Facelifts are amongst the most common cosmetic procedures on the planet. To put that in perspective, there were 131,106 facelifts performed in the US in the year 2016 alone. Yet traditional facelifts are no longer the only (or best) option for tens of thousands of men and women who want to reduce the visible signs of aging. Determining which facelifts or minimally invasive skin tightening procedures will work best for certain individuals comes down to a mix of patient preference, available techniques, and the patient’s physical characteristics.
With all of this in mind, today we will discuss modern facelift technology, available non-invasive and/or minimally invasive skin tightening technology, and how surgeons and patients can choose between facelifts and minimally invasive procedures.
Modern Facelift Technology
Facelift surgery, also known as Rhytidectomy, is intended to reduce the visible signs of aging in the face, neck, and surrounding areas. Facelifts have been available for decades, but that does not mean that technologies have not improved facelifts in recent years. There are fundamental differences between traditional facelifts and modern facelifts, including:
Traditional facelifts only dealt with superficial skin tightening. This effectively reduced the visible signs of aging with a few shortcomings. For one, traditional facelifts struggled to achieve a more “natural” look that technological advancements have nailed down in recent years. This is due in part to the fact that skin was stretched and tightened without the underlying tissue being treated.
Modern facelifts not only tighten the skin, but they also rejuvenate facial muscles and fat tissue around the face and neck. Because modern facelifts treat all aspects of facial aging, they are more effective, achieve a more natural look, and have longer lasting results. The flipside is that modern facelifts can also come with lengthy recovery times as the patients are undergoing a more invasive surgery.
Non-Invasive Facelift Procedures
On the other hand, advancements in cosmetic procedures have also led to numerous options for minimally invasive or non-invasive procedures that can effectively reduce the visible signs of aging. Here are some viable options that patients can choose in lieu of facelift surgery:
- Injectables: injection procedures including Botox, Xeomin, and Dysport, can all reduce wrinkles, tighten the skin, and reduce the overall appearance of skin aging. Injection procedures are safe, relatively pain-free, and they last for up to six months.
- Chemical peels: another common non-invasive procedure for skin de-aging is the use of chemical peels. Skin aging is heavily influenced by free radicals, dead skin, and other debris on the surface of the skin. Chemical peels utilize a blend of acids to remove the top layer of impurities from skin, leaving only healthy, refreshed skin.
- Microdermabrasion: another option to remove the top layer of skin without surgery is microdermabrasion. Microdermasion “uses a special applicator with an abrasive surface to gently sand away the thick outer layer of the skin to rejuvenate it.” Microdermabrasion is to mechanical exfoliation what chemical peels are to chemical exfoliation.
- Thermage: radiation treatments known as thermage utilizes tuned radio-frequencies to stimulate the skin. Radio-frequencies can heat up the skin, stimulating collagen production. Collagen is the stuff responsible for keeping skin tight and youthful.
How Surgeons and Patients Can Choose Facelifts vs. Minimally Invasive Procedures
There is no one solution that will work for all patients. Choosing a procedure to reduce the visible signs of aging is a highly personal matter. For this reason, cosmetic surgeons should seek to explain each option and speak to prospective patients to understand their preferences. That being said, here are several considerations for individuals and doctors to review before deciding on the best plan of action.
Recovery time: non-invasive and minimally invasive facelift alternatives are generally outpatient procedures involving virtually zero recovery time. The alternatives we listed above come with very little pain and restrictions after the procedure. Facelifts are a surgical procedure. Recovery time for a facelift typically lasts about 10 days, with pain from stitches and other discomfort requiring some assistance for at least one week.
Effectiveness: that greater recovery time and discomfort comes with greater effectiveness, however. Only facelifts truly reshape and transform facial features to reverse the visible signs of aging. Minimally invasive alternatives are certainly effective, but not to the same degree.
Cost: Facelift costs can vary dramatically, but are commonly in the ballpark of $10,000. Many minimally invasive alternatives cost under $1,000. Again, these prices are merely estimates, and all patients should understand their total costs before making a decision.
Duration of effectiveness: facelift results typically last about 10 years. Minimally invasive alternatives more commonly last between 3-6 months. This is perhaps the biggest difference between the two methods of skin tightening. The cost, discomfort, and recovery time may or may not all be worth it for these long lasting results.
We are Proud to Host SCALE 2020 in Downtown Nashville!
This July 22-25th, join us at the world famous Music City Convention Center in downtown Nashville for SCALE 2020! The annual Symposium for Cosmetic Advances & Laser Education is bigger and better than ever. We are proud to present a wide range of exhibitors and sponsors who will be discussing topics ranging from robotic dermatological surgeries to acne to non-invasive cosmetic procedures. Register now to reserve your spot to the premier multidisciplinary meeting for aesthetic medicine, surgery and dermatology in the United States!