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Fighting the Facelift Hype: A Few Do's and Don’t's

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Of all the challenges face lift surgery presents, perhaps the most difficult for a prospective patient is evaluating the array of procedures marketed today. In fact, face lift surgery occupies that very uncomfortable juncture where marketing and medicine mix—to the detriment of the patient. Sorting through the hype and gaining a foundation of understanding is a very important step in ensuring you achieve the face lift results you’re hoping for.

As a plastic surgery writer with years of experience, I may be able to help with a few do's and don’t's. This may require going out on a limb more than usual, but fighting marketing hype requires some risk! Here are my suggestions:

DON'T consider a procedure that uses barbs and sutures, threads, wires or ribbons like the Feather Lift, Thread Lift and so on. These techniques, which work through tiny incisions and barbed threads running under the skin’s surface are not performed much anymore because they don’t work very well.

At best, patients spend a few thousand dollars for some improvement that doesn’t last. At worst, patients spend several thousand dollars only to experience threads and/or barbs emerging from under the skin, visible thread lines and other undesirable results. Many women find themselves seeking a traditional face lift later, having the threads removed and paying more in the long run.

DON’T be taken in by branded face lifts like the Lifestyle Lift, QuickLift and Weekend Lift, marketed by franchise-like organizations. The proposition is compelling: a quick procedure under local anesthesia that’s less expensive than a traditional face lift and involves a short recovery time. The reality, for many patients, is quite different. Unsolicited reviews rate these procedures at 30 percent to 50 percent satisfaction, with patients citing horrible sounds and smells, persistent pain and an unexpectedly long recovery.

The best reason to run like the wind from face lifts with tempting names is that patients are so often unhappy or even outraged with the results.

Add a Comment4 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Ideally try to find someone who's done it and see at their results in person! Talk to them about their experience.

March 31, 2010 - 8:57am

Susan: That windswept look can be due to the skin being pulled too much to the side rather than both up and to the side. Or, it may result from too much tension on the skin without enough elevation of underlying muscle and tissue (as in some of the branded face lifts).

The traditional face lift has been around for decades now, and a good, board-certified plastic surgeon or facial plastic surgeon should be able to achieve good results. As a patient, the very best thing you can do to make this happen is research, research, research. Understand your target procedure and all its possible twists and variations. Learn about recovery, risks and complications. Understand surgeons' credentials including board certification. Learn about anesthesia options and facility accreditation. View dozens and dozens of before and after photos. Visit forums and chat rooms and email people who have gone through the procedure.

This will take time, but you'll feel better and better about your choices as you learn. And your results will be worth the investment!

March 30, 2010 - 4:46pm
HERWriter Guide

I love this info, Cathy - thank you! It's great to read about all the options and what to be wary of. I've never had sugery (or any kind of procedure like an injection or something) but I have a question.

Why do these surgeries or procedures sometimes make people look like cats? I don't just mean the crazy cases like Jocelyn Wildenstein, but people in general. Is this due to a certain kind of face lift, or too many of them? I have always wondered what the heck these surgeons or injectors are thinking of (besides dollar signs)?

March 24, 2010 - 11:29am
(reply to Susan Cody)

The weird looks, catlike or wind-tunnel etc. etc. is just a sign of a bad surgeon. The good results look amazing and you'd never tell when the facelift is done right. Problem is there are a lot of bad ones and these you see all around.

Best thing to do when committing to a serious procedure with your face or any body part for that matter is to find a specialist who only works on that body part and has LOTS of experience, no matter where in the world they are! We are not talking about something that you can reverse here, remember that ladies! All quick lifts, and minimal invasive ones are not lasting and for a more serious facelift you need to do some homework before you commit to any one surgeon.

Oh and injections too, should only be done by knowledgeable experts... Always ask what is being injected in your face, you have complete rights to do that and get all the info about the benefits. Some injections are riskier than others.
(Website information removed by EmpowHER moderator.)

March 29, 2010 - 1:38pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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