There are newer options with less trauma, recovery time and expense. But are they worth the convenience?
Andrea Markowitz, Ph.D.
June 15, 2010
Not all facelifts require major surgery, especially some of the newer techniques. Here are some basic facts about both traditional and cutting-edge options.
Lower facelifts tighten the facial muscles around the jowls, jaw line and neck, raise the corners of the mouth and reduce excess skin and fat.
Mid facelifts tighten sagging cheeks and eyelids and lift the corners of the mouth.
Forehead lifts tighten loose skin and cut the excess to eliminate wrinkles and drooping brows.
Mini "weekend" facelifts refer to the short time both the procedure and recovery take. These lifts reduce minor sagging around the cheeks, jaw line and neck (but not the forehead or brow) with smaller incisions than in standard facelift surgery. The procedure poses less risk and stress than traditional facelifts—and it costs less.
Lower, mid and forehead lifts can be combined for a full facelift.
These lifts require less surgery and recovery time, and cost less than traditional facelifts. But they are also newer and don't have the long track record that traditional facelifts have.
Thread lifts (a.k.a. ribbon and fish-hook lifts) reduce sagging around the cheeks, jaw line, and neck more quickly and with less scarring and swelling than conventional procedures by holding lifted eyebrows, eyelids, nasolabial folds and neck tissue in place with barbed threads.
Endotine Ribbon Lifts are a type of thread lift that's achieved by placing a bioabsorbale Endotine Ribbon in an incision behind the ear or in the temporal hairline.
As of November 12, 2008, the Editorial Advisory Board of the Cosmetic Surgery Times did not recommend thread lifting procedures. They warned that these procedures are controversial and pointed out that midface or cheek lifts can be performed with simple sutures (as in a mini facelift).
However, the Canadian Society for Aesthetic (Cosmetic) Plastic Surgery recommended the Feather-Lift, performed with Aptos® nonabsorbable barbed threads, as "safe, quick and easy." Their Web site pointed out that the procedure leaves no scars, requires no bandages, and typical after care requires only applying ice as needed.
Discuss your facelift options with a board-certified plastic surgeon before deciding which one is right for you. Know in advance what areas of your face and neck you want to improve, and weigh into your decision your budget, tolerance for pain and how long a recovery time you can afford.