Why is Facelift Terminology So Confusing?

model-mature-smile-01MACS, mini, mid, lunchtime, weekend: when it comes to facelifts, what does it all mean? As you research options for facial rejuvenation, you are likely to come across varied and unfamiliar terms, and wonder which procedure is best for you. When considering different types of facelifts it’s important to separate fact from marketing hype. Dr. Price wrote about facial rejuvenation in a recent blog, and we’d like to continue that discussion with today’s article.

It’s not surprising that there’s a lot of confusion on the subject: amazingly, there’s no standard definition of “facelift” among plastic surgeons. What constitutes a facelift depends on the surgeon who performs the procedure. Ultimately, we say it’s not the name that matters, but the results— the more youthful contours patients can achieve with facial rejuvenation treatment.

In our practice, we define a facelift as a combination of procedures, and we design them on an individual basis for each patient. We look at the areas of the face that are causing concern and tailor our approach in that manner; aging affects everyone differently, so no two facelifts are alike. Here are the areas of the face we examine and some possible approaches:

  • Neck and lower face. This is the area of greatest concern for most of our patients. The common issues are lax skin and wrinkles in the neck, prominent neck bands, and excess fat or a double chin. We could potentially resolve these issues with a neck lift.
  • Lower and mid-face. If the jawline lacks definition, jowls have formed, and deep wrinkles and folds are present, a mid-face (or cheek) lift might be appropriate. For some patients, fat deposits have shifted from the cheeks, hollowing out the face; a mid-face approach might also be called for in that circumstance.
  • Neck, lower, and mid-face. Multiple facial issues often require the comprehensive approach achieved through a standard facelift. This procedure restores the youthful contours of the neck and face, tightening the muscles of the neck and face and removing excess fat and skin.

We often recommend that our facelift patients have nonsurgical treatments to complement the results of their surgery, such as laser resurfacing. We find that the skin itself usually needs to be treated for a complete facial rejuvenation.

Now that you understand our definition of facelift, are you wondering about the marketing hype? Well, there is no “lunchtime” or “weekend” procedure that can create the type of lasting results that a full facelift can provide. These terms are often used to describe nonsurgical procedures that may provide some improvement in the face but are relatively short-lived or may require repeated treatments, such as injectables or certain laser technologies.

While there may never be a universally accepted definition of a facelift, we believe that the goal of a facelift should be a natural result that returns the tissues of the face to their youthful position. Contact us for a consultation so you can get a personalized plan, and gain a clear understanding of what a facelift will truly mean for you.

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