Hoy, MD
Plastic Surgery
To read about the facelift procedure is to learn a host of new terms, which may seem confusing at first. Another term for facelift is a rhytidectomy, literally a surgical removal of wrinkles. Conventional face lifting procedures involve lifting the skin off the face, by means of an incision around the ear, and redraping the skin and an underlying layer of connective tissue called the SMAS (Superficial Musculoaponeurotic System). It is this SMAS layer that gives strength to the repair, and longevity to the results. Most facelifts are variations on the SMAS-suspension technique. Variations in the plane of dissection for the face lift, or in the length and location of the scar are common.

The conventional facelift involves a scar that is shaped like a "U" or the Greek letter omega, around the front and rear of each ear, and has a short extension into the hairline behind the ear. This is usually very well hidden in the natural curvature of the skin in this area, and within the hair-bearing skin of the scalp. The Short-Scar technique was popularized by Daniel Baker in New York, and consists of only a limited segment of the "U" incision, without the extension behind the ear. This offers the benefit of being even less noticeable, and is useful in carefully selected patients. Sherell Aston, a colleague of Dr. Baker's, popularized his FAME technique for facelift, which serves to elevate the fat pad of the cheek, helping to rejuvenate the area around the eyes. A facelift referred to as MACS or "minimal access cranial suspension" involves a short scar, less dissection, and suspending the facial tissues by several permanent sutures. It was popularized by Alex Verpaele in Belgium. Deep, composite, and subperiosteal lifts are all facelifting techniques that involve a deeper dissection than simply the SMAS layer, in an effort to obtain better results. Alternatively, a less involved, though less lasting result can be obtained by tightening the skin, without a deeper dissection. This is often referred to as the "Skin-only" technique and is more useful in older patients, or those undergoing a secondary procedure. The key is to find a surgeon who can safely and reliably deliver the results you are looking for, with a technique he or she is comfortable with.

Continue Learning about Facelift Or Necklift

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.